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Zainab Abiza–Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship

Name: Zainab Abiza

Class Year: 2019

Hometown: Rabat, Morocco

Major(s): Economics, Global Politics

Minors or Concentrations: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Opportunity and Year: Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program, Summer 2018: Junior Summer Institute (Princeton)

Project Summary: The Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute is a seven-week program designed to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for graduate study and careers in public policy. The JSI curriculum includes economics, statistics, domestic/international policy issues and leadership topics, all designed to sharpen the students’ quantitative, analytic and communication skills. Participants also participate in other extracurricular activities that broaden both their academic and professional horizons. Altogether, the program provides students with skills vital for admission into the top graduate programs in public and international affairs.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? Last spring term, I participated in the Washington Term Program and interned at the National Council on US-Arab Relations, a small political think tank in D.C. This opportunity allowed me to immerse myself in the politics of the MENA region and gain a deeper understanding of how U.S. foreign policy is affecting the Middle East. This internship combined with my ISIS research project with Prof. Cantey this past summer has enabled me to gain better insight into some of the most crucial issues in international affairs. Additionally, W&L has provided me with a vast array of opportunities that have helped me expand my networks and challenged me to become a more well-rounded and qualified candidate for a career in diplomacy/ international relations. Most importantly, W&L has given me a number of mentors who have provided me with tremendous help and support every step of the way and for whom I am extremely grateful.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? I first heard about this fellowship from a former W&L student. As I learned more about the program, I realized that it is the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself in a diverse environment, working with bright candidates that share the same passion as I do while connecting with mentors who will help me carve my path in the public service field.

Post-graduation Plans: I do not have any set post-graduation plans at the moment but I eventually would like to go to graduate school and pursue a career in diplomacy with a focus on the MENA region.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? The PPIA Fellowship Program will help become a better qualified candidate when applying to graduate school. PPIA fellows have access to a wide alumni network, receive a minimum one-time scholarship of $5,000 at any PPIA graduate school once admitted as well as fee waivers when applying to schools that are members of the consortium.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Team Lead, Washington and Lee Student Consulting
Summer Research Scholar, Politics Department
Volunteer, Project Horizon
Arabic tutor, Languages for Rockbridge
Trip Leader, Volunteer Venture

Off-campus Experience:

Intern, Belize Family Life Association (Dangriga, Belize)
Intern, National Council on U.S.- Arab Relations (Washington, D.C)
Ambassador, One Young World Summit (Bogota, Colombia)
Delegate, Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (West Point, NY)

Research Experience:

Summer Research Scholar, Politics Department – I conducted a cross-language comparative study to determine where the Islamic State’s messaging is consistent and where it diverges across their Arabic and English magazines

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