Alumni Spotlight: Phuong Ha '11

He’s currently in his final semester at Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York pursuing his Master’s degree, and he is interning with the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Simply put, Phuong is working to change the world through policy and government relations. CSIS is one of the most prominent bipartisan and non-profit think tanks in the world. Through policy research, engagement, and working directly with the government, CSIS provides non-partisan solutions to decision makers and politicians. Specifically, Phuong’s internship with the AMTI is an initiative that aims to promote greater transparency in the growing volatile Asia-Pacific regions. They focus on maritime disputes that range from the Indian Ocean to the Sea of Okhotsk, with a particular emphasis on the South China Sea and East China disputes. AMTI produces analytical and geospatial research that helps better understand the complexity of Asia and de-escalate tensions in the region by providing an objective platform.

As an intern, Phuong has been in charge of several interesting tasks. In addition to providing administrative support for AMTI and other programs, Phuong monitors satellite images of the South China Sea to identify potentially disputed features and to keep track of the island-building process. Recently, he closely analyzed construction projects on three Chinese reclaimed elements which led to China’s potential militarization efforts in the disputed water. His analysis has been very well-perceived not only by fellows, scholars, and media from all over the world, but also nations such as the United States, Australia, Vietnam, China, and more! Phuong is also responsible for regularly scouring publicly available statements from various governments to help determine their stance on arbitration between the Philippines and China.

Phuong says that being an intern at CSIS has offered him numerous opportunities to conduct research and meet with world leaders, and he couldn’t have landed his amazing internship without his experiences at Montverde Academy. “It is undeniable that my two-year experience at Montverde Academy contributed to my internship success,” Phuong says. “I’m truly grateful for everything MVA has given to me!”

Phuong will graduate soon with his Master’s degree and we couldn’t be prouder of his accomplishments thus far. With a new degree and amazing internship experience, we know he will go on to do amazing things!