Political science senior Wesley Jefferies was advertising his English tutoring services when he fielded the request of an unusual patron. The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C., contacted Jefferies and tasked him with serving as a tutor and mentor for the Saudi royal family.
The Arizona State University student originally intended to become a business lawyer after spending several years in real estate since high school, but his new benefactors instead advised him to study political science after reading one of his writing samples.
Throughout his undergraduate career, Jefferies has participated in unique research, leadership, and work-learning opportunities available to students of political science with the goal of pursuing graduate study in international relations.
ASU provides more than 1,000 clubs and organizations for students to become engaged leaders. Jefferies joined Model UN at ASU and attended the Model UN conference in San Francisco, where he represented Chile. Jefferies has since helped organize two high school Model UN conferences that ASU hosts every year.
“These experiences helped me understand some of the dynamics of coalition-building, parliamentary procedure, and the importance of doing your homework and thinking on your feet in political situations,” Jefferies said.
Jefferies has published articles on geopolitics in Eastern Europe and the Middle East in the Global Affairs Theoretical and Empirical Journal (GATE), an ASU student publication dedicated to publishing peer-reviewed research articles on global issues.
“It was my first experience with publishing and I learned a great deal about the editing and revision process that comes with writing for a more general audience rather than just one’s professor,” Jefferies said.
With support from his faculty mentors at the Center on the Future of War, Jefferies received scholarship awards from the Hertog Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute Honors Program, which allowed him to study with recognized experts and practitioners in the fields of foreign affairs, national security, and domestic politics in private seminar settings in Washington, D.C.
“After my time at Hertog and AEI, they both invited me back to attend more intense and in-depth summer programs, among them a course on war and decision-making taught by Fred Kagan, one of the intellectual architects behind the ‘Surge’ in the Iraq War," Jefferies said.
This year, Jefferies participated as a student researcher at the Center on the Future of War, which links ASU to its partner New America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank and civic engagement institution. The center hosts annual student researchers who work with affiliated faculty and Future of War Fellows on a variety of book projects and research on emerging military technologies, security in the Middle East, and more. Jefferies has been working with David Kilcullen, ASU Future of War Senior Fellow and internationally renowned counterinsurgency expert, on projects relating to Russian intervention and interference in Eastern Europe.
In April, Jefferies attended the annual Future of War Conference in Washington, D.C., and had the opportunity to talk with former ambassadors, senior military leaders and war correspondents. This summer, Jefferies will pursue a paid internship with the International Security Program at New America, an opportunity presented to him through his involvement with the Center on the Future of War.
As an aspiring foreign policy professional, Jefferies envisions himself continuing down a career in think tanks and government service.
“The experiences, connections, and opportunities I’ve had throughout my time at ASU and the School of Politics and Global Studies have prepared me for graduate school by giving me a sense of direction in my life and where I fit in the world,” Jefferies said.
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