EPIIC Archives

Colloquium Members

EPIIC 2009-2010 Class Bios



Avantha Arachchi is sophomore intending to double major in International Relations – International Security and French. He is also currently considering a minor in Physics. Born and raised on the Jersey Shore, Avantha enjoys a good group of friends, an intensive and constant workload, and, more expectedly, tanning. Academically, his interests surround the complex intricacies of counterterrorism and intelligence, along with the distinct connection between the media and public policy. Coming from a top-tier engineering high school, Avantha finds himself with a rather different perspective on world affairs, with analytical and scientific thinking coloring his outlook. This unique viewpoint has been complemented by work with the United States Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center Public Affairs, bridging the gap between physical and natural sciences and the social sciences. Avantha is confident that his experience with EPIIC will be no different. He looks forward to utilizing the knowledge learned this year to strengthen his intellectual repertoire and giving him an even broader perspective.


Syed Asad Badruddin is a junior majoring in International Relations and Quantitative Economics and maybe minoring in Media Studies. He is from Karachi, Pakistan where he spent his formative years before coming to Tufts. Beyond academics, he is interested in politics, journalism (he has gotten a couple of articles published on Globalpost, an online newspaper) and radio. At EPIIC this year he hopes to understand the moral issues surrounding nuclear weapons as well as the bureaucracy that is used to manage these powers. He also hopes to make use of the IGL’s Exposure program so that he can do some photojournalism during his future travels. This past summer he was in Nepal, and with the support of the IGL, conducted research on sustainable tourism over there. In his spare time, he likes to listen to music and hang out with friends.


Averi Becque is a sophomore studying International Relations. From a young age she has been fascinated by the different cultures and political systems that our world is made up of, which has cultivated her interest in all issues that impact human well being from a local to an international scale. Thus far this interest has translated itself into much time spent doing development work; she took a gap year during which she spent four months teaching first grade and working on a community development program in Guatemala. She is now involved in the Institute for Global Leadership’s BUILD (Building Understanding through International Learning and Development) program where she has participated in sustainable development projects in Guatemala. She is excited to look at the issues surrounding nuclear proliferation and how they affect the global community through every level of society. Nuclear proliferation has massive implications for global politics and human well-being, and for this reason she is thrilled to immerse herself in this subject.


Julia Bordin is a senior majoring in International Relations and minoring in History. A native of São Paulo, Brazil she began her international career at the age of three when she moved to Hamilton, Canada. She has spent the last year studying abroad in both Ghana and Italy. During her time in Accra, Ghana she had the opportunity to work at the Human Rights Advocacy Center promoting education on major issues such as AIDS and government accountability. During her time in the small town of Padua, Italy she had the opportunity to travel throughout the continent. She is now thrilled to be back at Tufts and a member of the 2011 EPIIC community.


Chelsea Brown is a senior at Tufts majoring in International Relations with a concentration in International Security. In her sophomore year, Chelsea participated in the EPIIC Colloquium "Global Cities" and played an active role on the Program and Special Events committees planning the 2009 EPIIC Symposium. She is member of ALLIES (The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services) and will be serving as the Financial Director for 2010-2011. Motivated by an interest in coordinating civil-military responses to humanitarian crises, Chelsea chaired the planning committee for the 2010 ALLIES-Air Force ROTC Joint Crisis Simulation. She is on the board of the Angelica Foundation--her family's organization--which supports organizations in Mexico working for human rights and democratic reform. Involvement with activists in Mexico catalyzed her interest in drug policy reform; she spent a summer interning with the Drug Policy Alliance and interviewing law enforcement officials, treatment providers, and reform activists in Mexico City, Vancouver, and across the U.S. about the Drug War. She spent the following semester in Argentina studying social movements and carried out an independent research project on the social and political implications of reviving the Buenos Aires carnival, an important cultural legacy severely repressed during the dictatorship. A panoply of other interests, which include energy security, European history, and counter-terrorism, in addition to her adoration of the EPIIC community, has motivated her to be an EPIIC "recidivist" in this year's Colloquium on nuclear issues. A native of San Diego, CA, an equestrian, and an accomplished waffle-maker, Chelsea's love has travel has led her to 25 countries and she hopes to double that amount in the next decade.


Ellie is a sophomore at Tufts and is majoring in Peace and Justice Studies with a minor in Dance. She recently worked with the national non-profit Peace First, to publicize the work it is doing to combat school violence. During high school she completed a 40-hour training course to become a certified mediator in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Though her community involvement thus far has focused on local improvements, in the future she would like to take her acquired skills and apply them to global issues. In addition, she spent her summer learning to like coffee for the expressed purpose of surviving EPIIC in all its glory.


Logan is a sophomore from Chicago, Illinois, pursuing a degree in International Relations here at Tufts. Growing up as the son of an Iranian mother offered him a variety of perspectives on global politics from a young age. Having a relentlessly inquisitive father forced him to sift through and explore these perspectives presented by his mother and her family. An active member of his high school’s Model UN team, Logan had the chance to debate in front of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who commented to the school’s principal, “That young man reminds me of the young Senator from your state.” That Senator was President Obama whose current line of work is something Logan says he would like to be involved in, either at the national or international level. After high school he sought out an adventure and walked Spain’s El Camino de Santiago. EPIIC serves as his next great adventure as he explores the dynamics of a technology which is “eerily, unsettlingly, mesmerizingly beautiful in its destructiveness.” Currently he is a part of Tufts Senate, Tufts Rugby, Theta Delta Chi fraternity, Chicago International Model United Nations, and the Persian Students Association.


Jon Garbose is a sophomore planning to major in Political Science and possibly minor in History from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He chose to partake in EPIIC this year because of his interest in this year’s theme and after encouragement from various friends who had done EPIIC in previous years. His other activities on campus include active membership in ALLIES through the IGL, which focuses on civil-military relations, and he is also a proud brother of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Over the summer, Jon was a camp counselor at an overnight camp in the Pocono Mountains in Northern Pennsylvania for his third year as a counselor. Outside of classes, Jon is a die-hard Philadelphia Phillies fan (which some of his friends call an unhealthy obsession), and enjoys running, tennis, and photography.


Angelina Garneva is a senior majoring in International Relations with a concentration in Globalization, Colonialism and Empires. She was born in Bulgaria, moved to Australia at age 9 and then to New Jersey in 2001. She just returned from a year studying abroad in Madrid where, alongside her daily lessons on the importance of dancing your butt off between the hours of 1am and 6am, the siesta, and the intrinsic cultural significance of the word “joder,” she interned with Helsinki España-Human Dimension, a human rights education group. She has also worked with Friends of Brad Will, a grassroots activist group working to better US-Mexico drug policy and human rights in Central America. Her perpetual movement around the world has been one of the most influential forces on her life, prompting her interest in foreign affairs, intercultural relations and basically anything with the word “global” attached to it. Aside from exploring the world, Angelina has a longstanding love affair with photography, people watching and free concerts.


Yamila Irizarry-Gerould is a senior majoring in Middle Eastern Studies with a minor in Arabic. She grew up in Western Massachusetts, and her father hails from Puerto Rico, so she was raised in a bilingual household. In high school, she was very involved in human rights and anti-war activism. After graduating, she took a gap year to do a transformative year of service with City Year, an AmeriCorps program in New York City. On campus, she is involved with ALLIES, a civilian-military group through which she organizes an annual simulation, NIMEP (New Initiative for Middle East Peace), and the Association for Latin American Students. Last fall semester, she studied abroad in Alexandria, Egypt and had an awesome time. She is interested in diversity issues on campus, America’s education system, and immigrant issues worldwide. She enjoys coffee and cuddling with her dog, but she is so cool, that she dips into all hobbies a little bit all the time.


Hazal Mine Kansu is a freshman from Turkey, and a possible major in biopsychology. She has spent her years in Turkey before coming to Tufts, and got involved with different community involvement projects in her country. Her interest in other cultures and in people with different stories dragged her through internships varying from being a museum officer to shadowing a cardiovascular surgeon, as she tried to decide her future career goal. Beyond academics, Mine enjoys playing, watching tennis, listening to world music and cooking. Starting with EPIIC, she intends to become a part of the IGL family as an active participant.


Ian Kelly is a freshman at Tufts University looking to major in International Relations with a focus on securities studies. After lecture he enjoys discussing the philosophical and theoretical aspects of the subject at hand, but also sees relevance of taking action. He looks forward to traveling to the Middle East and Asia to learn and explore as an intern and/or traveler. He colors his academic life with violin and break dancing. As an avid surfer, Ian is currently working on creating the Tufts Ocean Club, with the goal of bringing Tufts students closer to the sea, physically and ideologically. He enjoys reading The New York Times, Le Monde, and French novels.


Daniel Lakin is a senior from Durham, North Carolina. He is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Theater, and when he's not taking classes or doing homework, he can usually be found somewhere in the arts buildings, doing some sort of show. Daniel spent the summer before last interning in Washington, D.C. for Senator John Kerry (D-MA), where he did extensive work in Senator Kerry's foreign policy office. Daniel enjoys anything relating to foreign policy, specifically security studies, so this EPIIC class has fit him like a glove. Daniel enjoys reading, singing, and running, and listening to Motown music.


Eve Lifson is a sophomore at Tufts, hailing from the Philadelphia area. She is majoring in Peace and Justice studies and studying Arabic. Eve is very interested in the Middle East and is excited to learn more about this region of the world through the lens of the Nuclear Age in EPIIC this year. After graduating high school, Eve took a gap year, spending nine months in Israel with the youth movement, Habonim Dror, and she is currently a co-leader of the Boston branch of the movement. At Tufts Eve plays on the women's ultimate frisbee team and works as an intern for a Jewish outreach program run by Hillel. Outside of Tufts activities, Eve is a Daily Show enthusiast and enjoys learning to play the guitar.


Roy Loewenstein is a Freshman at Tufts planning to major in International Relations. He went to a performing arts high school in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland where he first studied 35mm photography and drawing before switching into the acting program. At Tufts he is a member of the club soccer team and hopes to get involved with the Tufts Energy Forum. He is a firm believer in global climate change and in the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He enjoys theatre, movies, the Baltimore Ravens, politics, soccer, tennis, pizza, and traveling, among other things. He is excited about taking EPIIC and hopes to explore not only the topic of nuclear security, but also the potential for using nuclear power to transition from dependence on fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy production.


Nunu Luo is a junior hailing from Hyde Park, Chicago and pursuing a major in Political Science. Although born in Beijing, China, her childhood was largely spent surrounded by the gothic towers and gargoyles that dominate the landscape of the University of Chicago. The similarities between the vibrant and intellectual environment of “home” and the idea of “living a life of the mind” at Tufts was what first attracted her to going to college on the hill. Already immensely humbled by the personalities and ambitions of her friends and peers at Tufts, she hopes that EPIIC and the IGL community will expose and equip her with many more perspectives with which to view the world. Her main academic area of interest concerns the death penalty and human rights. Since junior year of high school, she has been working to create a database, housed at Northwestern Law, that will contain information that lawyers and advocates around the world can access to help them in the fight to abolish the death penalty worldwide. Lastly, Nunu is so excited for this year’s EPIIC on the Nuclear Age and believes that it is fate, seeing as how when she was younger, she used to play and run around the area right where the first nuclear reaction was achieved by Enrico Fermi and his team.



Alexa Petersen is a sassy sophomore here at Tufts University, hailing from the foreign country of Connecticut. She is planning on majoring in Political Science and Peace and Justice Studies, and would like to be the first Female, Jewish, Atheist President one day. In her spare time, she loves arguing with anyone who will listen, frolicking on the President’s Lawn and staying in Dewick Dining Hall for long periods of time. Her bucket list includes traveling to all 7 continents, learning how to wind surf, and perhaps one day being patient. Her fears include, but are not limited to, settling down. She is in love with all things EPIIC and cannot wait for the year ahead.


Steven is completing his final year at Tufts and hopes that EPIIC will be the pinnacle of that experience. Steve was born in Chicago, IL, but grew up in South Bend, IN. Steve has always been interested in history and global issues, and he hopes to continue his pursuit of these fields after graduation. Steve enjoys cooking/eating, reading newspapers, and movies. Although late in his academic career, Steve sees EPIIC as an opportunity to translate knowledge and theory into practice and to do so in a dedicated group atmosphere.


Cullan, a senior hailing from the sandy shores of Winthrop, MA, feels privileged to be a member of this year's EPIIC colloquium. Having spent the past year in Kanazawa with Tufts in Japan, he believes that due to EPIIC's reading workload, this course is the best way to get back into an English speaking mindset... albeit, in a masochistic way. In addition to EPIIC, Cullan has had an unsettling range of experiences at Tufts. He has been a proud member of Kanazawa University's Evergreen Football Team, producer of Tufts Vagina Monologues, member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, study-abroad student in France, coach for Winthrop Special Olympics and a hammer tosser for Tufts Track and Field. As a double major in East Asian Studies- Japan and International Relations- Security, he is excited for the upcoming year and hopes that EPIIC will be a great opportunity to combine his academic interests!


Daniel Rizzo is a third year student at Tufts majoring in Engineering Physics. Having spent the majority of the past two years studying the world through the lens of math and science, he looks forward to the departure from the engineering curriculum that EPIIC surely promises. Outside of his academic life, Dan enjoys playing guitar and saxophone. A lucky few have even witnessed him performing with the Tufts University Sax Quartet (TUSQ), which incorporates the sophistication of classical music, and the humor of four saxophones trying to play it. Dan is also an active member of the Tufts chapter of the Society of Physics Students, which he hopes to incorporate with his efforts in EPIIC this coming year.




Vijay Saraswat is a Junior from Sudbury, MA majoring in International Relations. He transferred to Tufts University after five years of active duty service in the United States Marine Corps in the intelligence field. As a Sergeant with two combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, he led a platoon of Marines in their day-to-day operations and was responsible for the training, discipline, and personal and professional development of the Marines in his charge. Since leaving the Corps in August of 2009 and arriving at Tufts, Vijay has been heavily involved in the Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES) student group through the IGL. Outside of school Vijay is an avid motorcyclist and enjoys the outdoors, especially alpine mountaineering.


Patrick Schmidt is a sophomore majoring in International Relations, concentrating on the Middle East and South Asia. He grew up in Overland Park, KS, but also spent his junior year in high school as a Congressional Page in Washington DC, where he got his first taste of international relations from sneaking into hearings with General Petraeus and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2008 he went to Amman, Jordan for an Iraqi peace initiative where he heard first hand accounts of the war from other students. After taking EPIIC last year, Patrick was encouraged to start studying Persian and spent the summer learning Tajiki and Farsi at the Critical Language Institute at Arizona State University and in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. He plans on returning to Dushanbe next summer and not leaving until he is fluent. With the abundant free time that EPIIC leaves, Patrick is involved with ALLIES, runs competitively, plays classical piano, sleeps, and listens to Lil Wayne.



Peter Segall is a freshman planning to major in International Relations. He grew up in New Rochelle, New York, just a short train ride from the city itself. He always loved history and decided that International Relations was the place to do something positive with that interest. Outside of academics he enjoys folding origami, baking pies, and playing games.


Lindsay is a freshman at Tufts. She has not declared a major, but is considering International Relations. She spent the summer as a counselor at a local arts camp, and spent a lot of time in high school volunteering with children. Lindsay spent the past year traveling with Thinking Beyond Borders, a gap year program. She learned and worked on different issues of international development and is excited to bring her experiences and passions to the Tufts campus. Lindsay is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in EPIIC this year.



Will grew up awed by the Colorado peaks cutting into the horizon, and since he was a child has always felt drawn in to the great Rocky Mountain magnets. The stone typhoons sprouting from the earth have driven him to write about his journeys in their majestic valleys and summits, while always focusing on the challenges that lay ahead. At tufts he works at the scene shop building sets for the theater stage and plays rugby. Currently he is planning on majoring in Peace and Justice studies and focusing on Linguistics as well. With the EPIIC program it is his goal to develop an effective and useful guideline for the resolution of conflicts when both actors have nuclear capabilities. His goal is to become a doctor working in the environment that quietly humbles humanity - the mountains.




Seth Teleky is a sophomore from Queens, New York. Upon realizing that attempting a double major in International Relations and Astrophysics would have a terrible effect on his mental health and almost as a deleterious effect on any hope of an extracurricular life, he spent a year wandering through the Tufts course catalogue to arrive on some combination of International Relations, Political Science, and Philosophy, with History as a dark horse candidate. He was raised in somewhat of a loud and opinionated family, and this natural inclination manifested itself in both high school and college through very active membership on the debate team and editorializing for the school newspaper. When not arguing with people, he enjoys playing violin, hiking, participating on sports teams of all sorts (soccer until college, last semester crew, this semester fencing), and getting lost and trying to find his way back to familiar territory.



Jessie Wang is a proud member of the new class of 2014, majoring in International Relations and Biotechnology. Born in China, as a Mongolian, Jessie moved to the United States at the age of 6. Since then she has graduated with a International Baccalaureate diploma from Westwood High School in Austin, Texas. Because of the diversity of her background from an early age she knew she wanted to work with international issues. After leading her Model United Nations team to many conference victories, it is now one of Jessie’s goals to work for the United Nations Sustainable Development Committee. This summer Jessie originally had plans to work with rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking in Thailand however after the recent protests the trip was cancelled. She then made the decision to learn more about Tibetan nationalism by living in Tibet for two weeks. Since she’s been back she has been working with the University of Lhasa to form a student coalition to inform the public from a Tibetan view. Now at Tufts Jessie is a part of the Crew Team, is running for Senate, and hopefully a member of the Fencing Team. Every morning Jessie listens to “All the Above” and Kid Cudi to get herself excited.



Joel Wasserman is a freshman intending on majoring in International Relations. He is particularly interested in security studies, as well as Russia and her near abroad. He grew up in Rockville, MD and completed HS in the International Baccalaureate programme at Richard Montgomery HS, where he played 4 years of football as an offensive/defensive lineman. His intellectual interests include politics, foreign affairs, and history. He is drawn to this year’s EPIIC topic because of its vast implications for international politics and the interdisciplinary immersion it offers. He hopes to bring his progressive/realist political outlook to this year’s colloquium and learn from the diverse ideas and experiences of his classmates. His other interests include devout followings of the Washington Redskins and the Washington Capitals, along with gourmet cooking, intramural floor hockey, and debate. He hopes to pursue a career as a foreign policy analyst.



Alyssa Wohlfahrt is a sophomore student majoring most likely in International Relations with a concentration in Global Health. She is also filling her premed requirements, as she hopes to continue her education at medical school upon graduating from Tufts. Alyssa was born in Burlington, Vermont but has spent the majority of her life growing up in Massachusetts. Currently, she is a resident of Concord, MA. Alyssa enjoys swimming, going to the beach, skiing, biking, and spending time with her family. In addition to her EPIIC immersion this year at Tufts, Alyssa is a Tisch Scholar working with the Somerville Homeless Coalition on a photo art project dedicated to capturing portraits and expressions from homeless individuals. She is also a member of the OneWorld team, a group on campus dedicated to fighting global poverty. Someday Alyssa hopes to become a physician working internationally who incorporates a public health approach in her health care practices. Alyssa hopes that her EPIIC experience will challenge, excite, and inspire her.

Teaching Assistants



Rizwan Ladha is a graduate student at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he is studying for his Master degree in nuclear security policy. He has presented at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Project on Nuclear Issues conference, and for the summer of 2010 was a research associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School. Rizwan is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and coordinates online grassroots outreach efforts for the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). Prior to starting his graduate studies, Rizwan received his B.S. in International Affairs from the Sam Nunn School at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and worked both domestically and overseas in IT consulting and in social services. At Fletcher, Rizwan coordinates the activities of Fletcher Students in Security, and he is the drummer for Fletcher's in-house cover band, Los Fletcheros.