by Margaux Fontaine
Christina Huntzinger (LAS’20), Luis Garzon-Negreiros (MSFS/MBA’20), and Matthew Tibbitts (MSFS’20) have been selected for the 2019 cohort of the Wallenberg International Fellows Program, a two-part program that includes a semester of coursework and a summer internship in Stockholm along with mentorship and professional growth opportunities.
The Wallenberg Fellows program is a partnership between the School of Foreign Service and the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) funded by a grant from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation. Three graduate students from Georgetown and three from the Stockholm School of Economics are chosen for the program each year. The students from Georgetown must be master’s students who have first gained entry to the the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy.
There have been four cohorts of SFS students in the program since it began in 2015. The three Georgetown students chosen for the fifth cohort this year contribute an impressive and diverse range of interests and experiences.
“The mission of the Wallenberg International Fellows Program is to prepare highly qualified master-level students with the knowledge and skills to serve as the leaders of international businesses as well as public and private organizations around the globe,” says Dr. Theodore Moran, Director of the Landegger Program. “Our first four cohorts have set a high standard and are well on their way to fulfilling that mission. Based on my conversations with the incoming cohort during the selection process, I am confident that they will not only meet those expectations but continue to raise the bar in terms of what it means to be a Wallenberg Fellow.”
Christina Huntzinger (LAS’20)
Hailing from San Carlos, California, Christina Huntzinger’s upbringing in Silicon Valley helped shape her interest in the intersection of technology and international affairs.
Huntzinger studied Spanish at St. Olaf College, with minors in linguistics and film studies. She chose Georgetown for graduate school for the access to incredible scholars, diplomats, and experts in foreign policy it provides. “I also really appreciate Georgetown’s proximity to D.C.’s international policy community,” she says.
The Latin American Studies program in particular interested her for its multidisciplinary nature, allowing her to gain an in-depth understanding of Latin American history, politics, and current affairs. “Understanding one region in depth allows me to better understand the world as a whole,” she says. Aside from spending time with her “CLASmates,” Huntzinger also appreciates forming connections with peers across the SFS graduate programs.
After Georgetown, Huntzinger hopes to work in government relations and public policy, specifically for companies with operations in Latin America. Having worked in Costa Rica amidst the rise of social media and mobile technology, Huntzinger began to recognize internet and data policy as significant issues of international affairs and human rights. She has since sought to explore the disparate effect that tech giants have on the Global North versus the Global South and the role that governments play in shaping digital societies.
Huntzinger was drawn to the Wallenberg Fellows program for its mentorship opportunities, along with the opportunity to intern with a multinational company. She looks forward to learning more about the digital landscape of Sweden and drawing connections to Latin America. On a personal level, she is also excited about the cohort experience in Stockholm and D.C. with her new peers from SFS and SSE. “It’s quite unique to be part of an exchange program as a graduate student,” she says.
Luis Garzon-Negreiros (MSFS/MBA’20)
Luis Garzon-Negreiros is the first Georgetown MBA candidate to become a Wallenberg Fellow. Originally from Lima, Peru, Garzon-Negreiros grew up all across the world, living in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Bolivia, El Salvador, and Boston, Mass.
For his bachelor’s degree, Garzon-Negreiros studied global affairs at George Mason University with a minor in Latin American studies. Having benefited from a Catholic education during his formative years, Garzon-Negreiros chose to continue his studies at Georgetown because he felt it was a school he could “relate to,” with both its Jesuit heritage and global outlook.
“[Georgetown] is deeply rooted in the fabric of Washington, D.C., embraces the spirit of internationalism, and has a strong global presence through its alumni of dynamic people who want to change the world,” he says.
At Georgetown, Garzon-Negreiros is pursuing a dual MSFS/MBA degree, which he says will provide him with the tools he needs to “move between the different worlds” of policy and business. An aspiring international financier, he hopes for his career in finance to include working with international clients, especially foreign governments and international business people. “I hope to leverage this background to also promote progress in the developing world,” he says. Garzon-Negreiros also hopes to start a non-profit or foundation focused on international development in some capacity.
“What I am striving for is a work of a lifetime, and an MBA/MSFS will give me that start,” Garzon-Negreiros says.
It is this same desire to gain a multi-dimensional education that interested Garzon-Negreiros in the Wallenberg International Fellows Program. “Leaders need to understand how challenges and solutions interconnect, and appreciate how talented people from the public, private, and non-profit sector can bring their unique strengths,” he says. “I firmly believe that being in the WIFP program will help me evolve further in becoming that leader who can move between different worlds.”
Garzon-Negreiros is most excited about his upcoming experience in Sweden, where he will not only get to work on a rewarding internship, but will also provide him with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Swedish culture and politics.
“I also want to learn more about how the Wallenberg family have been able to create businesses of enduring value over the course of several generations, as much as I want to learn about Sweden, and Scandinavia more broadly,” Garzon-Negreiros says.
Matthew Tibbitts (MSFS’20)
Matthew Tibbitts grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, and attended the University of Scranton on a Presidential Scholarship, where he majored in health administration and minored in business and economics.
Tibbitts had never traveled outside of the United States before graduating from Scranton, but a Fulbright grant propelled him to to the other side of the world to teach English in Malaysia, which he describes as a life-altering experience. Initially interested in health administration, his aspirations began to take on a more international focus. “It was a transformative year,” he says. After his time in Malaysia, Matthew went on to teach English in Chile and then worked for an NGO in Honduras.
“My perspectives and values were changed for the better and it led me to pursue further international immersion,” he says.
Continuing to chart an international path, Tibbitts chose MSFS for graduate school for several reasons, including Georgetown’s location in D.C. and the numerous opportunities found on campus. “It seems like every day there are talks, workshops, new groups being formed—an endless stream of resources for students to utilize and occasions to network,” he says. He also appreciates the emphasis on service that Georgetown’s Jesuit identity provides.
Tibbitts was interested in the Wallenberg Fellows program for its access to mentorship and professional growth opportunities. “I wanted to gain more private sector experience and continue expanding my reach as a global citizen to a different part of the world,” he says. He is most looking forward to his upcoming summer in Sweden—”to live in a new place, adjust to cultural differences, and try to pick up some of the language,” he explains. He also looks forward to engaging with the other fellows from the U.S. and Sweden and learning from his colleagues.
After Georgetown, Tibbitts hopes to work in international development, whether with a development bank, working for a small private organization, or becoming an entrepreneur in the field.