GVPT Student Ambassadors

The Department of Government & Politics is proud to present the Government & Politics Ambassadors for the 2017-2018 school year. The Ambassador program is comprised of ten talented and motivated students who serve as student liasons and representatives of the Department as a whole. They are tasked with continually meeting with departmental leaders, presenting open house programs, planning new events, and facilitating the implementation of meaningful, productive changes. 

Sofia Alsamadi

Sofia is a senior Government and Politics major from Baltimore, Maryland. Sofia has focused her degree on international issues by minoring in Arabic Studies and International Development & Conflict Management. Sofia has had the honor of interning at various federal agencies throughout her undergraduate career. She has interned at the U.S. Department of State twice—once in the Political-Military Affairs of Iraq Office and once with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of South and Central Asia. Sofia has also worked at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Department of Homeland Security as a Pathways Intern. Her final internship was with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Reponses to Terrorism (START) working on a counterterrorism project on behalf of the Department of State. Sofia is heavily involved on campus where she is a third-year Resident Assistant, Apartment Leader in the Language House Immersion Program, and GVPT Ambassador. Sofia’s honors include Dean’s List, Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, and 2017 Spirit of Maryland Award Finalist. After graduation, Sofia plans to obtain a Master’s Degree in International Relations and serve the State Department in its human rights and counterterrorism initiatives in the Middle East.

Ashwin Suryavanshi

Ashwin is a senior Government & Politics major with a minor in Global Poverty. Last year, he was a Global Fellow with a concentration in "Responses to Global Challenges" and is now a Federal Fellow with a concentration in "Public Health Policy." He was an intern at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), then interned at the Department of Health and Human Services in their Office of Inspector General. Over the summer, Ashwin interned at Chemonics International in their Global Safety and Security Department. He plans to attend further schooling in Public Policy and International Development, and hopes to travel the world as part of his job. Eventually, Ashwin plans to work at a consulting firm to provide technical assistance on the topics of international development and security. Outside of GVPT, Ashwin is also involved on campus as the President of Alpha Phi Omega, America Counts mentoring, and loves going to Maryland athletic events.

Sarah Cover

Sarah is a junior Government & Politics and Arabic double major, with a minor in International Development & Conflict Management. She is also an Arabic Flagship student and is looking forward to a capstone year in Morocco upon her graduation from Maryland. Sarah is interested in international relations, sustainable economic development, and translation, with specializations in microfinance and data analysis. This past summer, Sarah worked for Open Data Watch, assessing Arabic-speaking countries for the openness and coverage of their official data. Outside of academics, Sarah loves backpacking, whitewater kayaking, reading, and gardening. One day she hopes to through-hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Canada to Mexico. After completing her Arabic capstone year, Sarah hopes to join the Peace Corps and then transition into work in an NGO based in the Middle East or Europe.

Pablo Roa

Pablo Roa is a junior pursuing a dual-degree in Government & Politics and Broadcast Journalism. Along with his work as a GVPT student ambassador, Pablo represents the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in the University Senate — one of the largest and most influential governing bodies on campus. He's the editor-in-chief of Stories Beneath the Shell and Beltway Bulletin and a production crew chief for Capital News Service's award-winning news show, Maryland Newsline. Pablo is currently interning at the Democratic National Committee, producing digital content for the DNC's Mobilization Department. Previously, Pablo interned for Sen. Chris Van Hollen and the U.S. Department of Labor and was a videographer at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. You can find his work and resume at pabloroa.com, or follow him on Twitter @_PabloRoa.

Rida Zahid

Rida is a junior Government & Politics major with a concentration in International Relations and a double minor in Global Terrorism and Italian Language & Culture. Rida enjoys being an Ambassador because it allows her the opportunity to get highly involved within the GVPT department and gives her the opportunity to share her experiences with new and current students, something she loves doing! She previously served as a research assistant with Dr. Calvert Jones and interned at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington D.C. Outside of GVPT, Rida is involved with various programs in OES, BSOS Ambassadors, and BSOS Orientation. Additionally, next fall, she will be studying abroad in Manchester, United Kingdom. As for her future plans, she hopes to pursue either a Master's degree in International Relations or serve for the Peace Corps.

Katelyn Turner

Katelyn is senior Government & Politics and Philosophy major. She is also minoring in music performance (as a bassoonist). Katelyn is a member of the University's Honors College, an alum of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, and a Banneker/Key scholar. She is now a member of the Jiménez-Porter Writers' House, where she pursues her love of writing poetry. She is very involved on campus, serving as the Vice President of the W.E.B Du Bois Honor Society, the Social Chair for UMD’s Pride Alliance, and as an undergraduate representative on the University Senate’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee. She is also a student juror on the University Student Judiciary's resident board, an ambassador for both the College of Arts & Humanities and the Department of Government & Politics, and a member of the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity. During Summer 2017, she attended the Exeter College Summer Programme at the University of Oxford and took courses in Jurisprudence and Contemporary Political Philosophy. Katelyn has interned as a field organizer with the Chris Van Hollen for U.S. Senate campaign, a legal aid at the Graduate Student Legal Aid Office on campus, and as an honors intern for the FBI. Katelyn plans on attending law school after graduation.

Kristen Ju

Kristen is a sophomore Government & Politics and Economics double major. She was a former member of the iGive Program and is a current Homeland and National Security Policy Fellow in the Federal Fellows Program. Outside of academics, she works as a UMD tour guide, is a facilitator for the Maryland LEAD Program, and is a member of Ethnobeat, a multi-lingual acapella group. Kristen loves eating green grapes, visiting D.C., and playing with her cat, Darwin. In the future, Kristen plans to obtain a Master’s Degree in International Relations and would love to work in the intelligence community as an analyst. 

Elifnaz Caliskan

Elifnaz is a junior GVPT- International Relations major from Izmir, Turkey, witha minor in International Development and Conflict Management. She was recently accepted to the joint Master's degree program with the School of Public Policy and specializes in International Security & Economic Policy and International Development Policy. She is certified in Multi-Track Diplomacy: Transforming Violent Conflict. She also completed the Global Communities living & learning Program where she served as the Cultural Programming chair. In addition, Elifnaz is the treasurer for the Turkish Student Organization and organizes events around Turkish food, music and culture. Elifnaz loves her studies and takes advantage of what Washington, D.C has to offer. Hoping to become a diplomat one day, she is currently interning at the Center for Political Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute and helps conduct research. When she is not writing issue papers, you can find her at Eppley Recreation Center which she describes as her "second home", or with CHAARG, a women's fitness group on campus. Elifnaz is fluent in four languages and loves to travel everywhere.

Gracie Riley

Gracie is a Junior Government & Politics-International Relations major pursuing dual minors in Global Terrorism and Rhetoric. She has held various internships including one with a College Park law firm and one with her district’s United States Congressman helping to handle state-related casework. Gracie is also a fully licensed real estate agent and works as a realtor during the summer in her hometown of Ocean City, Maryland. In addition to being a proud GVPT Ambassador, Gracie has recently graduated from CIVICUS, a two-year living and learning community centered on community service and leadership. She is also the Judicial Chairwoman of Zeta Tau Alpha and an active member of her chapter’s philanthropy committee promoting education and awareness for Breast Cancer Research. Although she is not certain about what her future after graduation will entail, she is confident she wants to use her education in terrorism studies to assist in the mission of bringing forth peace and security around the globe. 

Luisa Beltran Rey

Luisa is a Sophomore Government & Politics students with a concentration in International Relations. She is also minoring in French and hopes to become trilingual at the end of her college career, as she is already fluent in Spanish. Luisa has a great interest in environmental protection programs, as seen through her involvement in MaryPIRG’s environmental campaigns and her work with Chesapeake PSR. In her first year of college, Luisa was awarded with the 2017 Academy of Academic Excellence award due to her high academic standing and involvement in the Maryland community. At the end of her college career, Luisa plans to attend law school and study international law, while concentrating in either human right crimes or environmental law.