Rachel Azafrani Reflects on What SFS has to Offer


Azafrani being interviewed on Liberia’s national radio about the app she launched in Liberia supporting youth in development.

Rachel Azafrani
SFS, Class of 2017, International Political Economy
Manhattan Beach, California
Language: French
Study Abroad: Lyon, France
On-Campus Activities:
Georgetown Scholarship Program Student Board, Chapel Choir, Hilltop Microfinance Initiative, Model UN Staff, GDISC Conference Staff, DPE Foreign Service Sorority,
SFS Front Desk
Off-Campus Activities:
Launched mobile app in Liberia supporting youth in development
Internship at U.S. Department of State Virtual Student Foreign Service
Accenture Internship
Geocoder, AidData
May 11, 2017 by Matthew Raab

For Rachel Azafrani (SFS’17), the School of Foreign Service means exploration, opportunity, and access.

Don’t be afraid to create. Make a space for yourself,” Azafrani said. “Whether it’s studying abroad or designing an original project, it’s not an easy choice to do something uncertain, but it will often lead to some of the most unique, rewarding experiences you could imagine.”

Azafrani’s memorable experiences throughout her four years at Georgetown include work launching a mobile app for youth development in Liberia, time at the U.S. Department of State Virtual Student Foreign Service, and volunteering as a humanitarian open-source mapper. Her time at SFS fostered an interest in international development, where she was exposed to many of the ideas that she hopes to work with after graduation.

“I started out as an aspiring environmental scientist/mathematician/biologist hybrid that wanted to be a policymaker,” she said. “I realized that I was interested in international development and became fascinated with the use of technology in government. I am now invested in breaking molds through technology in the public sector in both the U.S. and abroad.”

Azafrani (third from right) on a ski trip in the French Alps that Georgetown organized for her study abroad cohort.

On the Hilltop, Azafrani took advantage of a variety of resources and experiences available to students, including productive connections with faculty.

“Professor Vreeland is an inspiration and has an infectious love for research. He has always been there to support my endeavors and has tremendous faith in every Georgetown student,” she said. “Dr. Glavin is another mentor of mine who has changed the way I think about thinking, and I will always be grateful to him for the way he challenged me to do something different with my time at Georgetown.”

Her favorite class, however, doesn’t quite fall into the international development field.

“This may sound weird, but Death & Afterlife with Professor Phan was amazing – first of all, Professor Phan is a fantastic lecturer, but more importantly, through our study of how different religions and cultures perceive the afterlife, we began to uncover the meaning of life–you should take the class and find out,” Azafrani said.

After graduation, Azafrani will move on to the tech world, with her sights also set on furthering her education.

“I’m excited to be working in technology after graduation, and I’m considering studying law in a few years at the intersection of tech, cyber, and international affairs,” she said.

For now, she is spending her last weeks on the Hilltop enjoying all DC has to offer, from the late night monument runs to the cosmopolitan food scene. Most importantly, though, she highlights the importance of the people and opportunities that surround her at SFS.

“I will truly miss how many connections and opportunities seem to fall in your lap because of the people that Georgetown attracts,” Azafrani said. “Once-in-a-lifetime chances seem to come by so often here – I have found wonderful friends, met brilliant professors, and gotten to work with world leaders, and feel that those opportunities are there for the taking for every SFSer.”