From the monthly archives: April 2012

The spring goes by in a blur of admissions work for me, but outside our office, it’s about the most interesting time of the year.  In just the past few weeks, Fletcher students ran or attended a successful Energy Conference, and listened to a whole bunch of special lectures.  Since I can’t list them all, you might want to click on the highlighted dates on the April Fletcher calendar.

Classes end Monday but that doesn’t mean the events have come to a quiet close.  Instead, recent Fletcher grad Andrew Lewis will highlight a conversation session with the Diplomacy Club.  And today, there’s a featured talk about the Turkish economy, before students start tying their bow ties for tonight’s annual Diplomat’s Ball.  (Sadly, no links to share — you’ll need to trust me that it has been the source of much discussion.)  Dip Ball attendees will want to cut short their sleep to attend tomorrow’s Spring Fling.  (Even I might come up to campus at about 1:00 to catch Lupe.)

There are two past events that warrant particular mention.  First was Brian William’s participation in the annual Edward R. Murrow Forum on  Issues in Journalism.  The event was sponsored, in part, by Fletcher’s Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy.  And the second was the very special lecture last Friday by Muhammad Yunus.

Honestly, I have no idea how students manage to complete all their academic work.

An amusing aside — no matter how advanced their technology, some phones are still not a good match for a student in international affairs.  Margot shared her failed attempt to convince her phone to allow her to tell a friend that she had walked by Muhammad Yunus.  In an email, she further noted, “It’s not every place where passing Muhammad Yunus on the sidewalk is something worthy of a text in the first place — that’s sort of a Fletcher thing.”


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Unlike real journalists, I like featuring good news stories.  So, when I sent a note of congratulations to PhD candidate Ivan for receiving the university’s Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service, and Ivan responded to my question about the work for which he was honored, my brain lit up:  BLOG POST!

Here’s what Ivan told me:

I was very honored to receive the award.  I believe it was for general work/public service to the university, but also related to my other service work.  The main components included:  being the Resident Director at Blakeley, helping with continuing education through Osher Lifelong Learning, student initiatives such as serving on the PhD Committee and organizing the PhD conferences and colloquium, and, outside of Tufts/Fletcher, the international civic engagement program I helped lead in China (sponsored by Duke University and the Gates Foundation).

That’s a lot to fit in around Fletcher study and the writing of a dissertation!  Congratulations to Ivan on making such a strong contribution to the community!

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Once again trolling my inbox for blog post ideas that don’t need to originate in my own head, I came across a nice round of Social List sharing:  “Fletcher” written in various other alphabets.  Why did I like this?  I suppose it’s because I enjoy knowing that when a student asks, others will jump in to provide the info he needs.  Some responses even included mini linguistics lessons.  As I’m only able to read two of the languages, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the List crowd would have corrected any misinformation.

So, while it’s not a comprehensive accounting of the languages students speak, here’s “Fletcher,” many different ways, with thanks to the Social List.

Arabic:  فلتشر

Armenian:  Ֆլեթչեր

Bengali:  ফ্লেচার

Chinese (simplified):  弗莱彻
Chinese (complex):  弗萊徹

Cyrillic:  Флетчер

Dari and Pashto:   فلچر

Gujarati:  ફ્લેચર

Hindi:  फ्लेचर

Kannada:  ಫ್ಲೆಚರ್

Korean:  플레쳐

Morse Code:  ..-. .-.. . – -.-. …. . .-.  (Or “Di-di-dah-dit Di-dah-di-dit Dit Dah Dah-di-dah-dit Di-di-di-dit Dit Di-dah-dit”)

Persian:  فلچر

Punjabi:  ਫ੍ਲੇਤ੍ਚੇਰ

Thai:  เฟลทเชอร์

Urdu:  فلیچز

Yiddish:  פלעטשער


For (if I remember correctly) the third year, students have compiled videos of enthusiastic (if less than smooth) dancing by classmates visiting locations near and far. Please enjoy “Where the Hell is Fletcher? 2012” a now annual tradition:


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There’s a lot going on in Admissions this week.  Most of our admitted students need to make their enrollment decisions by tomorrow, April 20, and there has been a pretty steady stream of last-minute questions.  (How do I put together my dual degree?…Can you send me my GAMS password?…What’s your suggestion for housing?…)  By Monday, we’ll know what about 80% of the entering class will look like.  (I’m making that number up — but I think it’s about right.)

Meanwhile, continuing students are submitting their applications for scholarship renewal.  They also have many last-minute questions.  The forms are due this afternoon, so I know the office will be hoppin’ at about 4:00.

Which leaves me depending on others to create interesting blog content for me.  And combing through my inbox, I found something.  Students have compiled a list of thesis topics, along with faculty advisor, keywords, and the students’ Fields of Study.  The list contains only a portion of the theses that will be submitted this spring, but I think it provides a nice snapshot of the broad range of topics and formats.

Here’s a sample of the list:

For the full list, click here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the professors who advised a student on a specific topic, you can find them all on our website.

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An established annual event is the Tufts University Energy Conference, in which Fletcher students have played important roles.  This year, the conference chair is Katie Walsh, a second-year MALD student.  Katie describes her involvement below.

At the end of this week, I, along with 34 other Tufts students (from Fletcher, the undergraduate programs, and the other graduate schools) will overrun The Fletcher School to execute the 7th Annual Tufts University Energy Conference (TEC), April 20-21.  More than eight months of planning has gone into this two-day event, with speakers arriving from all over the country and the world to speak on the issues that define our global energy economy.

TEC is an entirely volunteer student-run initiative.  We plan the content, we contact speakers, we ask for funding, we lose countless hours of sleep and send thousands of emails.  Each year, something new has been added to or tweaked in the conference offerings.  These features stem from the creativity, enthusiasm and follow-through of the conference organizers.  At last year’s conference, we introduced the Tufts Energy Competition, Tufts’ first-ever energy-focused student innovators competition, which I helped initiate as the 2011 Marketing Co-Director.  One group of winners used their prize funds to produce a resource guide on low-cost, sustainable and renewable energy technologies in Zimbabwe; the other used them for materials to create a demonstration high-performance hybrid vehicle.

By no measure am I an old hand at energy.  Before coming to Fletcher, I coordinated a Chinese language program at San Francisco State University.  My undergraduate major was history and many of my professional experiences were in international education.  My intention in coming to graduate school was to develop experience and expertise in a completely new field – energy and the environment.

Now, a year and a half into my master’s program at Fletcher, I find myself chairing this year’s energy conference, working at the University’s environmental institute, and fortunate enough to have secured internships in the energy sector both last summer and this, in Washington, D.C. and Beijing, China. When I actually have the time to think about my experiences thus far (such as to write this blog entry), I am just astounded by how much there is to take advantage of at Fletcher, and Tufts as a whole.

Two years ago at about this time, visiting Fletcher’s Open House, I don’t think I could have predicted all that I would have learned so far, the relationships I would have formed, and the opportunities that coming to this school would have afforded me.  But, in visiting the classes, meeting with professors and talking to students — I did get a feeling that Fletcher was different from any of the other graduate programs I was visiting.  I sensed that it was going to be the kind of place that would appreciate the skills I came to school with — inquiry, innovation, ability to implement and organize — and provide me with the space, mentoring and academic rigor I needed to build legitimacy in a new field.  That feeling has proven all too right.

The Boston Marathon is so important that it’s a public holiday!  Or maybe, Patriot’s Day was already a public holiday, and the Boston Marathon became a Patriot’s Day tradition.  Either way, Fletcher, like the rest of Tufts University, is closed today.  We’ll be back tomorrow, Tuesday.


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Participating in the Tufts Marathon Challenge is a great opportunity for students to train for and run in the Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious such races worldwide.  This year, there’s a team of 15 Fletcher students joining the Tufts team.  They have to meet a fundraising goal as a requirement of their participation, and they have worked together (selling “King Cakes,” sponsoring an event at a nearby pub) and individually to meet the goal.

This week, three representatives of the Fletcher team went downtown to the Greek Consulate General in Boston for the ceremony of presenting traditional olive wreaths to the Boston Athletic Association, which will, in turn, present them to the Marathon winners on Monday.  Here’s Vanessa, who told me about the event, with the wreaths next to her:

And since no event would be complete without a Fletcher flag, here are runners Jon, Morgan, and Vanessa, with the Boston Athletic Association president.  To the left is another Fletcher student, Alexandros, who is the liaison between the team and the Greek Consulate.  (I’m obliged to note that the photo is from Alex Mavradis Photography.)

The marathoners have been training for months, balanced (of course) with Fletcher classes.  It’s a big task for experienced runners, and most years the Tufts team will include some relative novices.  The  runners tell their stories on their individual pages to which I’ve linked below.  So, without further ado.  Introducing the 2012 Fletcher runners in the Boston Marathon for the Tufts Marathon Challenge.  Go team!!

Rishikesh K. Bandary
Jocelyn Braddock

Sean Duggan
Rachel Fredman
Jonathan Hirsch
Kathleen Hurley
Kei Koga
Sooyeon Kang
Kosar Jahani
Maria Kingsley
Morgan Lerette
Lauren Liecau
Peter Park
Manny Peralta
Vanessa Vidal Castellanos

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On Tuesday, Jeff and I decided that the time had come again for us to hang out in the Hall of Flags and chat with students.  With the Open House right behind us and admitted student decisions in front of us, the question of the day was obvious:  Why did you choose to come to Fletcher?

We started our conversation with two students from Germany who first met each other here.

Frieder, second-year MALD, told us that just over two years ago, he was “Ready to apply to ten programs.  Fletcher was number one — my favorite — on the list.  Then I received early admission.”  Story over.  But he also said, “Fletcher was my favorite because of having access to law classes, along with the opportunity to focus on business and economic development” (which is his career direction).  “It’s a unique combination.”

Joachim, second-year MALD, said he likes several things:  “The broad range of courses at your disposal.  The small size of the community.  And the closely-knit alumni network.  I really like the Boston location, too.  Personally, I also like the way the nice Tufts campus is quiet, but you can still get to New York or D.C. easily.”

But then Joachim made a distinction between why he chose Fletcher and why he likes it now.  Coming to the end of his Fletcher experience, he says it’s “The people in the community and the diversity are what I like the most, and you can meet a Fletcher student or Fletcher alumni anywhere in the world.”

Next we called over Kartik, second-year MALD from India, who was chatting with Hanneke.  Kartik used to work in our office, but now he’s a big time teaching assistant and doesn’t visit us enough anymore.  🙁  Anyway, Kartik, who pre-Fletcher had been working in the local area, told us how he ended up at Fletcher.  “I took the T to Davis Square, and took a left turn, and here I was.  It felt like home.”  (Hanneke made fun of him just a little for this sweet sentiment.)

Then along came Jeff, a second-year MALD from Canada.  He said, “I joined Fletcher because of its reputation for academic rigor, great student body, and connection to the broader Boston academic community.”

Second-year MIB Jonathan came by and told us, “Fletcher offers really unique and interesting opportunities.  I had a great internship experience in Hong Kong, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything more conventional.”  He and Jeff had met up while Jeff was in Hong Kong for recruitment travel last fall.

Manjula, second-year MALD from Sri Lanka, said, “I was making a career change from finance to international development and social entrepreneurship, and Fletcher offered the diversity and flexibility, along with the skills and resources I needed, so I could explore new fields and make that switch.”  (I should also mention that Manjula is a rock-star in the community for what he has already achieved.)

Interrupting a study group, we found out that Alicia, second-year MALD from Jamaica, chose Fletcher, “because it’s such a nice warm and friendly place.”  And James, first-year MIB, chose Fletcher because it provides, “a more interesting international exposure than the other schools I applied to.”

Barry, mid-career MA, told us, “I came to the Open House last year and met with current students and faculty, and I was extremely impressed.  Yesterday was a little reminiscent for me.”

We wandered over to a table where students were selling Africana Night tickets.  Tallash, first-year MALD from Kenya, chose Fletcher because of the flexibility of the degree programs.  She said she is focusing on international environmental policy and development economics, and “doing so much in a two-year program that it’s like doing three different master’s degrees.”

Martin, second-year MIB, liked that “The MIB program offered a unique opportunity to integrate international business and international relations in one program, compared to a dual degree in parallel.”

Along came Dean Bosworth, who good-naturedly told us he chose Fletcher because, “I was offered a job, and I needed a job.  I was stepping down as ambassador to Korea.”  (I hope he also appreciated the warm community!)

Ethan, PhD candidate, joined us.  He and I did a quick reminisce about how I interviewed him a bunch of years ago when he applied to do his MALD.  He chose Fletcher because of “the ability to build a program with interdisciplinary balance.”  And also because the faculty includes “a healthy mix of practitioners and academics.”

Katie, first-year MALD from Egypt and Admissions intern said, “I like to know that I can leave campus and then come back to this warm Fletcher-orange environment.”

Sebastian, first-year MIB from Ecuador, took the broad view.  “World economics are going through a transition and the existing model of business study needs a new perspective, so the MIB program was perfect for my interests.”

And the last word is going to go to Liz, for about four years the first person you’d see when you entered the Admissions Office.  Liz told us, “I came to Fletcher because I was making a career shift and Fletcher was the right place to marry my workplace skills and my desire to work with students again.”

And that’s Liz’s last word in the Admissions Blog.  She has successfully pushed her career transition forward, and yesterday started her new post in the Tufts Residence Life office.  We wish her all the best!

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My moments out of the office ended yesterday shortly after the last of my posts.  Admitted students started flowing in with questions, and the next thing I knew it was nearly 5:30.  So I never made it over to check out the Roundtable Discussions, or anything else that happened after 2:30.  Maybe next year!  At least I was able to have my memory refreshed about one of our dual degree programs — with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.

But as for admitted student events, the Fletcher Open House was only the first I’ll visit this year.  I’ll be accompanying my daughter Kayla to three others, though I don’t expect to attend more than the panel the undergraduate programs all organize for parents.  Then she can attend classes and activities while I visit friends, read a book, drink coffee, and otherwise pass the time until she has seen all she needs to see.


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