Carnegie Mellon University

Alumni Spotlights


Billy Joraskie picked a great time to study in Washington, DC. He interned for the Republican National Committee in the spring of 2011, shortly after the party gained seats in Congress, flipped state legislatures, and claimed governorships in the midterm elections. He and his fellow students threw a “countdown to the shutdown” party. They abandoned final exam prep after the killing of Osama bin Laden, throwing on their coats and joining the crowd gathered outside the White House. ... Read more


On a whim, Jacki Cortese fired up Google.

She’d been obsessed with space since she wrote a book report about the space shuttle in second grade, and had loved history since high school. After a summer internship on Capitol Hill, she was desperate to get back to Washington, DC.

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The months following graduation were tough for Jessica Wallach. Early in the process, Wallach, who graduated Carnegie Mellon University in 2016 with degrees in International Relations and Politics and African Studies, applied for a job with the International Center for Research on Women. Six months passed, and she applied again – this time for a receptionist position.

Shortly thereafter, she heard back, not about the receptionist job, but the one she originally wanted. ... Read more

Head shot of Max Tassano

When this summer’s quarantine redefined what people could do in their spare time, Max Tassano saw an opportunity. Tassano, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014 with a degree in International Relations and Politics and later got a Master’s in Public Policy and Management from Heinz College, became involved with CMU Tech and Entrepreneurship, a community that facilitates the sharing of knowledge and networking among Carnegie Mellon students and alumni. ... Read more


When considering colleges, Daniel Nesbit sought diversity of instruction. He knew he wanted to study political science or history, but hoped to augment that focus with a range of academic fields.

“One of the things that attracted me to Carnegie Mellon was that I would be around other disciplines and I would be able to try to incorporate some of that thinking into a more ... Read more


When Yong-Gyun Choi returned home to Pittsburgh from California during the COVID-19 pandemic, he went through some old pictures. He found one from a decade ago, when, with the help of a small grant, he got an internship at the US Embassy in South Korea.

“As a student at CMU, these kinds of opportunities were hard to find, but they’re definitely there,” Choi said. “They’re there for people who want it and who seek it. It doesn’t ... Read more


Ian Epperson has lived quite the life since arriving at Carnegie Mellon in 2008. He interned at the Central Intelligence Agency and the White House. As an officer in the Marine Corps, he trained foreign armies in the Middle East and served as an instructor for the Marines’ Infantry Officer Course. He studied at the London School of Economics.

“I’ve never tried to plan anything in a prescriptive way, but I’ve always tried to ... Read more


Early in Ian McIntyre’s time at Carnegie Mellon, he took an international relations course with Institute for Politics and Strategy Director and Taube Professor Kiron Skinner. That course introduced him to Stuxnet, a powerful virus that infiltrated Iranian computers and disrupted centrifuges used to enrich uranium.

“That has taken me on a marvelous journey where I, within a couple weeks ... Read more


Initially, Alice Tripp’s decision to accept an internship felt like a blow to her ego. She already had a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Politics from Carnegie Mellon, and had just earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management. 

“It was something where I was like, ‘Jeez, is this really the right decision for me?” Tripp said. “All this time and money in school, and now you’re going to go be an intern, a-gain?’ Hindsight’s twenty-twenty. I’d say it was the right decision.” Read more 


When Amy Badiani was a child, her mother took her to India to spend summers with her grandparents. They were communal, social creatures, entrepreneurs who owned a garment business, and they built their house on top of a well, a prescient decision when a drought hit.

“I noticed that I couldn’t do anything to make it rain, yet I could do something to help with the levity,” Badiani said. Read more 


After spending three years working in Citigroup’s Capital Markets Origination department, Yasmin Venema acquired a powerful skill set. As an analyst on the asset-backed securities team, she worked on bond issuances from start to finish – structuring the deal, checking legal documents, generating marketing materials, and coordinating the execution process until the transaction closed. Read more


While Cate Yu attended Carnegie Mellon, she worked for CMU Solutions, a pro bono student consulting group that helped local companies and organizations while providing students with real-world experience. As President and Project Lead her senior year, Yu broadened the group’s background by bringing in Creative Writing and Mechanical Engineering majors, driving CMU Solutions’ expansion from purely business consulting to a more diverse organization. Read more 


When Colin Tait enrolled in Carnegie Mellon’s BXA Intercollege Degree Program, he had to study a language. One of his earliest friends on campus posed him a question that, in a way, started him along his career path.

“She asked me, ‘Why do I speak English?’” Tait said. “‘I speak your language, but you don’t speak mine [Arabic].’ I was like, OK, that’s a challenge.”  Read more


As Lucy Truschel began considering colleges, she knew she wanted a medium-sized school in a city. She also knew she loved Pittsburgh, because her parents were from the area and she had family here.

As it turned out for Truschel, who graduated last year with degrees in International Relations and Politics and Psychology, Pittsburgh wasn’t the most influential city during her time at Carnegie Mellon. Read more


As Kellen Carleton began his junior year at Carnegie Mellon, he thought he had his career figured out. Two summers before, he interned with Octagon, one of the world’s largest sports agencies. The summer after that, Carleton, a lifelong hockey player and Pittsburgh sports fan, interned with the Penguins during a playoff run that resulted in the first of two consecutive Stanley Cups. Read more


Susanna Seltzer, who earned a degree in International Relations and Politics from Carnegie Mellon in 2016 and later got a master’s in the same subject, works for Maxar Technologies, a geospatial satellite imaging firm. She and her team assessed the threat of violence at various polling places in Afghanistan and ranked them, then shared that information with US and Afghan security personnel. Read more


After more than four years overseas, Celete Kato was coming home. The America she left in 2014 was not the America to which she returned last year, she said, so she thought she’d ease into it.

“And so I was like, let me bike across the country,” she added. So much for easing into it. Read more


For Emily Feenstra, São Paulo beckoned. She had spent a year and a half there, on and off, investing in education technologies for low- and middle-income families in Latin America. She’d learned Portuguese.

Now the operations were there, and she had a choice: Move to Brazil, or move on? Read more