Amazing Students Profiles

Chad Peltier

Chad Peltier

Chad Peltier may hail from Cumming, Ga., but he’s really a world traveler. Thanks to the opportunities provided through his major in international affairs and his involvement in UGA’s CURO program, this senior has been to China, Mongolia and Russia.


Cumming, GA

High School:

South Forsyth High

Degree objective:

A.B. International Affairs

Expected graduation:

Spring 2012

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

During my freshman year I emailed my honors mentor, Dr. Brock Tessman, to see if there were any opportunities for me to get involved in CURO research with him. With Dr. Tessman’s guidance, I became a co-founder of Georgia Grand Strategy, a student-run research group that focuses on history, foreign policy and international relations. It was through this group that I developed a passion for academic research. My independent CURO research with Dr. Tessman and Dr. Jeff Berejikian allowed me to present at UGA’s CURO Symposium as well as the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference in both 2010 and 2011, with support from Globis—the UGA Center for the Study of Global Issues—as a Globis Center Undergraduate Research Award winner. My last article is currently under review at an academic journal. In the fall of 2010, I worked as a research assistant to Dr. Tessman, helping construct a literature review for his own research. Last summer I also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant to Dr. Nuno Monteiro of Yale University.

During the summer after my sophomore year I was able to travel through China, Mongolia and Russia to study the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (a Central Asian political, military and economic organization) thanks to an Honor International Scholarship. Not only did I gain some valuable research from my interviews for a research paper, but I learned a lot about myself from the adventure.

Last summer I interned at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, a think tank within the Department of Defense. I was a research assistant to Elaine Bunn, a UGA grad and director of the Future Strategic Concepts division of INSS. We worked on a book project about extended deterrence in the Middle East—namely, how the U.S. can ensure the security of, and prevent attacks to, allies and other friendly states. While at INSS I gained a deep understanding of the intersection between foreign policy-making and academia, due to the center’s unique combination of former academics and practitioners of diplomacy. I was also given the opportunity to attend the Asan Plenum conference in Seoul, South Korea as an Asan Young Scholar. The Asan Plenum was a gathering of many of the top think tanks around the world to discuss nuclear and conventional deterrence and relations in East Asia.

Family Ties to UGA:

I’m the first but hopefully not the last!

I chose to attend UGA because…

…of the opportunities that the Honors Program could give me. I knew I wanted to study abroad, work closely with professors on original research and take a wide range of courses, so UGA was the perfect fit.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

1. Ride my bike up and down Lumpkin Street
2. Sit under a tree near Moore College
3. Fall Saturdays in Athens = football games
4. Get Barberitos tacos in Tate

When I have free time, I like…

…to rock climb and trail run with my roommates and girlfriend, workout, work on my bicycle, read books about zombies or explorers and drink coffee at Two Story. I’m also pretty obsessed with college football, and I moderate a college football blog and forum.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…backpack solo through Siberia—without knowing Russian. While studying the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Beijing, I decided to take the Trans-Siberian railroad from Beijing through Mongolia to Irkutsk, St. Petersburg and, finally, Moscow. I’ll always remember waking with the sunrise as my train went through the Gobi Desert and sand leaked through the windows and coated the inside of my train car.

On my first day in Irkutsk, bundled up in my jacket in the middle of July, I stepped off the train and then wandered around lost for a few hours unable to find my hostel and unable to ask for directions. However, around the time I began to consider pitching a tent on the banks of the Angara River, a guy around my age offered to help me (first asking me in Russian), then invited me in to his apartment where his mother made an excellent traditional Russian meal for us all.

My favorite place to study is…

I travel between the excellent coffee shops around Athens. I generally spend most of my time at Two Story in Five Points, but I like to switch it up and go to Walkers downtown or one of the Jittery Joe’s scattered throughout Athens. Coffee shops are perfect because of my need for coffee, conversation and music in the background while I study.

My favorite professor is…

This is a tough one, because I’ve had a lot of great professors here. I’d have to mention Dr. Tessman first and foremost because he has been instrumental in my college experience. He was my honors mentor my freshman year, and I’ve worked with him through CURO every semester since. There’s not a more approachable professor on campus, because he’s always willing to sit down over coffee and talk about life plans, research or classes. Dr. Berejikian is also one of the most innovative teachers I’ve had. Two semesters ago I took his course on foreign policy simulation in which we used the computer game Civilization IV to test different theories of international relations.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

…Jared Diamond, a professor of geography at UCLA. In a time where the pressure to specialize is high and many academic publications focus on extremely niche questions, I think that Diamond still asks intrinsically interesting types of questions—why do civilizations rise and fall? Why do some people have so much and others so little? He’s also a really great lecturer and writer, so good that his academic research is read by millions as popular non-fiction. He’s managed to be a hands-on academic by traveling and doing field research that blends multiple disciplines.

Though I must admit, if Indiana Jones were a real person, he’d top my list.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…walk on to the UGA football team. Unfortunately, I’m only 5’ 8”, so things aren’t looking good in that regard.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

…climb each of the Seven Summits, the tallest peak on each continent.

After graduation, I plan to…

…begin a Ph.D. program in political science and international relations, teach middle or high school for Teach for America or do a post-baccalaureate program in classics and archeology.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

I will always remember walking into my senior research fellow’s office during the first week of my internship in Washington, D.C., and getting invited to go to Seoul, South Korea. Before coming to UGA I had no idea where I would study abroad—I just knew that I wanted to leave the country as many times as possible. UGA and the Honors Program allowed me to do just that. Within a week of being invited, I was on a plane to Seoul, enjoying in-flight movies and Korean food. In addition to the conference on nuclear deterrence in East Asia, I was able to explore Seoul by foot, eat many traditional Korean dishes like squid, seaweed and kimchi and attend a Korean dance performance.