Alumni Spotlight | Emma Campbell-Mohn '16
Emma and Hannah Barton at a DC alumni event.
In the AGS Alumni Spotlight, we have Emma Campbell-Mohn, Class of 2016!
Graduation Year: 2016
Degree: Political Science and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Chinese)
Other activities while at Duke: Duke Alexander Hamilton Society, Duke Chapel Scholars, Duke Presbyterian Campus Ministry, and ATLAS
Q. Tell us a little about yourself...what you do now, what you’ve done since graduating.
A. After graduating from Duke two years ago, I moved to Beijing with the Schwarzman Scholars Program to pursue a Masters degree at Tsinghua University. At Tsinghua, I studied Global Affairs, culminating in a Masters thesis on U.S.-China cyber relations.
After the Schwarzman Scholars Program, I returned to the US and joined the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, which is the public policy, corporate strategy and social impact research unit within Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research.
A highlight of postgrad life has been keeping in close contact with friends from the AGS Program, including meets-up in Beijing, New York, and DC. In fact, two other AGS alumni (Tara Mooney and Emily Hadley) and I run a charity called "Seeing Higher," which helps rural high school students in North Carolina to visit college campuses.
Q. In what ways did AGS impact your goals, current profession, etc.? How did AGS prepare you to enter the “real world”?
A. The people the program attracts, whether the professors, staff members, or students, continue to inspire me and serve as both mentors and friends. When making important decisions, I reflect on Professor Peter Feaver's advice and guidance. Additionally, I learned important soft skills, such as leadership, communication, and team management at AGS through its unique activities ranging from working on a group project on the ethics on enhanced interrogation or working on AGS' first international staff ride.
Q. Looking back on your time at Duke and with AGS, what would you say was the most valuable lesson you learned?
A. One of the key lessons I learned was to say "yes" and be bold in exploring new opportunities. At an AGS reception during my first-year, I was nervous about approaching the speaker, but, much to my chagrin, Peter found me and forced to me to go introduce myself. It is that kind of encouragement to take initiative and be bold that has helped me launch my professional career. AGS is an excellent training ground for students to develop skills for the professional world.
Q. Did you meet anyone during your time at AGS who deeply inspired you? Tell us about them and what about their life impacted you.
A. Yes, and the list is far too many people to recall here. Professors Peter Feaver, Tim Nichols, Charles Dunlap, and Kyle Beardsley are a few of the incredible mentors from the AGS program. A common theme among people who inspired me was their character and motivations for public service or the study of international relations. AGS not only teaches students about world affairs but also explains why students should want to deviate from the traditional pre-professional paths. Another unique aspect of the program is the participation of the Army War College Fellows and military doctoral students, including LTCs Jaron Wharton, Pat Howell, and Bryan Groves. These people showed us the impact of ideas that were debated in the classroom.
Q. Do you wish there was anything you could go back and change about your time at Duke or with AGS? What would you do differently if you had another chance?
A. I would have gotten a subscription to Foreign Policy earlier! As simple as it sounds, reading and staying in touch with the world outside of the classroom -- beyond required readings -- was incredibly useful. I believe I purchased one around the beginning of my sophomore year and the upside was huge. The earlier students find ways to connect to DC, the better. Around my junior year, I signed up for CFR and a couple of think tanks researcher. This too was very helpful for AGS and knowing the hot topics and players in DC. I would also encourage students to take risks and be bold. I remember when I used to feel nervous about submitting an article to an external publication, but it was taking advantage of those types of opportunities that gave me the skills and experience to succeed in my current role.
Q. Do you have advice or inspiration to offer current AGS students?
A. Make friends and take advantage of all the opportunities AGS has to offer. As corny as "make friends" sounds, my peers have been incredibly important to me, even years after graduating. AGS brings together a large group of smart, dedicated people, so take advantage of it! Additionally, be sure to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities AGS has to offer. I never regretted going to an AGS event, even if it meant a late night in the library afterwards.