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Alumni Stories

Political Science Alumni Stories – Denise Thrift

Denise Thrift is a graduate of Mars Hill University in Asheville, NC, where she obtained degrees in political science and international studies. Those endeavors have led her to studying peace and conflict resolution, which she is going to obtain a master’s for in the coming years. In addition, she is learning Hebrew and Arabic in her free time. She is excited to continue her lifelong quest for knowledge and to become a better leader, advocate, and listener. Denise recently accepted a position with the United States Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C. The organization specializes in working to resolve conflict in the Levant, her passion.

While Mars Hill University is a great academic institution, Dr. Heather Hawn’s passion for truth and justice made the political science department into something that no other university can rival. And though Dr. Hawn molded Denise’s peers in the political science department into inspiring future leaders, the department also became what felt like an intimate family, whose friendship, inter-group conflicts, Snapchat groups, and inside jokes still shine years later. The political science department is where she discovered her potential, and was able to work through her opinions in a safe environment. The encouragement of new perspectives in all classes is what makes poli-sci at MHU such an amazing program, and Dr. Hawn is the advisor you never knew that you needed.

In the coming years, Denise is planning on obtaining a master’s degree in peace and conflict resolution to work in the intractable Palestinian-Israeli conflict, where she has traveled numerous times to study the region. The poli-sci department was instrumental in helping Denise discover her passion for peace, her yearning for justice, and the ability to reach any goal she sets for herself.