Alumni Profile: Voice in Non-Proliferation Studies

Authored by:
Nancy Kogin

In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of CIEE's Moscow Business and International Relations program at MGIMO, we checked in with several program alumni to learn what they've been up to since their time in Moscow and asked them to reflect on their experience.

Grace Kier
CIEE Program Term: 
Fall 2018
Home School: College of William and Mary
Major: Government and Global Studies with a concentration in Russian and Post Soviet Studies

When Grace was accepted for an internship at Moscow's PIR Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, she was interested in the field, but admits to not knowing much about it. A year and a half later, Grace is far from a novice in non-proliferation. Having completed a summer internship at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, she went on to launch Big Nuke Energy, "a podcast about young women in nonproliferation." In December her winning essay, "The United States and Russia Must Work Together on Nuclear," was published in Foreign Policy. Grace is currently a senior at the College of William and Mary.

How did your study abroad experience help you get where you are today?

My time at MGIMO with CIEE helped me in several different ways. First, living in Moscow and taking Russian language courses immensely improved my Russian language skills. The ability to apply Russian language to my government coursework has been an incredible asset, and studying Russian in Moscow improved my studies of the language back in the United States.

Second, I was able to intern at a Russian think tank as a part of the CIEE program, an experience which opened my eyes to the field of nuclear nonproliferation. I really enjoyed learning about this field and decided that I wanted to continue to pursue my interest in nonproliferation in the U.S., which led me to an internship at an American think tank. At the U.S. think tank, I started a podcast about young women in nonproliferation, which has been well-received in the field. I would never have realized how much interest I have in this field had it not been for CIEE and my internship.

Finally, my coursework at MGIMO helped me to gain a much better understanding of Russian International Relations theory. In Spring 2019, I won a European Union competition about Ukraine, largely using my knowledge of the U.S.-Russia and EU-Russia relationship. My success in the competition is directly linked to the classes I took at MGIMO. I am so grateful for my experience with CIEE, which allowed me to explore and develop my interests. 

Why did you choose the CIEE Moscow program at MGIMO?

I chose the CIEE Program in Moscow because I wanted to study in Moscow specifically, and I knew that studying at MGIMO would be an interesting experience. 

What was your favorite class at MGIMO?

My favorite class at MGIMO was U.S.-Russia Relations because I was able to learn so much about this evolving relationship. 

Can you give one piece of advice to future CIEE Moscow students?

Put yourself out there and meet as many people (Russians, Americans, and other foreigners) as you can!





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