Class of 2014
Johan is a Swedish national and the first TAM student to receive tuition funding as a result of alumni donations. As a TAM II student, he worked on his thesis in Barcelona after his year at UNC-CH. In this video, he describes his unique background and why he chose the TAM program.
Class of 2008
After I finished TAM, I started an internship at NATO. I continued on ever since as a staff officer in the political affairs and security policy division of the organization. I’ve been based in Brussels for the past five and a half years, where I manage relations and programs with the organization’s partners and stakeholders.
In recent years, I have served on assignments in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. I work to devise and carry out NATO programs that bolster individual countries’ capabilities in the defense and security sector, to further their contributions to cooperative security solutions. For example, we have partnered with countries in Central Asia to augment their professional military education institutions’ ability to teach operational planning in a way that takes into account civil-military relations. This in turn has paid dividends with regard to their interoperability with NATO – i.e. their ability to conduct crisis management operations side-by-side with us. What I like about my current role is that it is hands-on and dynamic, and it allows me to work with a diverse set of interlocutors.
Everything is interrelated
I owe my staying power at NATO in a large part to the TAM program. I remember in 2007 when Sarah suggested applying for the NATO internship – another traineeship, I thought, having already completed six. This one quickly proved itself to be different, however. Showing a mastery of European politics, I was given responsibility at an early stage for the implementation of the policy documents I drafted.
TAM taught me three things that were essential for my job, related to methodology, substance and outlook. Through TAM, firstly, I learned how to take a systemic approach to issues – to step back and focus on the geo-political, socio-economic environment from which security crises stem. There is a strong correlation between the subjects we studied – welfare states, international relations, socio-cultural issues – and the resultant security effects. The holistic inter-disciplinary education that TAM provided prepared me for a complex multi-stakeholder environment. This has allowed me to tackle issues at their origin, recognizing that differences are compounded more by one’s outlook on environmental factors than immovable persuasions.
Looking back on the substance of the TAM curriculum – the materials we studied over the course of the program, several topics come to mind as clear references in the domain of political-military cooperation. Gosta Esping-Andersen’s Why We Need a New Welfare State and Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks’s Multilevel Governance and European Integration remain imprinted in my memory as works that came to life my organizational context. The former work explained socio-economic dynamics and differences among NATO nations that underwrite member states’ decisions. The latter book I still refer to as a primer in layers of authority through which countries can execute projects in Europe today, which is highly relevant for areas such as energy security and cyber-defense. I could mention many other works (Jolyon Howorth’s NATO: All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go?) that equipped me with a strong appreciation of Euro-Atlantic relations before starting my career.
The program offered me the chance to analyze a myriad of trends in transatlantic history and establish linkages among them. It taught me to appreciate the complexities of multinational cooperation. Through it I learned that, in international organizations, anything is possible as long as an initiative is supported by a critical mass of support and a sound implementation plan. Understanding the political, social and economic dynamics in the countries I represent, and how those factors play out at the negotiating table, was of paramount value to the effectiveness of policies I currently implement.
The beauty of the TAM program for me, moreover, remains the outlook on integration that it affords us as young atlanticists. TAM and Euromasters students assimilate and form peer relationships that are blind to national origins and linguistic barriers. In that way, we personify the Trans-Atlantic bond. This capacity for trust and cultural curiosity is something that I carried with me to Brussels.
Today, I think it is important for young adults to study Europe, in order to continue to challenge the bounds of realism and nationalism. The examples of the EU and NATO provide us with an advanced blueprint for success in intergovernmental cooperation. Benchmarking against the framework that the EU has set has become the norm in my field, and I think this practice will soon permeate many sectors in the United States as well.
Robert Schuman dared to challenge the status quo when he declared his aim to “make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” Once again, today, we are in the midst of dramatic socio-political change. As the tectonic plates shift, we can look back to the spirit of May 9, 1950 for inspiration. My message for new and aspirant TAM graduates, who are interested in pursuing a career in International Relations, is that you have chosen a challenging path, but you are not alone! Embrace differences and seek exposure to new ideas in order to grow your appreciation of their complexities. If you are passionate about something, pursue it unflinchingly.
Amanda Sellers is a member of the NATO International Staff Political Affairs and Security Policy Division where she deals with defense education and training programs. In that capacity, she advises partners on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the security and defense domain. In the photo above Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary General, awards Amanda the NATO Meritorious Service Medal in December 2013, for her work with the Iraqi Government to create an inter-agency security coordination mechanism.
Class of 2013
Alex is a recent TAM I graduate who pursued her overseas TAM studies in Paris. While at Sciences Po, Alex stayed busy with her TAM coursework and internships with Merz Pharma France and the US Commercial Service. She has worked at the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and is now the Outreach Coordinator at UNC’s Center for European Studies.
Alex graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a BA in International Affairs and French. As an undergraduate, she spent a year at the Parisian Center for Critical Studies. Alex is an FL certified K-12 teacher and has taught French and co-chaired the Foreign Language department at Pensacola Catholic High School. She has also worked as a language assistant in France and has done volunteer work in Mexico. Alex speaks French and Italian.
Class of 2012
Megan is a recent TAM II graduate who had a FLAS award to study Turkish during the 2010-11 academic year at UNC. She completed her undergraduate studies at Macalaster College where she majored in IS and Anthropology. After earning her BA, Megan worked in the Czech Republic and in Ghana. She has developed a strong and abiding interest in Central and Eastern Europe through coursework and extensive experience living in the region. Megan speaks Czech, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish and studied Bosnian during the 2011 summer at Indiana University. She then continued her TAM studies in Barcelona in the fall of 2011 and applied for PhD programs. Megan completed her thesis under the direction of Prof. Graeme Robertson and graduated from TAM with a UNC-CH MA in Political Science, Concentration European Governance, in May 2012. She spent the following summer working in Bosnia for an NGO that collects the oral histories of survivors of the Srebrenica. She began a political science doctoral program at NYU in the fall of 2012 and recently joined an interdisciplinary lab group working on an NSF-funded project focused on social media and political participation. For more infomation on this project please see SMaPP.
Class of 2011
Ivo is a dual US-Bulgarian national from Oregon. He completed his undergraduate studies at Willamette University where he majored in History and Spanish. In the fall of 2009, Ivo began his studies at UNC-CH as a TAM II student. He had a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) award and studied German while at Carolina. Over the summer he received funding from the 2010-11 Individual Advanced Research Opportunities (IARO) Program which enabled him to undertake research in Bulgaria. During his second year in the program, Ivo had a Fulbright-Schuman award that supported his studies and thesis completion at UPF in Barcelona. You can find out more about his experience as a Fulbright scholar by way of this video.
Ivo graduated from TAM in May 2011 with a UNC-CH MA in Political Science, Concentration European Governance. He lives in Barcelona and works as a research editor for Dow Jones & Company Inc.
Class of 2009
Rachel is from Illinois and graduated from UNC-CH in 2008 with a BA degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in French. As an undergraduate, she spent one spring and summer studying in France. After her graduation from college, she worked as a summer intern in the office of the Agence-France Presse in Beijing during the Olympics.
Rachel was a TAM Track I student who studied in the Czech Republic and France. While in Paris, she had an internship with the Associated Press. She graduated from TAM in Dec. 2009 with her MA from UNC. Rachel then worked in New York for a PR agency specializing in luxury travel public relations. Her biggest client was a large French luxury hotel chain.
Rachel explains: “My experiences writing for the AP in France and perfecting my French language skills while at Sciences Po definitely have been an asset in doing public relations for a French client. The extensive time spent living and working abroad has made me very comfortable representing a company that operates primarily outside of the US.”
In early 2011, Rachel accepted a position in Chicago with UbiFrance, the French Trade Commission. She helps French companies in the transportation infrastructure sector find potential partners and clients in the US.
Class of 2007
Camilo grew up in Nebraska. He graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, receiving degrees in International Studies and Spanish. He spent two academic semesters abroad in both Costa Rica and Argentina. In Nebraska, he interned for the E.N. Thompson Forum for World Political Issues, a lecture series that brings influential leaders to the state. Camilo has studied Spanish, French, German, and Arabic. Camilo undertook TAM coursework in Madrid and interned for CNN Spain and for GEES (a strategic studies think tank). He then worked for the World Resources Institute in DC and the Human Rights Campaign. From there he went on to CPA, a boutique events shop that organizes special events around the greater Washington D.C. area. Camilo is now working for The Brookings Institution focusing on event strategy and brand management.
Camilo explains: “TAM has been an incredible experience. As a semester highlight, our trip to Washington DC not only allowed us time to get our visas, but also included a briefing at the State Department, the World Bank, meetings with European dignitaries, as well as a reception with former TAM alumni. The opportunity to interact with, and get a firsthand account from students just returning home from Madrid, Berlin, Siena, etc. was invaluable. It was also refreshing to see that TAM alumni are both seeking and receiving employment through various fields that tailor to each student’s individual interest. The small size of each TAM class promotes this extended network of young professionals, and is something I plan to tap into upon graduation.”
Desiree is from Staten Island, N.Y. She graduated from NYU magna cum laude in May 2006 with majors in Honors History and Italian Studies and a minor in Fine Arts. Desirée also studied abroad at NYU in Florence. As an undergraduate, she focused her coursework and research on interactions between different immigrant and racial groups within the United States. As a TAM student, she studied in Siena, focusing her research on migration and multiculturalism within the EU. Her TAM thesis, written under the direction of Professor John Stephens, titled “The Formation of Immigration Law in Italy: Between Policy, Parties, Press and Public Opinion in 2007,” was an analysis of the overall socio-political climate affecting the creation of new citizenship and immigration laws under the Prodi government. Since graduating from TAM in Dec. 2007, Desirée has served as an ESL tutor with the NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture and the International Center in New York, two organizations devoted to helping new immigrant arrivals from many different countries and circumstances in their adjustment to life in the US. In 2008, Desirée was named a Presidential Management Fellow and now works at the U.S. Department of State.
On the strengths of TAM: “The TAM program placed me with a group of people who were well-traveled and thoughtful, with whom I could have an engaging conversation, about things that really matter in the world. This allowed me to feel at ease discussing politics and increasing my overall awareness of the different issues we individually cared about. These TAM alumni are now friends of mine, whom I have since met across Europe and the United States, as they continue to pursue their careers and travel. We are, in many ways, a like-minded group, which, in turn, has created a level of comfort and support allowing for even greater successes. This environment was created by Sarah Hutchison, our program coordinator, who has advised and assisted us throughout the course of the program and ever since. She gives TAM sincerity, in her honest commitment to our personal and professional progress.”
On the academic structure of TAM: “While at UNC in Chapel Hill, there was a strong course structure that gave me the necessary political science foundation. During my time in Siena, however, I found the flexibility I needed to focus my coursework and individual research on the issues that mattered to me. As a result, I developed a specialization and gained the authority to formulate a strong thesis. This is largely because TAM allowed me to not only study what I loved from the library, but to live within it. I saw my research unfolding in daily newspapers, as the tensions between immigrants and natives caused deaths and outbursts across Italy, and felt the raw emotion, walking by the very scene of one such incident, which drew national and international attention and forced center-right and center-left politicians to take positions on how to address the immigration reality. I engaged with professors working out the data on perceptions of migrant criminality and heard the story of the pizzaiolo who came from Morocco, all giving me a more authentic and complete understanding of immigration into Italy. By immersing you in the environment and issues you study, TAM allows for both personal growth and scholarly achievement.”
Class of 2006
Nicole is a Dutch-American citizen who was born in the US and raised in the Netherlands. She speaks Dutch, English, French and German. She earned a BA in Social Science from University College Utrecht in May 2003. In June 2005 she received her MA in Political Science from Leiden University. Nicole interned in the human rights department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her research interests focused on security and defense as well as on the relationship between the EU and its member states. Nicole completed her overseas modules at the University of Bath and graduated with her TAM MA from that institution. Nicole now works for VNG International, the International Co-operation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities. She first worked there as a project manager for the Business Unit International Service Contracts in The Hague, focused on the Balkans region. In Nov. 2011, she moved to South Africa to work at the local office in Pretoria. She is now VNG International’s regional coordinator for Southern Africa, implementing projects on local government development, funded mostly by the European Union.
Nicole writes: “Why I love TAM? The overall reason is that it’s an extremely flexible program that is able to tailor to every student’s needs. You pretty much get to create your own MA program, with regards to the country in which you wish to study, the university from which you want to graduate, the type of courses you are interested in taking, and the list goes on. I have to say that I could not have imagined a better group of people to have spent my TAM period with, which includes my TAM classmates, the staff at UNC, but also all the people you meet along the way in Europe. You are constantly surrounded by students, professors and advisors who understand and stimulate a student’s desire to learn more about world politics in the classrooms at UNC, argue about the future of US-EU relations at the organic food market in Carrboro, meet and debate with a US senator during the TAM fall break trip, have a croissant with your new European classmates in a little café in Paris, learn how to speak Czech, write your dissertation at a ‘security and defense’ research center in London; in other words: to do it all, and all in just one year! I guess that is why I love TAM.”
Erin is from Annapolis, Md. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2005 with a degree in Government and Hispanic Studies. She speaks English and Spanish and spent her overseas TAM modules in Madrid. Erin’s research interests involved international education and the changing relationship between globalization and national identity, and she completed the UNC MA in Political Science with a Concentration in TransAtlantic Studies. Erin also recently completed an MPH at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health with Certificates in Global Health and Health Finance and Management. Erin works as a consultant in the Washington Federal Practice in the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. She leads projects related to military healthcare in the the Army Medical Department, Office of the Army Surgeon General, in Falls Church, Va.
Erin writes: “I’d like to say how grateful I am to the Center for European Studies and to UNC for creating such a unique and rewarding program for students like me. I know that during my senior year at William and Mary I was not looking for a typical graduate program — in fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go straight to graduate school at all, unless I could find a path of study that suited my desire for travel and adventure. I found all that (and more) in the TransAtlantic Masters Program. By choosing the TAM Program, I won the chance to earn a prestigious and valuable academic degree. At the same time however, I learned more about myself and my abilities than I ever would have had I stayed in the United States.
I loved and appreciated both aspects of the TAM Program. During my semester at UNC I gained a new love for the Tar Heels and the new feeling of being a part of a huge academic and athletic institution (which meant a lot coming from a small school with many budgetary restraints). I also discovered that I love the EU! I find it truly fascinating, so it was easy to immerse myself in studying. My time in Spain was also a deeply influential period in my life. I took full advantage of my proximity to legendary European sites, my scattered friends in various parts of Europe, and various travel options. I was able to meet relatives in Ireland. I explored the Louvre, rode in a boat on Loch Ness in Scotland, and heard the cheers of a World Cup match in Berlin. These are not things that can be learned and experienced in a typical graduate program, and the friends I’ve made, from all different parts of the world, are very dear to me.”
Erin earned her BA in History and International Politics from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX in May 2004. She then worked at her alma mater as the assistant to the Distinguished Professor of International Affairs. Next, Erin enrolled in the TAM program and studied in Prague and Bath. While in Prague, she interned with Global Civic Concepts. Her research interests included the responsibilities and implications of international intervention, the International Criminal Court, and the concept of historical memory and its link to post-war reconciliation. For her master’s thesis, she wrote about the seemingly contradictory correlation between international peacekeeping missions and sex-trafficking. After her graduation in December 2006, Erin took a job as an Associate in the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC, where she worked as a government consultant under the firm’s Washington Federal Practice division. Erin passed the Foreign Service Oral Exam in April 2008 and has worked as an FSO at the US Embassies in Beirut, Lebanon, and London. She is now working as a country desk officer for Djibouti and Eritrea in the State Department’s Office of East African Affairs.