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Student Spotlight: Isabelle Borr

August 2, 2022 - Jesús Hernandez and Beth Brauer

Isabelle Borr is a rising senior studying international relations and Arabic with a minor in security management. She will be an intern this fall with the Bureau of South/Central Asian Affairs based at the U.S. Embassy in Muscat, Oman. Her future career goals include working at the State Department or in foreign service.

Where are you from?

West Bloomfield, Michigan


What extracurricular activities (education abroad, internship, field experience, RSOs) have you participated in?

I am currently on a study abroad in Amman, Jordan, learning Arabic and exploring the country. This past school year, I worked as a research assistant under Professor Norman Graham and developed a University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) project. I researched China’s global infrastructure plan and its effects on Central Asia. Last summer, I interned for Cambridge Global Advisors as a policy intern as well as at Michigan State Senate. This upcoming year, I am serving as the JMC Senate International Relations Caucus chair as well as Vice-President of the MSU Powerlifting Club.

Isabelle with her friends
(L-R) Isabelle Borr with friends at the top of Ajloun Castle. Photo provided by Isabelle Borr.

What made you choose JMC and what have you liked most about your residential college experience so far?

I chose JMC for the international relations major. I loved how it combines history, politics, geography and culture. I have loved the resident community of Case Hall — living with your classmates is such a special experience and going to the dining hall or Sparty’s whenever. Case Hall also has the best location for football, the gym, basketball and going to Grand River.

What’s been your best memory as a student in James Madison?

My favorite memory as a JMC student is hanging out in my friend’s dorm every weekend, last minute ice cream runs and adventures downtown. Academically, being in such small classes allows our sections to develop a bond with our professors. I especially loved my time with Professor Barksdale-Shaw, Professor Zierler and Professor Graham.

What about IR courses do you enjoy most?

I loved MC 220 taught by Professor Zierler. So many connections made sense and I loved researching for the class. We were taught about topics of deterrence that are so prevalent today and make the conversation of security so clear.

What skills or information are you learning in IR that you anticipate will transfer in areas of your life (beyond professional goals)?

Analysis and critical thinking skills for sure. Everything has a connection. Why things are the way they are. While studying in Jordan, I have been able to understand subtleties in culture, tourism and land. 

Who or what has been a great source of support since you started college?

My JMC friends for sure. They have been so validating in this experience of COVID College as well as transitioning to normal life. Every feeling I have felt has been normal, despite times not being as such. I have some amazing friends who have been there for me.