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Kiki Spiezio–William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship

Name: Katrina "Kiki" Spiezio

Class Year: 2018

Hometown: Taunton, MA

Major(s): Politics, Business Administration

Minors or Concentrations: Studio Art, Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Opportunity and Year: William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship at the American University in Dubai, Winter 2018

Project Summary: The William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship covers one semester of tuition and room for up to 10 American students who are interested in the Middle East and Islamic cultures but have not yet had much exposure. While there, I will take 6 classes to pursue a Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? W&L has a great fellowship advising system; when I was a sophomore and won the Gilman Scholarship, I remember looking through the other opportunities available and saw something called the “Clinton Scholarship.” I reached out to Alex Yacoubian, who had won it, and once I heard what it was for, I knew I wanted to make it one of my goals. Throughout my spring terms abroad and my international Shepherd internship, I have been able to draw interesting and not always anticipated connections among different developing areas. Because of my interdisciplinary studies at W&L, I have also always been excited about seeing new ways in which poverty, business, art, and policy intersect–which I will be able to explore more during my time in Dubai.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? I visited the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, DC when I was in sixth grade, and had many Arab and Muslim friends in school. That, along with always hearing about the Middle East in the news, fueled my curiosity in the area. As a politics and business dual degree candidate, I am also fascinated by Dubai’s unique development story. By spending time in Dubai myself, I thought that I would be able to learn more than I ever could from secondary sources. Also, I have always wanted to spend a semester abroad, but never could find the right time. However, because I delayed graduation, I found that I had an extra few months when this fellowship would work perfectly–and the scholarship covers the majority of costs.

Post-graduation Plans: When I get back, I will walk in graduation in May–and from there, I hope to be pursuing a career in social impact and public policy, wherever that takes me.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? Leaving the country and spending a significant amount of time abroad will give me greater perspective on the merits and drawbacks of the US and the UAE, as well as inform my understanding of how globalization impacts people and communities. The US and the UAE are both facing issues related to immigration and social and economic inequality, yet both offer working solutions to these in some ways. Through my semester in Dubai, I hope to gain a more comprehensive view of what development and success can look like–and how I can most effectively get involved in public policy and making a social impact in the world.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Bonner, QuestBridge Scholars Network, FLIP, Writing Center Tutor, Campus Rec Student Director, Phonathon, GDL Technology Assistant, Club Polo, Repertory Dance Company, PAACE, Kathekon, ODK

Off-campus Experience:

Cora Dance (NYC) Shepherd Internship (2014)
China Spring Term Abroad (2015)
Dominican Republic Shepherd Internship (2015)
Cadiz, Spain Spring Term Abroad (2016)
Woodrow Wilson Public Policy and International Affairs [PPIA] Fellowship (2016)
Caribbean Spring Term Abroad (2017)

Research Experience:

Summer Research Scholar with Prof. Mark Rush and Prof. Paul R. Kuettner on Gerrymandering and Voter Redistricting

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