Mariya Ilyas is a graduate student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she is pursuing a Master of Arts in international security and global maritime studies. She was born in Pakistan and moved to Alexandria, VA with her family at age eight. Growing up in two cultures had a profound impact on her desire to pursue a career in international relations. As a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow, she will pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a U.S. diplomat after completing her master’s degree. Prior to Fletcher, she worked in both the public and private sectors: teaching English in Antalya, Turkey as a Fulbright Fellow, serving at The White House and the U.S. Department of State, and working for a fortune-100 insurance company in Boston. Mariya graduated in 2013 from Bowdoin College, where she majored in mathematics and sociology and minored in government. She enjoys blogging, baking, and befriending new people.