Kalif Robinson, a student in Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program, is one of five individuals featured in the 2018 documentary Unlikely, which explores the barriers underrepresented students face pursuing undergraduate degrees.
Kalif Robinson (G’19) is one of five individuals featured in the 2018 documentary Unlikely, which explores the barriers underrepresented students face pursuing undergraduate degrees. The film follows Robinson’s senior year at Georgia State University, four years after he became the first in his family to graduate from college.
Degree Pursing: Master of Science in Foreign Service
MSFS Concentration:Global politics and security studies with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
Undergraduate Degree: Georgia State University, 2017
Professional Experience: Africa Policy Fellow on Capitol Hill with Rep. Karen Bass (D-California). MSFS admissions assistant. Co-chair of MSFS’ first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Communications team memberfor upcoming Georgetown Africa Business Conference. Rangel Fellow Intern for the Public Affairs Section of U.S. Consulate General Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa.
Achievements: Rangel Graduate Fellowship for two years of study at Georgetown. HOPE scholarship to study at Georgia State. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in Jordan in 2015. Project Uplift scholarship from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity during undergraduate career. Rangel Summer Enrichment Program scholarship to spend six weeks in DC learning about different career opportunities in international affairs.
Being a Star:
“The interview process for the documentary was intense,” Robinson recalls. “The film crew took shots of me all over Atlanta and at my parent’s home in Stockbridge, Georgia. The questions I was asked ranged anywhere from surface level inquiries to deep dives into how I see the world and how that perspective has shaped who I am and want to be. My family was also filmed, and I am happy to say that my mother and father are in the documentary.”
“I chose MSFS because of the program’s unique focus on striking a balance between theoretical frameworks and real life application,” Robinson says. “MSFS will equip me with the skills needed to be a change agent in the realms of foreign policy and diplomacy.”
“Growing up, whenever I heard of Georgetown it was always mentioned in the same breath as Harvard or Yale and the professions of doctors, lawyers, and politicians. I never imagined myself being affiliated with any of the aforementioned. Fast-forward through several improbable years later and here I am, a Georgetown graduate student.”
Transition: Robinson worked two and sometimes three jobs to help pay for his undergraduate degree. After graduating from Georgia State, he spent a few months on Capitol Hill, then moved to Arlington, Virginia, to begin his graduate studies at Georgetown.
“My nontraditional background as a first-generation student, mixed with my race, socioeconomic status and other characteristics, made Georgetown extremely foreign to me. I immediately noticed the difference in the academic style and rigor of an elite private institution. Despite these challenges and differences, I have found mentors, classes, and friends that have enabled me to flourish. I believe my background and experiences bring an added and crucial voice to contemporary foreign policy and international affairs discussions and debates.”
“In whatever embassies or consulates I end up at, I hope to have a positive and lasting impact on the people I work with and the global communities around me,” Robinson says. “I am truly excited to serve and represent the best of what America has to offer.”