Amazing Students

Jenna Ziesenhene

With sights set on on a career in diplomacy and national/international security, Honors student Jenna Ziesenhene realizes the value of experience. The UGA Washington Semester Program allowed her to serve as an intern in the White House in spring 2010, and she’s also interned at the U.S. Department of Defense (summer 2010) and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. (summer 2009). Jenna will receive a B.A. degree in International Affairs and B.S. degree in Psychology in spring 2011.

Hometown:

Warner Robins, Ga.

High School:

Warner Robins High School

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

My experience at UGA has been filled with incredible opportunities. I participated in a Globis study abroad program in South Africa during summer 2008, and I also was selected for the spring 2010 UGA Washington Semester Program. It was an honor to spend my semester serving as a White House Intern, which undoubtedly was the most amazing experience of my college career (and the first 21 years of my life). Following my internship at the White House, I did a summer internship for the U.S. Department of Defense in the White House Liaison Office at the Pentagon. Prior to these internships in Washington, I worked as an intern for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. during summer 2009.

Not only have I been privileged to enjoy such unique and exciting opportunities away from Athens, but I've also been involved with numerous organizations on campus since I entered UGA as an Honors Program student and recipient of the Charter Scholarship. In addition, I work with AIDS Walk/Run Athens, a student-led nonprofit organization that promotes HIV/AIDS awareness in the Athens community and raises money for local organizations through an annual 5k walk/run and other fundraising events. My involvement with the group began my freshman year, and I have served as treasurer and an executive board member since 2008.  I also have been an active member of Sigma Delta Tau, Promote Africa, Better World Books, and Sigma Iota Rho, and I have worked with Building Friendship Frontiers and UGA Young Democrats in previous years. In January 2009, I founded the UGA Grand Strategy Research Group with four other undergraduate students under the leadership of Dr. Brock Tessman. With the founding members, I coauthored a paper I later presented at the 2009 International Studies Association – South conference. This paper also was selected for presentation at the 2010 Southern Political Science Association Conference. Additionally, I coauthored a second paper that was presented at the 2010 Midwest Political Science Association National Conference and the 2010 CURO Symposium at UGA. I currently serve as a Globis Undergraduate Research Fellow and was selected to receive the Globis Undergraduate Research Award for my work with this group.

Family Ties to UGA:

I definitely was born a Bulldawg. My mom and dad graduated from the University of Georgia, as well as two of my grandparents, an aunt, a great aunt and an uncle.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…of the well-rounded college experience it offers. The HOPE Scholarship presents a unique chance to obtain a great education while avoiding the burden of student loans, and the Honors Program provides truly incredible academic and undergraduate research opportunities.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…relax and read by the fountain on Herty Field and meet my friends for lunch on North Campus when the weather is gorgeous. I love people watching at the Miller Learning Center and checking out all the activities and organizations on Tate Plaza. Tailgating before football games and cheering on the Dawgs, especially at night games in Sanford Stadium, is the best way to spend a Saturday in Athens.

When I have free time, I like…

… to enjoy a sunny afternoon at the Botanical Garden, go to a yoga class at Rubber Soul or catch a show downtown. Athens is full of local culture that continues to interest and entertain me every year. I’m also a serious foodie, so my best friends and I love trying new recipes and cooking delicious meals.

The craziest thing I've done is…

… has surely yet to happen, but a few experiences that come close include petting a cheetah and riding a four wheeler on a safari in South Africa, as well as attending the largest dance party in North America with more than 100,000 people in Los Angeles during summer 2009.

My favorite place to study is…

…in the comfort of my own home. After living in a dorm and then an apartment, constantly shifting from study room to MLC to the library, I’m now so grateful to have the luxury of living in a cozy house. I’m easily distracted and extremely social, so I work best while sitting on my back porch when the sun is shining or by the fireplace in winter.

My favorite professor is…

…Dr. Brock Tessman. The two international affairs classes I took with Dr. Tessman have been my favorite courses at UGA because of his engaging and insightful teaching style. I also have been lucky to work with him on my independent research. Dr. Tessman’s enthusiastic dedication to teaching and learning is apparent, and his genuine concern for students and their success is admirable. Under his guidance, four other undergraduates and I founded the UGA Grand Strategy Research Group in January 2009. My involvement with this group has enabled me to vastly expand my knowledge through historically-grounded research, and our work has influenced the way I approach a wide range of topics, such as international relations, foreign policy, national security and economics, among other issues.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

…anyone living or dead, I would love to share it with Mahatma Gandhi, because he pioneered the use of non-violence as a political tool to improve civil rights and freedom, thus inspiring many brilliant leaders whom I admire, such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama.

After graduation, I plan to…

… spend a few years working abroad or in Washington, D.C. to gain experience before attending graduate school. I am going to pursue a career in diplomacy and national/international security.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…my semester in Washington. My internship at the White House and the UGA Washington Semester Program exposed me to some extraordinary people and things and provided me with countless experiences that have shaped my life.

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