UMD Welcomes Four New Summer Fellows

UMD is excited to introduce our four new International Policy and Diplomacy Fellows for the 2022 summer! Emily Abramczyk, Lauryn Ballard, Sarah Collins, and Zack Rouse will be working with us at the UMD headquarters in Washington, D.C. through the beginning of August.

Since 2008, UMD has hosted over 130 undergraduate and graduate students interested in Macedonia, Southeast Europe, U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and Trans-Atlantic relations.

This is the first class of fellows that I recruited and will be mentoring since I took on this new role at UMD,” explained Ema Brown, Director of Development and Advancement. “They have exceeded my expectations these past two weeks and I am very excited to see them grow in their roles over the next two months. I have no doubts that we will have a very successful summer, advocating for Macedonia and Macedonians.”

Intern responsibilities include monitoring legislation and congressional hearings; acting as a liaison between UMD and Congressional offices, advocating on subjects vital to the diaspora; attending events throughout Washington, D.C.; conducting research on issues affecting Macedonia and Southeast Europe, among other tasks.


Emily Abramczyk is excited to learn more about Macedonian culture and further UMD’s mission to advocate and promote the interests of the Macedonian community worldwide. Prior to her position with UMD, she conducted research on the Growth of Political Relations Between the U.S. and China through Ping Pong Diplomacy at Albion College.

Emily was born in Australia but has grown up in Rochester Hills, Michigan. She is currently attending Albion College where she is a proud member of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program and the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service. In the Fall of 2021, she was named an Albion Fellow for having maintained a 3.7+ GPA for three consecutive semesters and, in Spring 2021, became a part of Phi Beta Kappa, which recognizes the top 10% in each class, and a member of Mortar Board, a national honors society dedicated to academics, leadership, and service.

Besides academics, Emily is an avid golfer and loves playing Division III golf for Albion College. Along with her position at UMD, she is looking forward to exploring the museums, monuments, and golf courses while living in Washington DC this summer.

Lauryn Ballard is spending this summer in DC, gaining hands-on experience within the professional realm of advocacy politics. She is currently majoring in Political Science with a minor in African-American Studies. After graduating, she plans to continue her education and obtain a Master’s Degree in Political Science.

Previously, Lauryn has worked as a research assistant and peer instructor at Florida State University’s Psychology Department and Center for Academic Retention and Advancement. As a second-year student entering her senior year of undergraduate learning, she aims to connect with students hailing from underrepresented communities and advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

Lauryn’s hobbies include reading, writing, and performing slam poetry. As a Miami-native, she also enjoys the beach and sunny weather!

Sarah Collins is from Dayton, Ohio, where she attends the University of Dayton. She is majoring in communications with a focus on public relations and a minor in political science. Sarah is interested in finding the best way to send a message to an audience and is excited to learn how to best communicate in this sphere. She is looking forward to a career in politics, whether that be at the state, national, or international level.

In her free time, Sarah likes to read, watch movies, and go on hikes with her dog. She is excited to explore DC and meet lots of new people this summer.

Zack Rouse was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and raised in Currituck, North Carolina. He joined the United Macedonian Diaspora as an International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow in June 2022. Zack is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international politics as well as a minor in history at North Carolina State University.

Before joining UMD Zack worked as a member of University Housing at North Carolina State University. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, watching various sporting events, and reading. After he graduates in December 2022 Zack is hoping to pursue a career in international affairs.

Learn more about the UMD internship.

Click here to learn about UMD’s new Acevska Congressional Internship Program.