Hometown: Ona, West Virginia
Educational and Career background: I carried out my undergraduate education at Marshall University in Huntington, W.V., majoring in organizational communications; I also received my commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer, where I served from 2007 to 2011. While in the U.S. Army, I deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2010. I enrolled in Arcadia’s IPCR program in fall 2012 after my medical discharge in 2011.
Why Arcadia? After leaving the military I had multiple ideas about graduate school options. I knew I wanted to do something abroad. I happened upon Arcadia’s IPCR program while searching online for schools with Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans. After speaking to a staff member I knew this was the program for me, due to its flexibility and positive attitude. I found its focus on peace appealing; having experienced two major wars/conflicts, I wanted to see what change could be made to situations that I’ve personally experienced and how to reduce human suffering.
How has Arcadia’s global emphasis impacted your learning? Arcadia’s global emphasis has allowed me to not just study about the world but be a participatory student in the global arena addressing international peace and conflict resolution. I have grown academically, professionally, and personally as a result of Arcadia’s global focus, since it has offered me opportunities to interact with other cultures in complex scenarios, ones that could not be found in any other academic experience. My experiences in Serbia and Kosovo are perfect examples of this. I also recently studied abroad for a semester in Paris, France. Studying abroad allowed me to improve my intercultural communication skills and allowed me the opportunity to broaden my academic knowledge.
What have been some of your key professional development experiences during your time at Arcadia? My experience in my Conflict Governance and State Building class allowed me to develop a policy analysis for the Serbia-Kosovo conflict, along with being able to travel there and meet with prominent policymakers and practitioners that are working to resolve the conflict. Kuhn’s experiences discussing a recent agreement between Serbia and Kosovo with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci during an Arcadia trip to Belgrade and Pristina informed a paper Kuhn wrote that was published in the U.S. Army’s Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute's Peace & Stability Operations Journal Online. The paper focused on a contentious part of the agreement intended to normalize relations between the two governments: the merging of Serb police officers into Kosovo’s police force. “Finding A Way: Integrating Serb Police Officers into the Kosovo Police Service” explores three options for achieving this goal and establishing greater security in northern municipalities. Kuhn recommends a moderate approach through the creation of an integrated task force, ensuring, among other things, that new Serb officers will be trained according to the standards of Kosovo Police.
In the summer of 2013 I served as the senior intern at the U.S. Army War College at the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI) and the Pentagon with the Office of the Secretary of Defense – Policy for the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). Both of these opportunities allowed me to work on real issues with real products, extend my leadership experience, and network with government policymakers, researchers, and service members. In February 2014 I interviewed for a presidential management fellowship with hopes of working in national defense toward Special Operations Command. None of these things could have been accomplished without my Arcadia and IPCR experience.
Master’s Thesis topic: My capstone project will address U.S. foreign policy with peace operations and how the U.S. can become a more engaged partner in peace operations. This will allow me to work in an area that I am familiar with and help propel me to work for the Department of Defense after graduation. Developing policy prescriptions for the U.S. toward peace operations will offer opportunities by which policymakers will be better able to alter the status quo in peace operations partnerships and contributions.
Career Goals: I am currently planning to work for the U.S. government, the United Nations, NGOs working in peacekeeping environments, or with my state government to resolve conflicts within West Virginia.