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Five students sitting together at a long table have a discussion.

Our student ambassadors can answer your questions about the Middlebury Institute, from academic and professional opportunities to life in Monterey.

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head shot of asmita jain

Asmita Jain

Development Practice and Policy (International Policy and Development; MPA)

Asmita grew up in Agra, India, and studied English literature at Hindu College, Delhi University. She then moved to London to pursue a Master’s in Digital Culture and Society from King’s College London. She considers London to be her spiritual home and where she developed her love for studying public policy as a means to social change. On campus, Asmita serves on Student Council and is the president of the Bridging Cultures club. She spends her time researching fandom studies, learning about the intersection between the private and public domains, and taking long walks along Cannery Row. Sign up to chat.

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Jessica Fareri

International Education Management

Jessica is interested in International Student and Scholar Services and intercultural competence and her language of study is Japanese. She grew up on Long Island, N.Y., and attended SUNY at Stony Brook University where she received her BA in Linguistics (with a minor in Japanese Studies) and MA in TESOL. Jessica participated in the JET program and taught English at junior high schools in Akita City. While in Akita, she served as financial director for Charity Akita, organizing community events benefiting local and national charities. She enjoys long-distance and trail running and serves as the current chair of the Student Council’s Health and Wellness Committee. Sign up to chat.

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Sam Blakesley

International Environmental Policy

Sam is specializing in ocean and coastal resource management, and his language of study is Spanish. Born and raised in Oceanside, California, Sam grew up with a strong affinity for the ocean and enjoys connecting with the water every chance he gets. Sam moved to the Monterey Bay in 2010 where he received his BA in environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz. He quickly fell in love with the area and has called it home ever since. To complement his research, Sam has led the Santa Cruz chapter of the Surfrider Foundation for the past six years, where he can share his passion with others while nurturing environmental awareness. Sam brings the same level of enthusiasm to his role on Student Council. Sign up to chat.

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Benjamin Wollam

International Trade and Economic Diplomacy

Benjamin is specializing in U.S.-China-Latin America trade and investment, and his language of study is Chinese. A product of Washington, D.C., public schools, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, double majoring in International Political Economy and East Asian Studies/Mandarin. An avid activist, Benjamin served as president of the local chapter of Oxfam International, frequently leading petition signings and nonviolent protests. He served as a bilingual AmeriCorps leader and taught second grade at KIPP Austin Public Schools. On campus, Benjamin is the director of outreach and advocacy for the MIIS International Trade Association, and he serves on Student Council. Sign up to chat.

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Salvador Rodriguez-Ruiz

Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

Sal is focusing on counterterrorism and special operations research with Russian as his language of study. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and grew up in Chula Vista. In high school, he volunteered at the San Diego Police Department Cadet Program. Guided by his older sisters, he became the first in his family to graduate from community college and continued his education at San Diego State University, receiving his Bachelor’s in Political Science. Before the Institute, he worked on state and national political campaigns in San Diego and San Francisco. Sal is on Student Council and is working on the new Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism. Sign up to chat.

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Liz Fiala

TESOL and Teaching Foreign Language

Liz is specializing in International Education Management and she is interested in study abroad programs. A native of the Bay Area, Liz has spent most of her adult life living on and traveling around six continents (she has not given up hope on finding a job teaching English to penguins at the South Pole). Before coming to the Institute, she spent several years teaching English to teenagers and adults and running a college placement program at an intensive language school in Olympia, Washington. Lover of languages, animals, oceans, and lattes, Liz can frequently be found reading on the beach, petting random dogs, or wandering around Monterey on her motorcycle in search of a new coffee shop or brunch spot. Sign up to chat.

Head shot of Yuan Zeng Ashley Tan

Yuan Zeng Ashley Tan

Translation; Translation and Interpretation; Conference Interpretation

Ashley is focusing on English, Chinese, and French conference interpretation. He grew up in Brunei and received his Bachelor of Laws at the National University of Singapore. He spent eight months in Israel building his own social enterprise. So far Ashley has traveled to more than 60 countries across six continents. He has studied English, French, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Hakka, Spanish, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Arabic. Before the Institute, he served two years in the Singapore military, worked as a freelance interpreter and translator, pursued an MA in French, and volunteered in countries such as Palestine and Vietnam. His dream is to work for an international organization such as the United Nations and use his love for languages to make a difference in the lives of others. Sign up to chat.

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Seongji Kim

Translation and Localization Management

Seongji is specializing in Localization with Korean as her language of study. While Seoul, South Korea, is home, she has lived a nomadic life, moving from place to place across the U.S. and Korea. She graduated with a BA in Political Science from Hanyang University. Upon graduation, she pursued her passion for North Korean human rights, working for an international NGO, Liberty in North Korea, and that experience changed her course from being a researcher to a practitioner. Her interests lie in how business and technology can be a solution to many societal issues faced by international and local communities. On campus, she cofounded the Middlebury Institute chapter of Liberty in North Korea, teaches a Korean class through B.U.I.L.D., and serves on Student Council. Sign up to chat.