Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Student Spotlight: Will Conway ‘15, Aida Palma ‘16, and Alisa Schubert Yuasa ‘15

Names: Will Conway ‘15, Aida Palma ‘16, and Alisa Schubert Yuasa ‘15

Hometown: Studio City CA; Elgin IL; Tokyo, Japan

Concentration: International Relations

What is NAFAC? The Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference is an annual conference hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy in April and brings together undergraduates from around the United States and the world to discuss a theme from current global affairs. NAFAC 2015’s theme was “Sustainability and Sovereignty: Global Security in a Resource-Strained World”.

What would you consider your biggest takeaway?

Will Conway: NAFAC was an excellent opportunity for me to engage in meaningful discussion with some of the brightest university students. My peers challenged me to explore and develop comprehensive solutions to pressing real-world problems, while Brown University equipped me with the tools and skills to contribute effectively. Members of the military provided a unique perspective that is often not considered amongst the academic community.

Aida Palma: NAFAC was a really rewarding experience that allowed me to engage in an academic dialogue with other students and professionals about a topic that is the major focus in my study of IR. The participants were not only well prepared to discuss the topics, but were also not afraid to challenge conventional understandings of it. Having the security perspective from the armed forces delegates and professional also added a new perspective that I wouldn't have been able to get anywhere else.

Alisa Schubert Yuasa: My biggest takeaway was learning about the lives of the midshipmen. I was allowed to glimpse a totally different layer of US culture and society, compared to the liberal academic bubble that I have lived in for the past 4 years. I had the luck of meeting extremely fascinating individuals during my time at NAFAC – from a man who backpacked in India to one who challenged the Navy’s definition of leadership – and experienced an amount of personal learning through dialogue that I have not had in quite a while.