Deniz Kayhan ‘21

Political Science and International Affairs Majors
Photo of Kayhan Deniz


New London, CT

What made you choose UNH?

I chose UNH because it was one of the few universities that truly encompassed all of my passions. Not only is UNH located in a beautiful area where I can explore the outdoors in the White Mountains or on the coast, but it offered so many unique opportunities regarding my academic and career interests. UNH was one of the few universities that offered a great Russian program, a language I had been striving to excel at in regard to applying it to my international studies. Not only did UNH have a political science degree, but it also offered a dual major in international affairs, which has been something I have always been interested in discovering more about. UNH also had clubs like Model UN that I was excited to actively learn about and participate in international diplomacy.

How did you choose your major and why?

Coming from a family of two different cultures (Ukrainian and Jewish, Turkish and Muslim), I have always been fascinated by international politics and how countries and different cultures interact. My conversations with my grandfather and his survival from the Holocaust made me want to be part of the more positive change in the world. I believe studying political science and international affairs is important for understanding the socio-economic dynamics around the world, which is crucial to preventing and mitigating such conflicts like my grandparents experienced.

What do you enjoy most about being in the College of Liberal Arts?

Being a student in COLA has made me realize how important critical thinking skills are. Not only have they helped me become a better writer and thinker, but a better problem solver. In any career path, this is incredibly important, and COLA has prepared me to think critically and thoroughly solve complex problems.

Have you undertaken any experiential learning (internships, study abroad, research, etc.)?

After being a volunteer at the Freedom Cafe for a semester, I took on an internship with the cafe to create a new subscription box service. This service was intended to create a new and easier way for consumers to access more environmentally and socially conscious brands. I was part of researching products and supply chains, while also creating a business plan. With the team, we competed in the New Hampshire Social Innovation Challenge in 2020, which was an exciting experience to present our new idea. At the end of the internship, our team created a prototype box that was sold for the holidays! Now, I am serving as a student consultant through the UNH B Impact Clinic for the media company, Dirigo Collective. I have been able to work with amazing peers and UNH faculty to help the Dirigo Collective become certified/closer to certification as a B Corporation at the end of the spring semester. In addition to the internship, I am taking on a Political Science Honors Thesis. This is probably one of the most interesting and exciting ways to learn more about my major. I have constructed a research project under the supervision of Professor Carter, exploring perspectives on the political economy and the exponential emergence of artificial intelligence. In the fall of 2020, Professor Carter's class on Perspectives of the Political Economy influenced me to dive deeper into this subject, while also applying perspectives on the future of technology. For my international affairs major capstone, I will similarly be conducting research on global governance and cyber security. After taking Professor Lyon's capstone course on International Organizations, it is evident that the global governance system is changing and applying the increase in the use of global technologies (specifically cyber warfare) is something I am excited to explore more about.

Are you involved in any groups, clubs or organizations?

Model UN and Net Impact

How is COLA preparing you for career and professional success?

Career and Professional Success (CaPS) has been amazing with helping me apply to think tank internships this summer! I have learned so many things about creating a resume that really focuses on my strengths and creating a concise cover letter. Being a part of Model UN has also developed my skills in effectively and peacefully communicating with others, as well as creating effective coalitions to achieve a common goal. Taking COLA courses has also enhanced my research capabilities, which will be important in continuing my academic career after UNH.

What are your post-graduation plans at this point?

I am really interested in researching the political economy and global governance/diplomacy. I hope to continue my education through graduate school and find a fitting research role with a think tank or university.

What is one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

I am really interested in learning languages. I have learned 7 languages throughout my lifetime, all at different fluency levels.