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January 2023 - Andres Velasco

BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation); minor, Environment ‘25

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Affiliations: LEAD Scholars Program, Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars Program (as a Freshman)

“During my freshman year, I contributed towards a group effort in advancing sustainability initiatives within pomegranate production in Morocco. Our goal was to create enticing story maps, through ArcGIS and draw in potential investors in funding a wide range of sustainability initiatives. These initiatives ranged from environmental to social, all with the common purpose of advancing the High Atlas Foundation's, a nonprofit organization based in Marrakesh, Morocco, effort in not only stimulating rural economies, but stimulating equal rights movements. Now in my second year at U-M, I am studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany through a program that focuses on the study and inner workings of the European Union. Though most of the students in this program have a primary interest in international studies, I believe that our range of interests within this topic, from law to economics, is a reflection of how interconnected the study of international studies can be. Though I haven't been in this foreign country for long, I can see the amount of character, history, efficiency, and functionality that it has. I am beyond excited to continue learning about this country, alongside the range of disciplines that contribute to its functionality.”

Future Plans: “I am still uncertain as to whether I will pursue a masters degree after undergrad, however, I have taken every experience in my major to educate myself on what I can do to contribute towards my field of study in the future. As a result, I have sought out different opportunities across various disciplines. As of right now, I have received an internship offer for the summer in Halle, Germany, that deals with assisting Middle Eastern refugees who have immigrated to Germany. Overall, I hope to continue working and contributing towards different efforts that advance sustainability initiatives across all spectrums. My goal is to be able to contribute towards an organization, public or private, and facilitate relationships between groups in order to reach common goals and advance diplomatic relationships.”