Meet the New MIS International Students!

Four MIS International Students

Left to right: Lena Mikhaylova, Amidu Kalokoh, Alisha Amin, Valerie Wehiong-Batta

The Master of International Studies welcomes 15 new students this fall, including several teachers who have worked both here in the United States and abroad, two military officers, and five from other countries, including a Fulbright awardee. Four of the international students share their story on how they ended up at NC State and what they plan to do with their degree.

Alisha Amin is from Dhaka, Bangladesh. She completed her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Dhaka. “Initially, I heard about NC State from my friend who is studying here as well. As I explored the graduate school, the MIS degree interested me because of its multidisciplinary approach and for its dynamic nature.”

Alisha is still deciding on her career path but knows this degree is perfect for her, as she can choose to specialize in a number of fields. She hopes to work in the development sector in the future. She looks forward to where this program will take her.


Amidu Kalokoh is from Sierra Leone, West Africa. He completed his undergraduate degree with honors in Peace and Conflict Studies from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He will soon receive a master’s degree in Strategic Security and Development Studies from the same university, having successfully completed his coursework. Amidu has experience working with non-profit organizations and in Sierra Leone’s security sector as an analyst. He loves volunteering, is enthusiastic about reaching out to the needy, and is a solution-seeking individual.

His motivation to study at NC State is derived from his urge to deepen his knowledge on global systems; how their dynamic impact affects state relations and the developing world, and to enhance his contribution to affect positive transformation in the Global South for sustainable development.

“NC State is a true representation of the global community with great diversity in nationality, race, religion, gender and more. It holds the answers to society differences. Its competitive coursework that is encouraged by the professors and its research focus makes it the home of learning. The international welcome events give one a great deal of experience of how great life is at the University and the State.”


Lena Mikhaylova is from Russia and graduated from Novgorod State University. Her degree is one of a specialist – a five-year Russian university education, which falls between a bachelor and master’s degree. She is a specialist in linguistics and translation (Swedish and English). Lena started working in Swedish and English translation during her fourth year at Novgorod State. She then started teaching and collaborating with Finnish and Swedish schools.

“I speak Swedish and English fluently. I can survive and actually thrive in the former Yugoslavian countries with my Serbian background and make people in Bucharest laugh with my Romanian background (although I haven’t seen anyone even smiling but I’m pretty sure they do when I don’t look).”

As a first year MIS student, she has some ideas on what she wants to do (international organizations and sustainable development) but is still open to some new ideas and inspirations. She is hoping to make her skills applicable for something bigger than what she has ever done. “In the future, I want to join an international organization that is focused on social challenges that would take some game changing actions, along with the other bookworms out there.”


Valerie Wehiong-Batta is from Cameroon. She is a mother, a wife and an engaged citizen. “My first MA in Administrative Science from the University of Konstanz – Germany is “outdated” and is older than my child who is now a senior in college. My second MA is in the area of Dispute Resolution is from SMU – Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.” She has worked internationally in the field of knowledge transfer and cooperation and has lived in several countries in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. She took a break from professional life to start a family and raised four amazing children.

Valerie is looking forward to the MIS program to embrace the world again. In addition, she is a professional mediator, does culture and diversity training here on campus and in many other places. She is fluent in French and German, as well as her native Cameroonian dialects. She enjoys time with her friends and family, and occasionally writes or presents about her different experiences as an immigrant with multiple identities.

The strength of the MIS Program at NC State caught her eye. She likes the “Think and Do the Extraordinary” attitude. “We do not brag too much here. We are known for what we do, not what we say.” She hopes to have a fresh career start in the field, so that she can apply what she has learned to the day-to-day reality.

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