2020-2022 Dean's Scholars

Meet the Dean's Scholars!

headshot of Toluwani Adedeji


Toluwani Adedeji

Toluwani Adedeji is studying international affairs, with a concentration in International Development, and minors in Economics and French. She is currently interning with the Energy Sector office at the US Trade and Development Agency. This past summer, Toluwani volunteered with the COVID Tracking Project, where she compiled race and ethnicity data. At GW, she is an undergraduate consultant at the Writing Center. Toluwani’s academic interests include emerging economies, Africa, and the African Diaspora.

Her research focuses on studying people-driven engagement in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 program, as a way of understanding the contemporary relevance of Pan-Africanist ideologies to development.


Headshot of Payton Beaumier



Payton Beaumier

Payton Beaumier is pursuing a major in International Affairs with concentrations in Conflict Resolution and Security Policy. She is particularly interested in examining terrorist activity and military operations throughout the African region. Her research for the Dean’s Scholars Program focuses on the process of deradicalization and reintegration of child soldiers from Boko Haram in Nigeria. Currently, Payton serves as a research assistant for Professor Dr. Ernest Ogbozor, conducting research on conflict in Nigeria. Previously, she was a Robina Franklin Williams intern at the Council on Foreign Relations. At GWU, Payton is a member of the Global Bachelor’s Program and the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority.


Headshot of Fletcher Calcagno



Fletcher Calcagno

Fletcher is an Asian Studies and Philosophy major with a minor in Korean. He’s interested in North Korean Studies and US-Korea relations, as well as critical theory and literary analysis. His research project uses postcolonial theory to examine American discourse related to the North Korean sanctions regime. In the future, he hopes to continue researching US-North Korea issues in graduate school, and pursue a career as a professor. 

Fletcher previously spent a summer as a Research Assistant at Asia Policy Point, focusing on Memory Politics in East Asia, and former POW issues. He is on the leadership team for the recently founded Korean Conversation Club, and was previously on the steering committee for GW Students for Bernie. Since freshman year, he has been a writer and editor-at-large for the GW Justice Journal, an undergraduate publication for law and policy analysis. On the weekends, he competes with GW’s Parliamentary Debate Society and plays the piano.


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Mona Dong

Mona Dong is pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a double major in International Affairs and Economics. She is interested in studying international finance, sovereign debt problems, and China’s role in the global economy. 

Her research project centers on understanding factors behind China’s overseas developmental finance. Her research aims to bring greater clarity into Chinese methods of economic statecraft and how China is changing the international credit landscape for developing countries. 

At GWU, Mona works as a Research Assistant for Professor Maggie Chen studying how intellectual property laws impact industrial development. She also interns at the State Department’s Economic Bureau.


Cyrena Kokolis



Cyrena Kokolis

Cyrena is an International Affairs major concentrating in Conflict Resolution and minoring in Geographic Information Systems and French. Her research project aims to explore the Rwandan Tutsi diaspora's forgiveness of Rwandan Hutus in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, specifically analyzing the effects of the gacaca community court system and questions of ethnic identity on the reconciliatory process. She hopes to connect this research to a broader academic conversation on the effectiveness of transitional justice practices in achieving sustainable reconciliation in post-conflict societies. Outside of Dean’s Scholars, Cyrena is an intern at Miburo Solutions, a research and consulting firm that detects and counters malign influence, disinformation, and extremism in the digital sphere. She is also the Music Director of the GW Pitches, a treble a cappella group on campus.


Headshot of Amanda Msallem



Amanda Msallem

Amanda is studying International Affairs and Art History, with a concentration in conflict resolution, and a minor in French. Her research focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Syrian refugees within Lebanon, and its implications for the effects of pandemics on migrant populations. Her research will follow the dynamics, escalations, and lived experiences of Syrian refugees within Lebanese host communities on the basis of region, registration classification, and other variables.  Outside of the Dean’s Scholars Program, Amanda has served as the Vice President of Community Service for GW College Democrats, leading on-campus and off campus service events and fundraising for Planned Parenthood MWDC, and as a youth engagement organizer with the Metro DC Lebanese diaspora. Amanda is also a dancer and choreographer with Balance, and a performer for Dance Works within the dance department. Amanda enjoys balancing out her Elliott studies with her Art History classes, spending time in local museums and research centers as well as studying art through recreation and restoration within the studio.


Headshot of Caroline Pickering



Caroline Pickering

Caroline is studying International Affairs with concentrations in Global Public Health and International Environmental Studies, with a particular focus on agriculture and women’s health. On campus, Caroline is a Research Assistant for Dr. Imani Cheers’ virtual reality project about women’s resource rights in apartheid countries. She is also an active member of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority. Her Dean’s Scholars’ research focuses on women’s participation in and perspectives on non-conventional agriculture in the Andean region of Latin America. She aims to learn more about women’s roles in alternative agricultural movements and to what extent programs and initiatives address gender equality in practice.


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Noor Qureishy

Noor is pursuing a double major in International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution and Arabic Studies. Her research examines women’s movements in Pakistan and the implications these movements have for human security and conflict prevention in the country. On campus, Noor is the President of the Muslim Students’ Association and a member of the Sigma Iota Rho Fraternity (SIR), GWU’s international affairs honors society.


Headshot of Elad Raymond



Elad Raymond

Elad is studying International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution and a minor in Geographic Information Systems. His research examines the driving factors behind youth immigration from the United States to Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 June War and in the early 21st Century, as well as the narratives surrounding American aliyah, and the extent to which young American immigrants integrated into Israeli society in both periods. Outside of the Dean’s Scholars Program, Elad is the Executive Director of the Onero Institute, an entirely youth-driven nonprofit research organization that seeks to bridge the gap between youth and the academic community in international affairs. He is the Events Assistant at the Institute for Middle East Studies and a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity at GWU.


Headshot of Sivahn Sapirstein



Sivahn Sapirstein

Sivahn is studying International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution and a particular interest in deeply divided societies. Her research with Dean’s Scholars focuses on understanding how nonviolence functions in deeply divided societies such as Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, and South Africa. Outside of the classroom Sivahn is a member of the Global Bachelor’s Program and a policy intern at the Alliance for Middle East Peace.


Headshot of  Isabel Tapies



Isabel Tapies

Isabel is pursuing a major in International Affairs with a concentration in Security Policy and a minor in Public policy. Her research aims to analyze the efficacy of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Africa, emphasizing the opinions and perspectives of African beneficiaries of these projects. Outside of class, Isabel is a dedicated member of the Delta Phi Epsilon (DPE) Professional Foreign Service Sorority and a Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) intern for the Department of State on the "China in Africa" project.


Headshot of Sahar Tariq



Sahar Tariq

Sahar is pursuing a major in International Affairs with a double concentration in Comparative Political, Economic, and Social Systems and International Politics and a Double Minor in Political Science and Psychology. Her passion for South Asian politics and researching the impacts of the digital age have led her to incorporate both fields into her research. Sahar’s project examines the social media strategies of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party in their most recent campaign and election cycles. She hopes to connect this research to the broader academic conversation on the impacts of disinformation campaigns and Internet-driven political polarization within countries experiencing the destabilization and erosion of democracy.

Outside of the Dean’s Scholars Program, Sahar is interning with Just Communities of Arkansas, a nonprofit organization seeking to promote social justice initiatives through youth-centered educational programming. Sahar also serves as the Social Media Chair for Sigma Iota Rho, the Elliott School’s gender-inclusive international affairs honor society, as well as the Co-President for Allied In Pride, GWU’s largest LGBTQ+ interest and advocacy organization.


Headshot of Cynthia Yue



Cynthia Yue

Cynthia is studying International Affairs with a concentration in International Economics. Within her studies, she also focuses on sustainability and international development. As a former UNICEF Youth Ambassador at the United Nations, she hopes to bridge her interests in human rights, youth empowerment, and child welfare to examine social movement theory and the impacts of international youth-led climate litigation on the global climate justice movement. Cynthia aims to connect her project to larger discussions on climate action, youth-led advocacy initiatives, and international human rights treaties. On campus, Cynthia is on the Executive Board of the Debate & Literary Society and participates in the Model United Nations Team, International Affairs Society, and UNICEF Club. Outside of GW, Cynthia serves on the National Council for UNICEF USA and as a Secretarial Intern for the U.S. Department of Transportation.