ASU student inspired by US affairs conference at West Point


Matt Oxford

Mia Armstrong is a sophomore at ASU majoring in global studies and journalism. With the assistance of the Global Studies Travel Grant offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies (SPGS), Armstrong was able to attend a student conference on U.S. affairs at West Point. After her trip, Armstrong took the time to provide a recap of her experiences:

Question: What was it like to participate in this conference?

Answer: The conference was a wonderful experience. It gave me the opportunity to collaborate with students from around the country and West Point cadets in roundtable discussions that culminated in a policy proposal paper and a presentation. I was on the security roundtable, where we discussed civilian-military relations. In addition, I heard from a number of impressive guest speakers including Margaret Huang and Richard Haass.

Q: What were your takeaways from your participation?

A: We had two days to discuss a serious policy issue and draft a policy proposal paper, so I learned a lot about maintaining momentum and fresh ideas in group discussions. Additionally, the conference gave me a chance to learn how to move somewhat abstract policy discussions into concrete solutions. Finally, I learned a lot about how civilians and the military can work together to confront issues related to foreign affairs

Q: If someone was interested in an experience such as this, what advice would you give them?

A: I would encourage other students, especially those interested in foreign policy, to learn more about civilian-military relations. I also think that in conference settings, it's important to not discount the fact that you have unique perspective and experiences to contribute to the conversation — don't undercut yourself.

What's next

After graduation, Armstrong hopes to work as a foreign correspondent. She is also considering a career path that combines her passions of international law, criminal justice and human rights.

“I'm really thankful to SPGS for enabling me to go to this conference,” shared Armstrong. “I'm not exaggerating when I say it was a life-changing experience!”