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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy


Student Programs

Current Sié Fellows

Class of 2019

Leah Breevoort

A native of Acworth, GA, Leah is an MA candidate in Human Rights. She graduated with honors from the University of Georgia with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in film studies. Post-graduation, Leah spent a year volunteering as an English teacher in Netanya, Israel where she developed a social entrepreneurship venture aimed at tackling societal stereotypes and discrimination within the Israeli culture. Upon returning to the U.S., Leah began a career in nonprofit marketing and communications with Magen David Adom, Israel's first-aid,blood-services, and disaster-relief organization. As her passion for human rights grew, Leah decided to move to Cambodia and volunteer with Minority Rights Organization working with ethnic Vietnamese and Khmer Krom communities. Most recently, Leah was a communications and advocacy associate with an international development organization in Washington, D.C. focused on economic growth in the developing world. At Korbel, Leah plans to focus her studies on refugee rights within the Middle East.

Kelci Burckhardt

Originally from Alabama, Kelci graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2008 with a degree in global health policy and minor in chemistry. She spent eight years as an analyst in the federal government before beginning her master's degree in international studies at the Korbel School. Kelci's academic interests include conflict resolution, political psychology, institution building and development in post-conflict societies, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Summer Downs

Summer Downs is an MA candidate in International Administration and a Colorado native. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Global Development Studies from Seattle Pacific University, complemented by numerous distinctions and awards. Summer has extensive experience working with NGOs in locations such as Ghana, Rwanda, northern Iraq, Greece, Guatemala, the Philippines, and Thailand. Her interests as an aspiring scholar-practitioner include complex emergencies, sexual violence, psychosocial trauma, health, and humanitarian assistance, with a regional focus on East Africa. She is currently working on becoming fluent in Swahili, and she also plans on earning a degree in International Disaster Psychology at DU.

Chris Kallenbach

Originally from Urbandale, Iowa, Christopher Kallenbach earned his bachelor's degrees in Anthropology and Religious Studies from Iowa State University. Following graduation, Christopher joined the United States Peace Corps as a secondary school English teacher in Cameroon. Outside of the classroom, Christopher devoted his service to public health and sanitation projects, including the development of a trash collection and disposal system across the Bamendjou sub-division. Since returning from Cameroon, Christopher has continued a career in international development in Washington, D.C. working with USAID contractors on countering violent extremism initiatives in South Asia and international public health projects in Southeast Asia. Christopher is pursuing a MA in International Studies with a certificate in Humanitarian Assistance.

Shannon Payne

Born and raised in England, Shannon has lived in Virginia and Florida since moving to the United States. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Diplomacy. During the summer of 2014, Shannon completed a State Department internship in the Cultural Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia. After finishing her bachelor's, Shannon worked at the UCF Global Perspectives Office for two years. There, she facilitated a variety of programs designed to sharpen UCF's international focus, including a distinguished speaker series (with guests such as international journalists, government officials, and Bill Nye the Science Guy). Shannon is an MA candidate in International Studies, and hopes to work in public diplomacy and international exchange programs. She enjoys skiing, sunny days, and speculative fiction.

Tasia Poinsatte

Tasia graduated summa cum laude from American University in 2013 with a dual degree in International Studies and Environmental Studies, along with minors in French and Economics. As an undergraduate, Tasia studied abroad in Dakar, Senegal, where she taught English at a public primary school. Following graduation, she worked in Ghana as the site manager of an education-focused nonprofit before moving to New York City, where she received a Conservation Corps Fellowship to work for the NYC Parks Department Office of Green Thumb as a school gardens coordinator. For the past year, she has worked as a financial editor in Valparaiso, Chile. When she was 19, Tasia founded a scholarship program serving students from rural communities in Nicaragua, which she continues to direct today. A Boulder native, she is excited to return to her roots in Colorado to pursue a MA in International Development. She loves painting, hiking, riding her bicycle, learning languages and organizing co-ed soccer matches wherever she might be in the world.

Josh Satre

Josh Satre received a BA with Honors in Political Science from Swarthmore College in 2013. During his time at Swarthmore, he interned for a microfinance organization and studied abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland, sparking an interest in conflict resolution. After graduation, Josh interned at Congressman Van Hollen's Office and worked as a legal secretary at the Distilled Spirits Council. He enjoys endurance sports and has completed two marathons, including the Right to Movement marathon in Bethlehem, which fused his interest in running with his interest in conflict resolution and human rights. An avid reader and researcher, Josh is particularly fascinated by stories and research describing the role of institutions in peacebuilding, development, and innovative public partnerships.

Noa Shapira

Noa was born and raised in Israel. She served in the Israeli Defense Force for three years as a foreign affairs correspondent for the military radio and later worked for two more years as a journalist covering Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other conflicts around the world. She graduated summa cum laude from Tel Aviv University with a dual degree in Political Science and the Interdisciplinary Program in Humanities - Social Justice, Gender Studies and Judaism. Noa has a vast experience in human rights and conflict-related work, including with an Israeli-Palestinian initiative to resolve conflict, and as an intern with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Israel. Her experience led to an interest in the privatization of conflicts and the way it affects women rights in those conflicts, a subject she hopes to explore at the Korbel School, where she is pursuing a degree in international human rights. She loves baking, travelling, and open-water diving.

Tom Zolot

Tom is a MA candidate in Conflict Resolution. Tom was born in rural California and attended University of California, Davis. He received his BA there in Linguistics graduating with honors. Following graduation, Tom served two terms with Americorps VISTA in New Orleans. His first term was with the English language night school, Oportunidades NOLA, and the second was with the Center for Restorative Approaches (CRA). He then worked for several years with CRA providing training and facilitation of restorative justice circles. While in New Orleans, Tom also pursued and volunteered with a variety of initiatives including community-police mediation, various gardening programs and working closely with the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center, Arte Reviver NOLA.

Class of 2020

Deema Almoayyed

Originally from the Kingdom of Bahrain, Deema completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, where she majored in Finance and Commercial Law. She then returned home and pursued a career in research and management consulting for several prominent governmental organizations. Through this work, she familiarized herself with local development programs targeting women, students, farmers, and other segments of Bahraini society, and took an interest in international development. In line with her passion for women's rights, she also held a volunteer position as a crisis advocate for Women's Crisis Care International, where she provided advocacy services for victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Bahrain. Deema has been granted the Fulbright scholarship to study at the Josef Korbel School, where she plans to pursue an MA in International Development and center her research on gender and development, with a primary focus on the Middle East.

Bilen Gurara

Bilen is an MA candidate in Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration. She is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bilen holds degrees in Economics from Addis Ababa University. She was involved in various research projects when she was working at the Ethiopian Development Research Institute. Her academic research interests include political economy, development in sub-Saharan Africa, economic integration and socio-economic policies in developing countries. She enjoys taking long walks and reading in her spare time.

Caroline Holdren

Originally from Ohio, Caroline attended the University of Michigan where she received a BA in Public Policy in 2014. Upon graduation, Caroline commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer in the United States Army. Throughout her four years of service, Caroline completed multiple assignments with different units across the United States Army Special Operations Command and participated in training exercises and deployments to Southeast Asia, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Afghanistan. Caroline is pursuing an MA in International Studies with a desire to explore her interests in foreign policy and international security. Living in the Pacific Northwest for the past three years, Caroline is excited to continue climbing mountains, pursuing outdoor activities, and enjoying a lot more sunshine while living in Denver.

Amber Hunt

Amber was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona with a BA in Political Science, Linguistics, and East Asian Studies and a minor in Spanish. During her time at UA, Amber studied Japanese politics abroad in Tokyo for a semester then taught English for a summer in South Korea. Following graduation, she spent two years teaching English in Himeji, Japan as a participant in the Phoenix Sister Cities Teach Abroad program. At the Josef Korbel School, Amber will pursue an MA in International Security.

Micaela Iveson

Prior to pursuing an MA in International Development from the Josef Korbel School, Micaela worked for the ONE Campaign in Washington, DC. At ONE, Micaela helped plan and execute advocacy campaigns that promoted the health, education and economic empowerment of women and girls throughout sub-Saharan Africa - work that took her everywhere from the sidelines of rock concerts to the floor of the UN General Assembly. She has also held fellowships with the Andrew Goodman Foundation and the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, which included policy research on engaging youth living in poverty with educational and professional opportunities. Micaela graduated with Summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of Idaho, earning a BA in International Studies. She was born and raised in Reno, Nevada and enjoys running, roadtripping and performing stand-up comedy.

Caitlin O'Brien

Cait is a MA candidate in International Development. She is a recently returned Peace Corps Zambia Volunteer and Teach for America Alumni. While in Africa she focused on rural education development and sexual reproductive health for youth and HIV/AIDS vulnerable populations. Her projects included electrifying the village's school, hosting multiple HIV testing and education events in the village, as well as leading female youth empowerment camps and clubs. Cait is a competitive marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast.

Dana Parke

Dana is an MA candidate in International Development, complemented by the Global Health Affairs Certificate. A native Michigander, she earned her Bachelor of Arts from Oakland University's Honors College with a triple major in International Relations, African Studies, and French. She also spent a semester at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal. Since 2013, Dana has been working at the Global Health Initiative at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. In her role as Capacity Development Coordinator, she leads GHI's medical education and training initiatives globally, including training Haitian medical students to conduct surveys on healthcare utilization in internally displaced communities in Haiti, leading an educational needs assessment of physicians in India, designing a nursing exchange program in Jamaica, exploring partnerships and the health landscape in Ethiopia and Ghana, organizing the Annual Global Health Symposium, and more. Her leadership in her career merited her one of Oakland University's 2017 "10 Within 10" Young Alumni Awards. She has over 10 publications in journals including the Journal of Developing Societies, Annals of Global Health, Malaria Journal, and European External Affairs Review. She plans to dedicate her career to strengthening African cities' capacities to provide equitable access to health.

Brittny Parsells-Johnson

Brittny came to the Josef Korbel School to pursue a master's degree in International Human Rights and to explore her interests in transitional justice and conflict response. Brittny began her career in public diplomacy and international exchanges, first working at a university study abroad organization and then at the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She later moved to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, where she managed foreign assistance grants to promote and protect human rights abroad. Her portfolio included atrocity prevention, documentation, forensic anthropology, memorialization, and truth-telling initiatives. Brittny is interested in the different ways countries and communities address legacies of conflict and human rights abuses. She is looking forward to bolstering her previous work experience with theories and methods for becoming a stronger advocate for justice and accountability.

Sinduja Raja

Sinduja Raja has a Master's in Development Studies from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Through this five-year interdisciplinary engagement, she learnt to wed her interests in gender, conflict and foreign policy. Her early foray into research began with field-training at Kabadiwalla Connect (a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development funded social enterprise) in the realm of recyclable waste management and this nascent interest in sustainability led to project with the Ministry of External Affairs (India) on Financing Sustainable Development Goals from an Indian perspective. Her independent research however is grounded in Conflict studies – she studied the legal and political grey areas constructed by the Indian Peacekeeping forces in the Sri Lankan Civil War for her MA thesis. At Josef Korbel she intends to continue this regional emphasis on Asia and is keen on foregrounding individuals in conflict-areas in her research - studying the impact of their day-to-day experiences on macro policies on conflict resolution and exploring the role of gender in constructing conflict and peace.