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Pursuing International Politics

August 15, 2017

UMD's Kalyan Downer-Carlson investigates foreign relations.

UMD political science major Kalyan Downer-Carlson passed dozens of flags representing countries around the world as she entered the United Nations complex in New York City. She saw delegates, who were dressed in traditional clothing, speaking languages she had never before encountered. As an invited guest, she sat in on meetings with her fellow students and networked with experts in her field. Kalyan had the honor of being one of the very few undergraduates chosen for the exclusive United Nations intensive summer program at Seton Hall University. Most of the people in 42-person class were graduate students or young people early in their careers.

Kalyan Downer-Carlson took part in the United Nations intensive summer program at Seton Hall University

Kalyan Downer-Carlson took part in the United Nations intensive summer program at Seton Hall University

Kalyan held her own and had a great experience. She learned about the UN Security Council's P5+1 committee made up of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany.  “I thought it was really cool when we got to sit in on their UN meeting about counter terrorism.  I realized how much influence the P5 has on the world,” Kalyan says.

“Everything changes when we look at issues from a global perspective,” she says. “The Seton Hall program takes people out of their small box and makes them see other points of view, and not just from a U.S. perspective.”

Kalyan is diving into international politics. At UMD, her global focus inspired an independent study research project on the treatment of prisoners in detention centers in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

“When my project was completed, I felt like I barely scratched the surface,” she says. “It was hard to keep it narrow and focused because there are so many interconnected things.”  

For one of the first times, Kalyan was encouraged to follow her own path. “It was so cool, though, because my professor, Dr. Caprioli, asked me, ‘What are you interested in?’ That meant I got to really study something that I wanted to learn more about.”

“We have a very strong department here and I think that’s what I appreciate most about UMD,” says Kalyan.  “I’ve had so many great professors.”

Kalyan is from Roseville, Minn. and will graduate from UMD in December 2017.  She plans to take the LSAT in September with hopes of getting into law school this coming year. Her dream job is to work in the field of constitutional law.

About the Department of Political Science

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