International Affairs / Policy Studies
B.A., June 2011, Magna cum Laude
Home College: City
Faculty Mentors: Profs. Marina Fernando,International Studies, City College and Vince Boudreau, Political Science, City College/CUNY Graduate Center
Collin Powell Fellow
Harriet Brows Scholarship for Social Change
International Study Abroad Scholarship
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
Michelle Muita writes, “I have a passion for international affairs, specifically for government policies concerning women in the developing world. Since my freshman year in college, I have volunteered and interned at various non-profit organizations. These experiences helped me to identify my interests and strengthened my professional and personal skills for use in the future.”
For her areas, Muita took courses at City and Hunter, including Political Economy, Public Policy, Comparative Politics and International Law, and participated in the Model U.N. With her mentor, Prof. Fernando, she produced an independent research paper on post-conflict violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also worked with Prof. Boudreau on a policy paper entitled Executive Decision-Making and the Global Gag Rule, which examined the lack of effectiveness of U.S. foreign family planning.
Muita interned in five different institutions gaining professional experience and learning about global challenges. She has been working with a wide variety of issues, from African immigration and international food poverty to human rights and peace and security. During her study abroad in France, funded in part with a CUNY BA grant, Muita taught English to underprivileged children from a low income neighborhood in Paris. Spending a summer in her native Kenya, she worked for the U.N. Environmental Program. Currently, she interns at the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think-tank focused on international relations. She recently shared her expertise with fellow students as a panelist at the CUNY BA Workshop on Internships and International Affairs.
Recommending Muita for the Smith Fellowship, Prof. Fernando described her as one of a “new generation of African women – fiercely independent…demanding new progressive norms of tolerance and accountability in the society…and confident in the ability to create positive change. In the classroom, working for nongovernmental organizations, providing humanitarian assistance, or in the high level world of diplomacy, Muita lives up to the challenge, demonstrating high-level professionalism and a solid academic training.”
Muita says, “The clear benefits and independent nature of CUNY BA have helped me identify different career options.” At present, she says she is leaning towards obtaining a professional degree in International Political Economics or International Human Rights. In the fall she will take the GRE but plans to work a few years in an international capacity before enrolling in graduate school to gain skills and expertise in policy analysis and program management. She adds, “As a Kenyan female, I come from a country where women’s rights are often overlooked. In the future, I see myself actively involved in my community, contributing to social change and pushing for fair policies. My interdisciplinary education and experiences outside the classroom definitely fuel my passion for advocating for women’s and children’s rights.”