The Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) announces the 2022 Graduation Ceremony. If you are a graduating International Studies student who plans to attend the ceremony, please RSVP.
Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) Graduation Ceremony
603 East Liberty Street
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Business Casual Attire Recommended (no caps and gowns)
5:00 pm – Reception begins
5:30 pm - Graduates will begin lining up to process into the theater at the Michigan Theater, main lobby (students sit in own section separate from parents/family)
6:00 pm - Ceremony, Michigan Theater
7:30 pm - Ceremony ends
For directions, parking, and accessibility information, please see Michigan Theater website
PICS Graduation Speaker - Simon Ostrovsky
Simon Ostrovsky is a PBS NewsHour Special Correspondent whose coverage of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine—including the massacre perpetrated by Russian forces in Bucha—helped earn the program a 2023 duPont Award nomination. Throughout his two decades in journalism, Simon has covered the countries of the former Soviet Union extensively, reporting on four revolutions and three wars, and earning a duPont Award and two Emmy nominations. He has also covered conflicts in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Syria, and Libya; the COVID pandemic in both the United States and Brazil; and domestic extremism. Simon was a 2021-22 University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow with a focus on investigating disinformation campaigns.
PICS Student Speaker - Elizabeth Tower
Elizabeth Tower is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a major in International Studies, a subplan of comparative culture and identity, and regional and linguistic focuses in the Middle East and Arabic. Her research on Palestinian hip-hop music was presented at the Middle East Studies Association’s annual meeting in 2022, and her senior honors thesis is a comparative, journalistic study of resistance art in Palestine and Kashmir. At the University of Michigan, Elizabeth was involved in SAFE, the Muslim Coalition, the Interfaith Advisory Board, UROP, and Research Scholars. She has interned in human rights in Palestine where she also studied Arabic and taught English in Al-Fawwar refugee camp. Elizabeth is a FLAS Fellow, a 7-term James B. Angell Scholar, and a Marshall Scholarship nominee. Following graduation, she will be pursuing a MSc in Modern Middle Eastern Studies in Magdalen College at the University of Oxford.
PICS Director Address – Robert J. Franzese, Jr.
Professor Franzese (Rob) is Director of the Program in International & Comparative Studies, Professor & Associate Chair of Political Science, Director of the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods, and Research Professor in the Center for Political Studies of the Institute for Social Research. He is also Fellow and was the 15th President of the Society for Political Methodology
Rob’s research and teaching interests center on the comparative and international political economy of developed democracies, most particularly macroeconomic policymaking in democracies under global interdependence, and on empirical methodological issues that arise from that substantive agenda, particularly statistical modeling of interdependence and complex context-conditionality.
He is (co-)author or (co-)editor of eight books, including the forthcoming Empirical Analysis of Spatial Interdependence, and more than fifty articles, chapters, and papers including recently “Model Specification for Spatial Interdependence,” “The Comparative and International Political Economy of Anti-Globalization Populism,” and “How Socioeconomic Malaise & Decline Fuel Xenophobic Nationalist Extremism.”
Recognition of PICS Honors – Anthony Marcum, PhD
Anthony Marcum is Lecturer IV and the Coordinator of Experiential, Independent, and Honors Education for the Program in International and Comparative Studies.
Anthony Marcum's research agenda broadly focuses on understanding how power and relationships influence actors’ decision-making in the areas of conflict and post-conflict studies, conflict management, secrecy, democratization, and domestic political institutions. His current project focuses on military occupations following interstate wars, specifically how occupying powers can influence and control occupied territories to achieve the victor’s peace.
PICS seniors were invited to share more about their experience in the program. To read more about each of these International Studies seniors, click on the link on their name!
Graduating U-M International Studies seniors were asked to share their fondest memories during their time in the Program in International and Comparative Studies. To read more about each of these International Studies seniors, click on the link on their name!
Tala Alahmar is from Damascus, Syria and is focusing on ISNC. On campus, Tala is a Transfer Student Ambassador, an optiMize transfer bridge fellow, a MUNUM 36 staff member, and a former URPO participant. After graduation, Tala will be heading to Washington to pursue a Masters in Democracy and Governance at Georgetown University after receiving the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship.
Fatimah Alhawary is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Anthropology and a minor in Museum Studies. On campus, she served on the Martha Cook House Board, participated in Michigan in Washington, and worked at the Museum of Anthropological Archeology. After graduation, Fatimah is planning on continuing her education by pursuing a Masters degree in Transcultural Studies with a Certificate in Museum Studies.
Margaret Barber is from Burlingame, California and is focusing on GEH with a double major in PitE and a minor in Italian. On campus, Margaret was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta. After graduation, she will be going to Cambridge for a Masters in Philosophy (MPhil) in Environmental Policy.
Mekulash Baron-Galbavi is from Monroe, MI focusing on ISNC with minors in Urban Studies and Food and Environmental Studies. On campus, he is a member of Model UN at the University of Michigan and participated in Michigan’s Semester in Detroit program. After graduation, Mekulash plans on pursuing work with a focus on human rights, transformative justice, and social justice.
Sarah Bellovich is from Grosse Pointe, MI and is focusing on CCI with a minor in French and Writing. On campus, she is a member of the Residential College and Phi Delta Phi Pre-Law Fraternity. After graduation, Sarah will be pursuing a Masters in International and Developmental Studies in the field of Human Rights and the Graduate Institute (IHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Daniel Joseph Brzozowski is from Commerce Township, MI and is focusing on PED with a minor in Entrepreneurship. On campus, Daniel was part of Psi Upsilon Fraternity and MUSIC Matters. After graduation, he will be working as a Client Service Associate at Fisher Investments in Tampa, Florida.
Jackson Reed Cabral is from Scottsdale, Arizona and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, Jackson is Secretary of Sigma Iota Rho, a member of the Alexander Hamilton Society, and Community Service Chair of Pi Kappa Alpha. After graduation, Jackson will be moving to Washington, D.C. to begin a full time position as a National Security and Defense Consultant at Capgemini Government Solutions.
Kathleen Mae Carroll is from Grosse Pointe Farms, MI and is focusing on ISNC with a minor in Moral and Political Philosophy. On campus, Kathleen worked as an Honors Resident Advisor in South Quad for the past two years, has been a part of Wolverine Wellness and has volunteered and worked for the Dawn Farm community of programs in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. After graduation, she will be preparing for the LSAT and working at Dawn Farm. She plans to attend law school in two or three years.
Emmanuel Orozco Castellanos is from Capilla de Guadalupe, Jalisco, Mexico focusing on ISNC with minors in Critical Translation Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. On campus, Emmanuel was a part of the Michigan Journal of International Affairs and the Global Scholars Program. Additionally, he worked as a part-time Program Assistant for the U-M department of Comparative Literature and as a translator for the Law School’s Immigrant Justice Lab. After graduation, he is hoping to pursue a career in international human rights, working for a non-profit, a law firm, or at an international organization.
Edra Cela is from Pogradec, Albania and is focusing on CCI with a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change. On campus, Edra was part of AIESEC. She also studied abroad in Barcelona. After graduation, she is planning on taking a gap year during which she intends to dedicate to gaining valuable work experience. Ultimately, she hopes to go to law school and specialize in either International Law or Human Rights Law.
Sharonda Chiangong is from Southfield, Michigan focusing on GEH with a minor in Music. On campus, she is a Diversity Peer Educator for Mosher-Jordan Housing, a Model Coordinator for African Students Association, and OAMI’s MLK Symposium Program Coordinator. After graduation, she plans to continue her education to study Infectious Disease Epidemiology.
Kylie Chicilli is from Clare, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, she was a member of Beta Alpha Rho Pre-Law and Public Service Fraternity, SUNNY, Food Gatherers, as well as an intern for an LGBTQ+ Non-Profit in Sorrento, Italy. After graduation, Kylie plans on moving to Lansing to continue her work in activism and policy.
Jacqueline Choe is from Saint Joseph, MI and is focusing on ISNC with a minor in Asian Languages and Culture (Korean). On campus, Jacqueline was a part of the Nam Center for Korean Studies. After graduation, she will be participating in the U-M Ross One Year Masters of Management Program.
John Conlin is from Chelsea Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, John wrote for the Michigan Daily and had a part time job at the local business Argus Farm Stop. After graduation John is planning on continuing his education in graduate school.
Alessandra Curry is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC. On campus, Alessandra was a part of the Alexander Hamilton Society, the Black Student Union, Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society, the Global Scholars Program, the Turner African American Services Council, and Students of Color interested in Law, Government, Policy, and Social Justice. After graduation, Alessandra plans to apply to graduate or law schools, or full time employment in Washington, DC.
Carley Davidson is from Ypsilanti, Michigan focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, she is on the Executive Board of Students 4 Decarceration. After graduation, she plans on getting a Master in Social Work from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
Alberto Della Torre is from Rochester Hills Michigan and is focusing on GEH with a double major in Environment. On campus, he is involved with the Michigan Journal of International Affairs and the Urbanism Club. After graduation, Alberto will be joining the Peace Corps in Mexico.
Jack Gisondi is from Larchmont, New York and is focusing on ISNC with a minor in Business Administration. On campus, he is the Communications Chair for the Japanese Language Circle and a Tadoku Room intern in the Asia Library. After graduation, Jack plans to work in Japan to develop stronger relations between the U.S. and Japan, starting with teaching English this summer through the JET Program.
Sara Victoria Gleason is from Portage, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Spanish and a minor in Portuguese. On campus, she was involved with Sigma Iota Rho, was Vice President of the Global Scholars Program, and a member of UROP. After graduation, Sara will be completing a Fulbright Fellowship where she will support Brazilian university students to excel in the English language.
Abigail Gonzalez is from Pullman, Michigan and is focusing on GEH. On campus, she was involved in the Latinx Undergraduate Medical Association (LUMA), the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, and La Casa. After graduation, Abigail will be attending graduate school to study a Masters in Health Informatics.
Stanislaw Gunkel is from Chicago, Illinois and is focusing on GEH with a double major in German and a minor in Environment. On campus, Stanislaw had an internship with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service & Student Conservation Association as a Shorebird Conservation Intern, protecting the endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers at Chicago's Montrose Beach. He also had an internship in Germany working for Bachpaten Freiburg, a water conservation group involved in monitoring, testing, and protecting the streams and rivers of the Freiburg area. Additionally, he enjoyed serving on the executive board of the Polish Student Association. After graduation, he will be returning to Chicago to seek employment working in conservation, ecology and environment. Alongside his career path, he will continue working as a musician - writing, performing and producing indie/alternative music.
Nina Jo Hashbarger is from Lincoln Park, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC. On campus, Nina is a Residential Advisor, part of the Comprehensive Studies Program, and a student leader for the Global Scholars Program. After graduation, Nina plans to go abroad to Japan and South Korea during the summer.
Grace Winifred Hennigan is from Philadelphia, PA and is focusing on GEH with a double major in Asian Studies (Chinese Language & Culture). On campus, Grace was president of Sirens A Cappella, a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Theta Chapter and a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. After graduation, she is planning on working in New York at Syneos Health in their Graduate Training Program.
Yaozhong (Evan) Hu is from Shanghai, China focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, he is a member of the Michigan Venture Club, the XInitiative Club, the Chinese Humanities Reading Club, and Sigma Iota Rho. After graduation, he plans on attending law school.
Lillith Jackson (They/Them Pronouns)
Lilith Jackson is from Detroit, Michigan and is focusing on CCI with a double major in Asian Studies. After graduation they are planning on pursuing a Masters in Japanese Literature.
Ryan Keiper is from South San Francisco, California focusing in ISNC with a double major in History. On campus, he is an Information Assistant at the Campus Information Center, participates in the Michigan Hockey League, a researcher at the Diplomacy Lab, and a member of the Scandinavian Club. After graduation, he will be working as an Advanced Analytics Consultant at FTI Consulting in San Francisco, CA and plans to coach his old youth hockey club team.
Jennifer Kim is from Manila, Philippines and Beijing and Shanghai, China and is focusing on ISNC with a minor in Environment. On campus, she is involved in the Michigan Journal of Asian Studies, the University of Michigan Taekwondo Club, and the International Studies Honor Society Sigma Iota Rho. After graduation Jennifer is planning on starting her career!
Noor Khan is from Hallsville, TX and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Middle Eastern Studies. On campus, Noor was involved with Michigan Mock Trial, Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, UNICEF-UM, and the Immigration Justice Lab. After graduation, she will be working as a Legal Practice Assistant in International Trade & Securities Litigation at Morgan, Lewis, & Bokius at their Seattle office.
Emily Kopp is from Los Angeles, California and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in History and a minor is Islamic Studies. On campus, Emily is involved in Michigan Mock Trial, Michigan Political Consulting, and Michigan Foreign Policy Council. After graduation, Emily will be working in New York City as a litigation paralegal for Sullivan and Cromwell.
Lillian Diane Clarissa Malone is from Grand Rapids, MI and is focusing on CCI. On campus, Lillian was part of PALMA, worked part-time, and was an ESL tutor. After graduation, she will be moving to Spain to be a language assistant.
Sean Maxwell McNally-Hodgson is from Ypsilanti, MI focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, he is involved in the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan and the University of Michigan Taekwondo Club. After graduation, Sean plans on continuing his education at the University of Michigan with an Accelerated Masters in Transcultural Studies with a focus on history.
Lauren Peng is from Morristown, New Jersey and Shanghai, China, and she is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Public Policy, and a minor in Chinese Language and Culture. On campus, Lauren is a member of the University of Michigan Club Fencing Team and Students of Color in Public Policy. After graduation, she is hoping to pursue her passion for diplomacy and U.S.- China relations.
Natalia Pfeffer is from Shelby Township, MI and is focusing on PED with a minor in the Ross School of Business. On campus, Natalia was part of the Michigan Community Scholars Program, the Flint Justice Partnership, and worked for Michigan Recreational Sports. After graduation, she will be working as a Trade Representative in Customs Compliance for Copper Hill Inc.
Kaitlyn Potter is from Troy, Michigan and is focusing on PED with a double major in Spanish. On campus, she was involved in Zeta Omega Eta, American Friends Service Committee, Ask a Librarian at Hatcher, the Sanger Leadership Legacy Lab, the Readers and Best, and the Spanish Club. After graduation, Kaitlyn will be working in Medellín, Colombia for the summer as a language and translation intern before returning to the University of Michigan to get her Masters in Transcultural Studies.
Isabella Preissle is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, she is a member of the Michigan Running Club, Delta Gamma Phi, works as a student assistant for PICS, and is an on-campus fellow for the Donia Human Rights Center. After graduation, Isabella is planning on taking two gap years before continuing onto law school.
Ketan Revankar is from West Bloomfield, MI and is focusing on GEH. On campus, Ketan was a member of the Health Policy Student Association and the Wolverine Support Network. After graduation, he will be attending Columbia University for a dual MPH/MSW.
Naomi Rosen is from Mountain View, California focusing on ISNC with a double major in History. On campus, she is a member of Kappa Omega Alpha, LSA Honors, Michigan Yoga Club, and Tutoring. After graduation, she will be working as an associate consulate at Quadrant Strategies in Washington, DC.
Zoe Roskin is from Katonah, New York and is focusing on PED with a minor in Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship. On campus, Zoe was the Talent & Concert Chair for MUSIC Matters and served as the First Year Students of Hillel Co-Chair. This year, she booked the headliner, ROLE MODEL, for MUSIC Matters' SpringFest concert at the Michigan Theater! In her free time, she loves to run, play tennis, and read. After graduation, she will be working in the International Marketing department at Def Jam Recordings in NYC.
Suela Sefa is from West Bloomfield, MI and is focusing on ISNC with minors in Crime and Justice and Social Class and Inequality Studies. On campus, Suela was part of the Albanian American Student Organization, Sigma Iota Rho Honors Society, and Triota Honors Society. After graduation, she will pursue becoming a Foreign Service Officer.
Edha Shirodkar is from Farmington Hills, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Economics. On campus, she is involved in the Michigan Journal of Asian Studies, M-Etrics, SWIE, the Michigan Gayly: LGBTQ+ Issues, and the Archive. After graduation, Edha is hoping to pursue a career in research, policy, or data analysis.
Jacob Small is from Buffalo, New York and is focusing on PED with a minor in Energy Science and Policy. On campus, Jacob was founder and president of the Michigan Hockey League, VP of Strategy at the Michigan Business Group, and a member of the Ski Club. After graduation, he will be working in sustainable business development, urban planning, or financial research.
Courtney Smith is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in German. On campus, Courtney was an English Language Circle Leader. After graduation, Courtney will be an English Teaching Assistant through the Fulbright Austria program.
Leah Smith is from Portage, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Spanish. On campus, she is a member of Michigan Movement. After graduation, Leah hopes to pursue narrative or creative writing for video games, children’s books, and other mediums.
Rose Sproat is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is focusing on ISNC with a double major in Statistics and a minor in Asian Languages & Cultures. On campus, Rose was the Michigan Pops Orchestra publicity director and was a Global Scholars Program holiday & tradition coordinator. After graduation, she plans on spending a month in Barcelona with friends and then moving to New York City to work at Jane Street.
Carolina Mota Teixeira is from São Paulo, Brazil and is focusing on PED with a double minor in Economics (LSA) and Business (Ross). On campus, Carolina was a part of the Michigan International Students Society (MISS), Brazilian Students Association (BSA) and Michigan Advertising and Marketing (MAM). After graduation, she will be joining Ernst & Young (EY) as a full-time Transaction Real Estate Associate in their Chicago office.
Elizabeth Tower is from Jenison, Michigan and is focusing on CCI with a minor in Religion. On campus, she was involved in the Muslim Coalition, the Interfaith Advisory Board, and SAFE Umich. After graduation, Elizabeth will be attending the University of Oxford for a Masters in Modern Middle Eastern Studies.
Grace Tucker is from Zionsville, IN and is focusing on CCI with a double major in Spanish and a minor in Crime and Justice. On campus, Grace was involved in Gimble ACappella, the Michigan Daily, UROP, Michminnies Cooperative House, and Proyecto Avance Latino-Mentoring Association (PALMA). After graduation, Grace will pursue a career in Journalism as a Reporting Intern at the Columbus Dispatch.
Heidi Tuyen is from New York City and is focusing on PED with a minor in Chinese Language and Culture. On campus, Heidi is involved with Sigma Iota Rho, HKSA, Women in Law, the Accounting Club, and Flowdom. After graduation, Heidi will be continuing her studies at New York University getting a Masters in Accounting.
Grey is from St. Louis, Missouri and is focusing on CCI with a double major in Political Science and a minor in LGBTQ+ Studies. On campus, he participated in the University of Michigan Chapter of J Street, the Michigan Gayly, the Michigan Community Scholars Program, and worked as a student employee at the Spectrum Center. After graduation, Grey is planning on living in Ypsilanti and starting their career!
Mia Whitfield is from Clarkston, MI, focusing on ISNC with a double major in Political Science. On campus, she is a resident advisor at North Quad and a member of the Faculty Engineering/Arts Student Team (FEAST) working to build an agricultural robot. Off campus, she is an intern with an international law firm working in corporate practice and a boutique law firm focusing on infrastructure and environment. After graduation, she will be joining an investment management firm as a private alternatives business development analyst.
Maddie Wilten is from Denver, Colorado and is focusing on GEH with a minor in Spanish. On campus, Maddie was a part of the Michigan Community Scholars Program, AIESEC, and had an internship at Equity Quotient. After graduation, she will be traveling to the west coast of the US for a month and then will be working at a hostel in Portugal for the summer. After her travels, she plans to start full-time as an Associate Growth Strategist at Equity Quotient, a SaaS-based startup company that analyzes the S in ESG so companies can manage risk, drive social impact, increase growth, and contribute to a more equitable economy. She will most likely be in New York starting in September.
The following PICS seniors were awarded PICS funding for global study, research, or internship opportunities. Read their testimonials from their impactful experiences by clicking on the links below.