Gina Jannone began her summer break by spending two weeks in Turkey on a trip co-sponsored by Korbel's Center for Middle East Studies and the Denver-based Multicultural Mosaic Foundation. The trip took 11 M.A. students on a tour of Turkey immediately following the country's parliamentary elections, which were seen as a major turning point in Turkish politics. The students engaged with political leaders, religious groups, journalists and activists on a wide range of issues, in what was a timely and illuminating experience in one of the most influential countries in the Muslim-plurality world.
Immediately following the trip to Turkey, Gina began work as a Marc Nathanson Fellow with The Aspen Institute's Communications and Society Program. Gina and a fellow Korbel M.A. student were responsible for compiling conference reading materials for the program's annual Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology and subsequently attended the conference in early August. This year's conference was titled "Countering the ISIS Message" and featured attendees from the U.S. Department of State, non-profits focused on counter-extremism and peace-building and major U.S. technology companies such as Facebook and Google. Following the conference, the fellows produced a memorandum summary that was distributed to conference participants.
Gina is now in her final quarter as a full-time M.A. student and continues to pursue her interest in Islamic politics. She and two other students head the Middle East Discussion Group, which hosts informal, student-led events meant to foster discussion outside the classroom on issues tied to the region. Gina plans to finish her time at Korbel after the winter quarter, during which she will conduct research for a Substantial Research Project on Islamic political movements. Outside of school, Gina continues to work remotely as a senior writer and editor for the public opinion firm Rasmussen Reports based in her home state of New Jersey.
Following graduation last spring, Kevin was hired as a survey research associate by SurveyMonkey. He explains:
My primary role is in managing future and ongoing media partnerships, such as SurveyMonkey's partnership with NBC News. This includes:
- Working with the team at NBC News to write questionnaires
- Programming finalized questionnaires into the SurveyMonkey platform
- Monitoring response and click rates of ongoing surveys
- Weighting surveys using R and SPSS
- Producing finalized banners and crosstabs for on-air usage
In addition, as part of the Survey Research team, I provide survey research expertise and best practices to the engineering, sales, and marketing teams.
I spent my summer interning at The Markaz, a Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to showcasing the arts and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa. Her duties were varied, ranging from researching and developing new fundraising strategies and assisting in the rebrand that the organization underwent to helping to plan, promote, and oversee an assortment of educational and artistic events. The latter included a documentary about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a Middle Eastern jazz concert, and a comedy show highlighting comedians of Middle Eastern and North African origin.
This fall, I switched coasts to participate in Korbel in D.C., the Korbel School's semester-long program in Washington, D.C. The program allows students to take several evening classes and pursue an internship during the day. I intern with the Department of State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, an opportunity which hopefully will provide invaluable insights into the considerations that go into the crafting and implementation of U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East. I will return to Korbel in January and graduate in the spring.