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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Alice McGown

Alice McGown

International Environmental Policy

Alice has represented the International Environmental Policy program on the student council and is pursuing a Natural Resources Policy and Management specialization. Fluent in Thai from her two years of Peace Corps service, Alice is a recipient of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship and active in the Institute’s Peace Corps club. She serves on the COVID planning committee and is well-positioned to answer questions about all the work that’s gone into making the campus a safe place to learn and work together. Since starting her graduate career, Alice has focused on geospatial information systems (making maps) and can typically be found in one of the Institute’s computer labs, where she works as a teaching assistant. Environmental justice and development policy in the Global South have become central themes of her work at MIIS. Previously, Alice spent almost a decade working as a cameraperson in the film and television industry and still loves shooting videos and photography when she can find a spare minute. Sign up to chat.

Niko Garbacz

Niko Garbacz

Joint MPA/MA in International Education Management

Niko is a Peace Corps Fellow who served as an Education volunteer in Timor-Leste, and previously taught abroad in the UK and Germany. These experiences have kindled his passion for listening to teachers, students, and other stakeholders to improve the their learning environments, especially in low-resource and multicultural settings. He is enrolled in the joint IEM & MPA programs with a focus on intercultural communications. The curriculum, faculty, and staff at MIIS have been a great fit for learning to be a more effective professional in international education. Niko also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Sustainable Enterprise Management. He loves to spend time in the MIIS community garden, growing vegetables and herbs in his plot, and is an active member of the Student Council, serving as Logistics and Operations Coordinator. Sign up to chat.

Nicole Irigoyen

Nicole Irigoyen

Master of Public Administration

Nicole is currently working toward her MPA and has lived in the Monterey area since 2010. For the last eight years, she has been working in nonprofit organizations that uphold and center human rights. Nicole attended CSU Monterey Bay as a first-generation college student, completing her B.S. in 2015, and understands the complexities that many first-generation students face while pursuing higher education. Nicole has spent time abroad in Taiwan, Turkey, and Indonesia, but feels most connected to social justice work in the U.S. Nicole is deeply committed to her community–the Monterey area–and hopes to share her passion with students considering MIIS. Sign up to chat.

Salma Rashid

Salma Rashid

Master of Public Administration 

Originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, Salma is a student in the Public Administration program. She got a B.A. in Government with a minor in Management & Organizational Leadership from William & Mary in 2020. After undergrad, Salma served, and is still currently serving, as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Friendship Public Charter School in D.C., working in Alumni Affairs. Her combined experiences at W&M and with AmeriCorps have enabled her to grow in her passion for educational access, social justice, and service-learning. These experiences led her to being selected as a planning committee member for the National Partnership for Educational Access’ 2022 conference. In her free time, Salma loves to read, spend time outdoors with friends, and try out new coffee and teas! She’s excited to chat with you and can’t wait to share her experience at MIIS. Sign up to chat.

Sanjana Gogna

Sanjana Gogna

Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

Sanjana has worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Air Power Studies — a think tank with the Indian Air Force in New Delhi, where she focused on the Southern Asian nuclear weapons dynamics. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Delhi. She has also worked as a Research Assistant at the Observer Research Foundation and interned at the Ministry of External Affairs in India. At MIIS, she is focusing on nuclear nonproliferation and writing a dissertation on the China-India nuclear dyad. She would be happy to talk about the academic and professional opportunities at MIIS. With her background in Political Science, she is also always up for a discussion on global justice or feminism. Sign up to chat.

Isha Banks

Isha Banks

TESOL and Teaching Foreign Language

Originally from Florida, Isha is pursuing an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) with a specialization in Teaching Foreign Language (TFL) Japanese. They graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2018 with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature and a minor in Linguistics. After graduating, they worked as an Assistant Language Teaching (ALT) of English for two years in Japan as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. During their time in Japan, they obtained a TESOL certificate, but desired to get a deeper dive into English as a Second Language (ESL) education. This led them to the Middlebury Institute, which has a history of admitting and supporting JET alumni and a reputable TESOL program. Isha is passionate about languages and social justice, and enjoys taking walks along the coastline, watching animated shows, and playing piano. Sign up to chat.

Paulina Diaz

Paulina Diaz

Translation; Translation and Interpretation; Conference Interpretation

Originally from Mexico, Paulina is pursuing her MA in Conference Interpretation (Spanish and English). She graduated from Simpson University in Redding, California with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies. During her childhood, she quickly discovered her passion for translation and interpretation and enjoyed helping people communicate in different languages. As an undergrad student-athlete, she has always wanted to participate in the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup as an interpreter. On weekends, Paulina loves visiting new coffee shops and restaurants in the Monterey Area. During her free time, she enjoys playing soccer and going to the gym. In the future, she hopes to open more opportunities for women in sports media. Sign up to chat.

Jocelyn Kwong

Jocelyn Kwong

Translation and Localization Management

Jocelyn is currently pursuing a master’s in Translation and Localization Management. She graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Chinese Language and Culture and a minor in Environmental Sustainability. She spent her capstone year abroad with the Chinese Language Flagship Program in Nanjing, China. A native of San Francisco, Jocelyn returned to the city to work in a Mandarin immersion school prior to starting at the Middlebury Institute. In her free time, she enjoys running along the beach trails and swimming. Sign up to chat.

Allie Corcoran

Allie Corcoran

Online Translation and Localization Management

Allie is currently pursuing a MA in Translation and Localization Management through the online program and is based in Connecticut. She received a BA in French and Spanish from the University of South Carolina. Previously, she worked in the film industry translating documentary footage, and now works for a language service provider in their linguistic validation department. She is the Membership Manager at Women in Localization at MIIS and is involved with MIIS activities even from a distance. When she’s not studying, she’s out hiking with her dog Penny or baking something delicious. Sign up to chat.