2021-2023 Dean's Scholars
Meet the Dean's Scholars!
Adedasola Adeniyi is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, with a concentration in International Development and a minor in Economics. Her research for the Dean’s Scholars Program focuses on how states’ interests and power relations impede regional economic integration in Africa.
At GWU, she is a co-founder of GW African Development Initiative and previously worked as a Learning Assistant for Professor Irene Foster. This past summer, she interned with HYBR and worked on women's enterprise development programs in Africa. She is involved in programs with Doing Good Work in Africa (DOWA) and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
Alex DiCenso is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Security Policy and minors in Arabic and French. His research for the Dean’s Scholars Program will examine state sponsorship of armed non-state actors in conflict.
Alyssa Edelheit is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution. Her Dean’s Scholars project seeks to understand the impact a university setting has on Mapuche student organization in Santiago, Chile.
Outside of the classroom, Alyssa is the director of internal affairs at The Store, a student-run food pantry fighting food insecurity on GW’s campus. She also is a blog editor for the GWU chapter of The Women’s Network, an organization focused on empowering women to be ambitious in the workforce. Outside of GW, she teaches kindergarten and 6th grade Hebrew school classes at a local DC synagogue.
Anneliese is pursuing a major in International Affairs with a concentration in International Development and a minor in Political Science. Her interest in East Asia and the impact education systems have on their societies has led her to incorporate both fields into her research. Her research is focused on the controversy surrounding Japan’s history with its neighboring nations, concentrating on its relations with the United States and China. The aim of the project is to understand how Japan’s history education shapes Japanese youths’ views of the United States and China.
In addition to her research project, Anneliese is the Director of Alumni Relations for the Dean’s Scholars Journal. Outside of Dean’s Scholars, she is a legislative intern for a United States Senator serving on the Senate Foreign Relations committee. At GW, she is actively involved in Phi Alpha Delta, the professional Pre-Law Fraternity, and plays on GW’s Women’s Ultimate Frisbee club team. During the 2022 Spring semester, Anneliese is studying abroad at the National University of Singapore where she will focus on her International Development concentration.
Arzina Lakhani is pursuing a dual degree in Public Health and International Affairs, with a concentration in International Development. Her Dean’s Scholars project is focused on the intersection of climate change and migration within Hyderabad, India and the role of the Indian government in mitigating these effects. Arzina has interned with The American Civil Liberties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, Doha Debates, and several political campaigns.
At GW, Arzina is actively involved in the South Asian Society as the Development and Public Relations Chair, First Generation United as the Director of Engagement, GlobeMed, and No Lost Generation. Furthermore, she is actively involved in Student Life at GW through New Student Orientation and the Mount Vernon Campus Programming Assistant. During Spring 2022, Arzina will be studying abroad at King's College London where she will be apart of the Health and Society program.
Krithi Sriram is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, with a concentration in Conflict Resolution and minors in Arabic and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her Dean’s Scholars project seeks to analyse the experiences of Jordanian women employed by U.S. military bases in the country and determine whether their experiences have had an impact on their sense of self. Krithi has interned at the Embassy of Jordan and also pursues many independent activist projects centered around human rights and conflict prevention.
Outside of the classroom, Krithi is a member of GW Raas, a highly ranked Indian folk dance team that has performed and gained acclamation across the United States. She is also involved in Sigma Iota Rho, the Elliott School’s gender-inclusive Honor Society, and is currently serving as the New Member Representative Chair. Outside of GW, she serves as the COO of Browngirloncampus, an online publication aimed at helping South Asian women navigate their college experiences. She has also written many articles for the magazine centered around a variety of topics, including politics, LGBTQ+ rights, voting, and racial activism.
Meghan Sullivan is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, with concentrations in International Development and Comparative Political, Economic, and Social Systems. Her Deans’ Scholars’ research focuses on aid localization in the response to humanitarian needs in Southeast Myanmar. She is interested in exploring the distribution and negotiation of power between local and international actors in this humanitarian space. Meghan has interned for the Governance Studies program at Brookings and the Southeast Asia Program at CSIS. On campus, she is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority and an assistant for the Elliott School Alumni Programs.
Prajna Naidoo is an International Affairs major pursuing a concentration in International Development with a minor in Psychology. Her research interests focus on nonprofit management and evaluation methods used to assess the well-being and effectiveness of NGO development programs. She wants to expand the use of current evaluation techniques to include both qualitative and quantitative measures to provide a holistic view of how programs aimed to reduce poverty and foster human capital impact the livelihood of recipients. Finding a way to quantify subjective measures within a meta analysis of program outcomes would provide deeper insight into how these programs impact recipients on a personal, socioemotional level to complement the current dominant focus on socioeconomic measures of success.
Outside of her research, Prajna is the president of One For The World GW which is a student organization that encourages students to donate 1% of their future incomes towards the world’s most effective charities. Its goal is to facilitate a student-run movement to ending extreme poverty and support the world’s most vulnerable populations through rigorously evaluated, cost-effective interventions. Furthermore, Prajna has worked with various non-profit organizations throughout her career that address issues relating to discriminatory policing, migrant and refugee education access, and Black female empowerment.
Samantha Lewis is pursuing a major in Asian Studies with a double minor in Chinese and History. Her research focuses on the gender norms surrounding women in rural China, and investigates how the pressure on young women to marry at an early age impacts their livelihoods. In the future, she hopes to continue her research in graduate school and pursue a career in academia.
Samantha has previously worked as a Journalism Intern at Children and Screens and is currently a member of the Dean’s Journal Team as the Director of Web Design. On campus, she is the president of the East Asian Strategic Gaming Association as well as a member of First Generation United.
Semon Makar Zekry is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs with a focus on International Economics, International Development, and the Middle East. Her studies also include a double major in Economics with minors in public health and statistics. Semon's Dean's Scholars research project was inspired by her interest in the impact of religious law in the Middle East on development and minority rights, specifically regarding the intersection of Coptic minority rights and Egyptian law.
Semon seeks to apply her extensive hands-on experience in the US government and various IGO’s throughout her research project. Semon was recently an intern at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where she drafted a high-level report and created a presentation highlighting the various benefits of digital development for women in East Africa. Given her passion for advancing human rights, she spent her sophomore year assisting American Justices at the Department of Justice (DOJ), HRSP section with critical cases against human rights violators and other international criminals in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Semon also interned with the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and at the United Nations in New York, where she conducted a research paper on immigration reform and proposed solutions to the US-Mexico border crisis. She previously worked in both chambers of the United States Congress, where she wrote co-sponsor memos and legislative recommendations as well as policy memos on foreign affairs, education, and labor.
Her interest in global trade and international economics landed her a summer internship with JPMorgan in the Corporate & Investment Bank in 2021. Semon also worked as a Capital Planning Assistant at the World Trade Center, where she assisted with executive-level reports on the 2017-2026 Capital Plan Programs.
Semon is also a 2019 New Jersey Hall Of Fame Aretê Scholar Inductee who worked for the State of New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic, writing policy memos and funding recommendations for programs that promote education affordability and accessibility in NJ. During the 2022 Spring semester, Semon will be studying abroad at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE where she will focus on her international economics concentration.
Thelonious Rider is pursuing a double major with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Anthropology. For International Affairs, he is doing a concentration in conflict resolution and development. His Dean’s Scholars project will be looking at how depictions of the 1947 Partition, as modalities of knowledge production, have influenced collective consciousness surrounding peacebuilding dialogues in India. He has previously interned with Congressman Joe Neguse. On campus, he is a member of Sigma Iota Rho, and is active with several other campus organizations.
Victoria Freire is studying International Affairs and History with a concentration in Latin America. Her primary academic interest is Latin American Cold War history, and is particularly interested in civil-military relations, guerrilla warfare, and human rights. Her Dean’s Scholars research project investigates Operation Condor and the extent to which the U.S. government aided the Argentine military junta during the Dirty War.
Outside of her studies, Victoria can be found organizing alongside Sunrise Movement to end the climate crisis, pass the Green New Deal, and eliminate fossil fuel corruption on GW’s campus. She previously worked as a research fellow at UnKoch My Campus, publishing a report on the Koch network’s infiltration of education. Passionate about healthcare reform, Victoria also worked for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign and is currently fighting to pass the Freedom to Vote Act in Congress.
Vivi Mehren is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and minors in Economics and French at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Her interest in cooperation problems in international law and the future of internet governance led her to her current research on the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which affirms citizens’ "right to be forgotten,” and which has faced resistance within the United States. This project aims to analyze limitations to international cooperation on internet governance to inform future governance efforts.
In addition to her research project, Vivi leads outdoor adventures for students as a GW TRAiLs guide and is an active member of both the Delta Phi Epsilon professional foreign service sorority and the Phi Alpha Delta professional Pre-Law Fraternity. During the 2022 Spring semester, Vivi is studying abroad at Sciences Po Grenoble where she will focus on her French language abilities and knowledge of the European Union to ground her research.