By Amy Aldrich
When Elliott School of International Affairs senior Carla Dell’Angelica headed to the George Washington University from her hometown of Los Angeles, she had already decided to focus her career on advancing women’s rights around the world. In pursuit of this goal, she has taken classes on women in Africa, women in Latin America and on the anthropology of gender.
Dell’Angelica has held work-study jobs each semester to help fund her education. But this semester, she decided to take a risk. She accepted an unpaid internship with a non-profit that protects rights and promotes opportunities for women in Latin American nations. “Internships provide essential career experience, but they can be an added stress for students who, like me, usually spend the semester working a paid job to help make ends meet,” she explained in her application for the award.
On Nov. 14, Dell’Angelica breathed a sigh of relief. She is one of 25 Elliott School students to receive a new award supporting students dedicated to advancing the role of women in international affairs. The I/WE Student Award, established by the International Women of Elliott (I/WE) Executive Circle, provides assistance to students with financial need whose career goals align with the group’s mission: to expand the role of women in the international affairs profession.
“I’m extremely honored to receive this award to support my unpaid internship at the League of United Latin American Citizens,” Dell’Angelica said. “It will allow me to focus on my studies and internship, so that I can be the best candidate for my post-graduation job and future endeavors.”
The awards are competitive: more than 90 undergraduate and graduate students applied. The Elliott School was able to offer awards to nearly one third of applicants, for a total of $118,300 in support. Those chosen are students who demonstrate a clear commitment to amplifying the voices of women in foreign policy, as well as financial need.
The awards also are a milestone in the work of the I/WE Executive Circle and a landmark moment for the Elliott School.
“We are so thrilled to see our growing I/WE community champion the role of women in international affairs,” said Elliott School Dean Alyssa Ayres. “The I/WE Student Awards are central to this goal, with direct impact on the next generation. We are delighted to be able to help 25 outstanding Elliott School students – all thanks to the support of our I/WE members.”
Members of the International Women of Elliott Executive Circle, a group of more than two dozen leaders in international policy and economics, also had a chance to talk with this next generation of women leaders.
“I was truly impressed with the quality of the applicants, and I particularly enjoyed learning about the goals they have for their careers—especially the impact they hope to have on increasing women’s participation in international affairs policymaking or bettering the livelihoods of women all around the world,” noted Alexandra Garcia, MIPP ‘14.
Tanya Haden, a graduate student concentrating on global communications, is one of 11 graduate students who received an I/WE fellowship. In her application, Haden wrote that she joined an Asian-interest sorority as an undergraduate “because I strongly believed in their work to help women struggling with domestic violence.”
At the Elliott School, she said, “I am learning how to advance the role of women in global society through media.” She plans to continue this pathway, earning a Ph.D. and becoming a professor. “Media has consistently characterized women in a manner that reinforces archaic gender roles,” Haden said. “I wish to use my position to inform women of how we can shape our global society to enhance gender equality.”
Contributions to the I/WE Awards build on GW’s commitment to opening doors to higher education and make a world of difference for students to pursue their dreams at the Elliott School.