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Alumni Spotlight

Read about this month’s International Studies Alumni Spotlight. Alumni were asked to share how their International Studies major or minor has influenced their path after graduating from the University of Michigan.

March 2021

Ryan Pavel

BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation) ‘12

Hometown: Barrington, IL

University of Michigan Affiliations: Student Veterans of America

“By far, the most influential component of my degree was the process of writing a Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) Honors thesis. I worked with Vic Lieberman, a brilliant mentor and professor, to craft my thesis on transitional justice in Iraq. My critical thinking, researching, and writing skills all improved dramatically thanks to that experience. Even though I moved on from the national security field after graduation, the skills obtained by writing a thesis were instrumental throughout law school and into my current career.

I now serve as the CEO of Warrior-Scholar Project, a nonprofit focused on empowering enlisted veterans as they transition from military service to higher education. A number of my former International Studies professors have helped out with this project by instructing and mentoring our students. In many ways, I am better equipped for my current job thanks to my time at the University of Michigan Program in International and Comparative Studies.”