When Malen was an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University, she studied International Relations with a focus on Brazil. She always had a passion and fascination for understanding the world around her through culture, history, and politics. But, understanding just Brazil was not enough for her; she wanted an engaging curriculum that encompassed various aspects of the international system ranging from international law to conflict resolution. Malen knew that Johns Hopkins SAIS was a perfect fit for her, offering a global perspective on a variety of issues.
The opportunity to earn a bachelors and masters degree in five years through Johns Hopkins has been a major benefit to Malen for a number of reasons, particularly that it applies her undergraduate knowledge and energy to her graduate studies.
So far, her experience at Johns Hopkins SAIS has been indescribable. The experiences she has enjoyed would not have been possible if it were not for the school. Even though she is in the Conflict Management program, she has had the chance to take courses in other areas such as Strategic Studies and International Law. The knowledge and experiences from her professors has also greatly contributed to her experience.
Malen has also found her experiences outside the classroom to be a very valuable part of her education such as a study trip she took with the Conflict Management program to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Sarajevo, she could see the remnants of the war on many of the buildings. Every day she and her classmates visited different organizations that dealt with issues involving the Srebrenica genocide, such as the European Union, the United Nations, local courts, embassies, and even the mothers of those who lost family members during the conflict. She also visited the site of the genocide, the museum, and the memorial. Hearing a first-hand account of a woman who lost her father and brother left the entire room quiet and in tears; Malen spent the remainder of the day reflecting on what she heard. Visiting this country with the benefit of her studies beforehand was a once in a lifetime experience. The trip was one that she will never forget.
The courses Malen has taken through the Conflict Management program have continued to provide her with a unique perspective on how to approach law, understand different mediation techniques, and interpret actors within conflict. After graduating, she is planning to apply her education by working in research for a year and then attend law school. Regardless of whether her graduate studies are directly applicable to her chosen field of law, Malen knows for sure that she is better equipped with knowledge she would not have been able to acquire elsewhere on international relations, which is so necessary, now more than ever.