MA Diplomacy and International Law; First Year

I was born in Pennsylvania but grew up in Shanghai, China, which still feels like home. I loved springboard diving as a child, and was the only foreigner allowed to train in a national Chinese facility at Shanghai’s Olympic Stadium Center. I was later accepted to the University of Pittsburgh on a diving scholarship, graduated with a BA in Political Science, Russian, and Chinese, returned to Shanghai to teach and study Chinese at Fudan University, then moved to Philadelphia to work in a Chinatown immigration law firm. Next was New York, where I managed media and philanthropy projects for a prominent family, including its dedication of the Chao Center to Harvard Business School, the first building on Harvard’s campus named after a woman and an Asian-American.

I’ve always been an ambitious person but since coming to AUP, I feel reawakened.

Morgan Speece

After five years of working, I felt ready to return to school and pursue my dream of serving the world, particularly in an institution that seemed tailor-made for global citizens. AUP is wonderful about providing practical training in a personalized environment, where I learn just as much from my fellow students, who come from so many cultures and nationalities, as my impressive professors, who are helpful and encouraging. We have a real community here, one with which I stay involved, both in and out of the classroom. I’m the Social Media Manager for the Peacock Plume and I started a Chinese Culture and Language Club, with activities like eating hot pot and Mandarin language practice.  

I just returned from a Sustainable Development Practicum in Pondicherry, India, led by Professor Tanya Elder. While there, I visited an organization where I now volunteer. As I took pictures for a social media-fundraising project, three children ran up to me, screaming, because they’d recognized me from my last visit, a week before, and gave me the sincerest hugs that I’ve probably ever received. It only confirmed what I wanted to do with my life.   

I’ve always been an ambitious person but since coming to AUP, I feel reawakened. I’ve been pushed to think further, so that instead of merely sticking with what I’ve always thought I wanted to do, I strive to use my skills and knowledge to expand upon my opportunities. I feel as though I haven’t slowed down one bit since I arrived—nor do I plan to!