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Meet Our Alumni

Check out our International Relations Young Alum Career Panels from Spring 2021, hosted by Dr. Mary M. McCarthy, to catch up with some of our alumni and hear tips for after graduation!

Our February 18, 2021 career panel featured Drake grads Lauren Goetze, 2019; Kate Kemper, 2017; Dr. Sheng Peng, 2011; and Daniel Van Sant, JD, 2011.

Our March 9, 2021 career panel featured Drake grads Jay Benson, 2010; Cherri Cathi, 2013; Emma Muth, 2019; and Manisha Paudel, 2009.


Read the stories of more Political Science alumni below!  We're proud of our grads!


Jill Morehead, 2000

Major in International Relations

After graduating from Drake, Jill received an M.A. in Sustainable Development from the school for International Training.‌

She currently works for Mercy Corps as Team Leader for a Strategic Responses and Global Emergencies Team.  Previously, she served in the Peace Corps and has worked for The Services Corps, Crisis Corps, AmeriCares, and the United Nations Development Program.  Her work has taken her to disaster and crisis areas around the world.

Of her Drake education, Jill says: "Studying International Relations at Drake University set me up for a successful international career from the start. I focused on Latin American history and politics and then volunteered for Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Crisis Corps four years later in El Salvador. I also met my best friend at Drake nearly 20 years ago; some of the best experiences of my life happened at Drake."

Owen McMullen, 2009Photo of Ambassador Johnie Carson and Owen McMullen

Major in Politics

I graduated from Drake in 2009 as a Politics and History double major and took advantage of Drake’s Teach in China Program to teach English at Guangxi Normal University in Guilin, China. After China, I served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Turkmenistan and later Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Kazakhstan. With Peace Corps Kazakhstan’s program abruptly shut down in late 2011, I found work in neighboring Kyrgyzstan where I spent a year working with the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia teaching Legal English to law professors and students at the Kyrgyz State Law Academy in Bishkek. I moonlighted as a copy editor of the Times of Central Asia and traveled extensively around the region. In 2013, I spent a year in Odessa, Ukraine, teaching English and studying Russian before returning to America for graduate school at Washington State University. In 2015, I received a Master in Teaching from WSU and again set off overseas, this time as a high school social studies teacher at Khartoum American School in Khartoum, Sudan where I have been ever since.

Since graduating from Drake, I have frequently run into Drake grads in the most remote places. For some reason, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan was a hotbed for ex-bulldogs, as I met up with six different Drake alumni who were based there.

Finally, I was in the middle of an 11th grade African Studies lecture on World War Two, when I was informed that Ambassador Carson was visiting our school as part of a State Department visit. Drake grads really are everywhere! I look forward to future Drake connections in far-flung places in the future.

Samantha Thomas, 2011

Major in International Relations

Samantha L. Thomas is the Founder and Executive Director of Global Arts Therapy, an international nonprofit organization that is committed to embracing creativity for sustainable innovation. In 2019 Ms. Thomas was the recipient of 3 awards from Sigma Xi and the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her leadership in interdisciplinary scientific innovation and communication. In 2020 Ms. Thomas received a dual master’s degree in the fields of applied science and global public health from Johns Hopkins University. With a passion for interdisciplinary research, Ms. Thomas incorporates a variety of scientific principles and practices in her projects that reduce poverty and inequality in public health.

Courtney Rickert McCaffrey, 2004

Majors in both Politics and IR (minors in Economics and Spanish)

After her graduation from Drake, Courtney received an MA in 2008 in International Relations and International Economics from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

She currently works at A.T. Kearney as an Associate in their Global Business Policy Council (GBPC) (http://www.atkearney.com/gbpc/about), an applied think tank that produces thought leadership on global trends as they relate to the business environment. Her work includes analysis of political risk issues as well as a broader range of social and economic issues.

Of her Drake education, Courtney says: I appreciate the high quality of the education that I received at Drake and all of the great people that I met while I was a student there. In particular, I was able to really get to know my professors and they were able to get to know me as well, providing the basis for valuable relationships that have lasted long past graduation. In addition, Drake's attention to teaching practical knowledge and skills that translate well into a professional setting, rather than focusing exclusively on a more theoretical understanding of concepts, has helped me immensely in my career."

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