“St. Mary’s has always been a university that encourages public service, so we have students who really have that as one of their goals.”
–Larry Hufford, PhD., Professor of Political Science

According to the Office of the Director General, Foreign Service Office, U.S. Department of State, St. Mary’s University has produced more than 20 Foreign Service Officers and three Civil Service Officers.  In addition, dozens of students have participated in internships abroad. While not all of these students have been from the Graduate International Relations Program, it is a strong indicator of the dedication and empowerment that St. Mary’s University students carry away with their education.


Joe Biles (M.A. ’12) Joe’s paper Butter versus Guns?  Electoral Disincentives to Defense Effort was selected for the Pi Sigma Alpha best paper award for the 21st Annual Illinois State University Conference for Students of Political Science. This manuscript originated as a final paper here at St. Mary’s in the Graduate IR’s recently launched Research and Writing for International Relations course.  Joe also has a book review of NATO 2.0: Reboot or Delete? by Sarwar A. Kashmeri published in the current online edition of the Air Force Research Institute’s journal Strategic Studies Quarterly.

Travis Wessler (M.A. ’14). Travis has completed the United States Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship. This competitive award is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in order to “promote mutual understanding and respect” between the people of the United States and other countries. Travis also received the the prestigious David L. Boren Fellowship in support of overseas language study in world regions critical to U.S. interests. The Institute of International Education manages the fellowship on behalf of the National Security Education Program. Travis spent 9 months in Turkey living with Turkish families, conducting research and taking language courses.  through these intensive programs, Travis achieved a language proficiency level of Intermediate-High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale, and a 1+ on the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale.  See his story that appeared in the Gold and Blue magazine (Fall 2013)

Four students had articles published in the 2013-2014 Academia, St. Mary’s University Graduate School Journal: Vincent Sanchez (M.A. ’12), Virtuous Consequentialism:  A Framework for Humanitarian Intervention (when states abuse civilians how the international community can protect them by moving from a theory of just war to virtuous consequentialism); Constance Valdez (M.A. ’13), Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management:  Grassroots Conservation and Development in Belize (asks the question how can there be peace in rural Belize if U.S. and international oil development subvert indigenous life and culture); Chris Logsdon (M.A. ’14), The Paradox of the U.S.–China Economic Relationship (the Chinese and American economies have become increasingly dependent on each other, and as these economies march toward mutual dependence each state finds itself in a precarious position); and, Scott Sabo (current student), The Global Travels of a Gram of Cocaine (examines the U.S. war on South American coca famers and the problem of cocaine consumption which is centered in the U.S.).  Academia is a journal of student scholarship published once a year.  For further information, go to

Caitlyn Braley (M.A. ’12) and her fiancé, Joel Lowther (M.A. ’12) recently moved to Thailand and are teaching English at a elementary school in the small northern province of Phrae.  Braley, a former community organizer at DART, states: “We wanted to have an experience different from what we were used to and to be able to feel what life is like on the other side of the world. Through daily interactions with the 1500 students, our fellow teachers and community members, we have begun to realize how similar and different we are. Due to the lack of Western influence in our town, we feel that we are getting a very genuine Thai experience. It is very exciting to be able to see what we have learned in courses at St. Mary’s come to life while we are living and working in Thailand.”