Posts by: Jessica Daniels

On Thursday and Friday, Fletcher will be the site of an event jointly organized with MIT: the Science Diplomacy: Dissertation Enhancement Workshop.  According to the organizers, the two-day workshop aims to provide participants with an understanding of science diplomacy theory and practice, as well as “soft skills such as negotiation and dispute resolution techniques in relation to scientific issues in national and international settings.”  You’ll find the full program here.  The workshop is organized by Fletcher’s Science Diplomacy Center, with science diplomacy an area of increasing interest among students and faculty.

 

Student blogger Mariya, who will soon start her second year in the MALD program, has filed an early report on her summer, starting with the first phase of her multi-country experience in Asia.

After a short visit home, my summer started with a stint on the other side of the world.  In late March, I was accepted to the Mosaic Taiwan Fellowship, an all-expense paid two-week cultural exchange program sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China that “provides young U.S. and Canadian students and professionals an opportunity to explore Taiwan through workshops, lectures, home stays, historic site visits and extensive cultural immersion activities.”

I found out about this opportunity through a former Fletcher participant who advertised it on the Social List over winter break.  Although I had a summer internship lined up at the U.S. Embassy Bangkok via the Pickering Fellowship, I decided to try my luck and squeeze in the Mosaic Fellowship before departing to Thailand.  Thanks to Professor Ian Johnstone who wrote my letter of recommendation, I was able to secure this fellowship.

Mariya, Alexis, and Meredith at the Mosaic Taiwan gala.

I was very excited to learn that two of my Fletcher friends – Alexis and Meredith – were also selected to participate.  A Boston-based Taiwan diplomat told us over a pre-departure lunch in Davis Square that three students from one school was quite rare because the ministry tries to optimize its outreach by selecting one student per school.  I guess Fletcher kids just blew them away with strong applications!

It was my first time traveling to East Asia, and Taiwan was a wonderful introduction.  The Mosaic Taiwan program was well-organized, engaging, and eye-opening.  Our agenda was jam-packed with activities, starting at 8:00 a.m. every day and ending around 8:00 p.m.  The experience was enriched by the other participants — 25 Americans from across the United States and five Canadians — all of whom brought a unique perspective to the program.  And of course, it wouldn’t be an international trip without a Fletcher connection: a recent Fletcher graduate connected us to his parents who kindly treated us to dinner.

Here is a snapshot of what we were up to for two weeks:

  • Tours: We got a feel for Taipei through a city tour that shed light on the history and culture, Japanese-style buildings, and early churches.  We also toured street markets where we tried the famed delicacy “stinky tofu,” miscellaneous chicken parts, exotic fried seafood such as octopus and squid balls, and for those who could indulge, pork blood popsicles.
  • Site Visits: We visited landmarks such as the Taipei 101 Financial Tower, National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Chimei Museum, and National Palace Museum.  We also visited the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) as well as the Foreign Ministry.
  • Lectures: There was an emphasis on the educational component of this trip.  We attended lectures on topics including Taiwan-U.S. relations, cross-strait relations, defense policy, economic and energy polices, and healthcare.  These lectures enhanced my understanding of how regional history has shaped present-day Taiwan.  They also broadened my perspective on East Asian geopolitics.
  • Workshops: The program had an equal balance of hands-on activities.  We learned Chinese calligraphy with brushes (my favorite workshop); carved bamboo sticks to design harmonicas; hand made zongzi (rice and beans stuffed in large flat bamboo leaves) in a small village; kickboxed each other during martial arts; and wrote tea-making songs with the traditional sio-po-kua rhythm.
  • Overnight Trip: We took a high-speed railway to the southern city of Tainan, where we learned about Taiwan’s efforts to protect its natural resources.  We took a boat tour of Taijiang National Park and visited Fort Zeelandia and AnPing Tree House.
  • Local Organizations: Whereas the lectures gave us an overview of the island’s history and current affairs, and the workshops immersed us in Taiwanese culture, it was the visits to local organizations and companies that gave us insight into Taiwan as a functioning modern society.  By meeting with leaders of Kaiser Pharmaceutical, Design School, XYZPrinting Company, and Garden of Hope Foundation (humanitarian), we learned about Taiwan’s diverse industries and social efforts.  Exchanging views with students from the National Taiwan University was inspiring — the young people are very passionate about social and democratic progress in their country.  In fact, during our trip, Taiwan became the first in the region to legalize gay marriage.
  • Food: This was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the trip for me.  I am not a picky eater, but my dietary restrictions as a Muslim made it difficult for me to enjoy the meals, almost all of which included pork or were cooked in pork oil.  Still, I managed to indulge in seafood, fried rice, noodles, and vegetable soups and salads.
  • Group work: What made the Mosaic Taiwan fellowship so special was the collaborative component.  On day one, we all formed groups that became our official teams for the program.  At the fancy Opening Ceremony, the teams performed group chants for Taiwan representatives and Canadian and American government officials — we even made headlines in Taiwan Today.  Each group had a unique personality; my team, Love Taiwan, was voted “Most Enthusiastic.”  The Closing Gala Ceremony was our final celebration, where we were recognized for our participation with an official award and we performed salsa dancing and sang an acapella song.

After this trip, I can truly understand why the Portuguese sailors called Taiwan “Ilha Formosa” (beautiful island) when they arrived at its shores in 1542.

Mariya with the “Love Taiwan” group.

 

Tagged with:
 

Students taking pre-session courses are here and other new students will arrive for Orientation on August 28.  But returning students don’t need to be back on campus until Tuesday, September 5.  They’ll be coming back to Fletcher from a mapful of different locations.  Here’s the map!

Some of those pins severely understate the number of students in a location.  For example, in New York, students are pursuing internships at:

Asia Society Policy Institute
Bank of America
CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project)
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund
The Global Impact Investing Network (“The GIIN”)
International Rescue Committee
NATO Allied Command Transformation
Pfizer
Scholastic
SWAT Equity Partners
United Nations (Conference on Trade and Development; Women, Peace and Security Unit; Global Compact)
World Economic Forum

In Washington, DC, students can be found at:

Aid to Artisans
Ashoka
Center for Strategic and International Studies – Americas Program
Embassy of Nepal
Girl Effect
Government Accountability Office
J.E. Austin Associates
Latino Victory Project
Metis Strategy
Millennium Challenge Corporation
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)
National Defense University
Relief International
Securing Water for Food
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll)
United Nations Information Center, Washington
U.S. Department of Defense, OSD Policy
U.S. Department of State
WeConnect International
World Bank

Besides New York and Washington, DC, the largest cluster of interning students can be found nearby in Boston/Cambridge at:

Blue Water Metrics
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Conflict Dynamics International
EcoLogic Development Fund
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
State Street Global Advisors
U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution
War on the Rocks
Wave Equity Partners

Somewhat surprisingly, the next largest cluster is in Kigali, Rwanda!

Aegis Trust / Kigali Genocide Memorial
African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC)
Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development
RONKOS

There are organizations with many interns in different locations.  For example, the U.S. Department of State.  Besides HQ in Washington, DC, interns can be found in Bangkok, Thailand; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, Mexico; San Salvador, El Salvador; Santiago, Chile; and Skopje, Macedonia.  International Rescue Committee interns can be found in Kampala/Yumbe, Uganda and New York.  Danish Refugee Council interns can be found in Athens, Greece; Maiduguri, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Yola, Nigeria.

We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back and learning about their adventures this summer, wherever they may be returning from!

(A final word of thanks to the students who coordinated the collection of all this information in an informal survey.)

Tagged with:
 

A real milestone on the road to the fall semester is today’s start of the August pre-session.  During the pre-session, incoming MIB students take Strategic Management.  At the same time as it’s a required (core) course, being in the class is also a good opportunity for the MIB cohort to come together.  Other students (both incoming and second-years) can (and do) join in.

The other pre-session class is Design and Monitoring of Peacebuilding and Development Programming.  It’s the first stop for students focused on Design, Monitoring and Evaluation, and I hear that it more than keeps them busy.

Pre-session today.  Orientation two weeks from today.  The fall semester is coming soon!

 

On Saturday, all my nearest and dearest will gather together for the wedding of my son, Josh, to his long-time sweetheart, Ati.  I don’t bring my home life into the blog as much as I once did, but the year when Josh applied to college for his undergraduate studies gave me a chance to think about the admissions process from the applicant’s perspective.  I revisited the topic four years later when my daughter, Kayla, was doing her own college search.

Now they, their friends, and my age-20-something relatives are at another stage in life that has been equally illuminating.  They’ve all completed their undergraduate studies and they’re navigating those years when they need to lay the groundwork for the decades to come.  Some have already gone to graduate or professional school.  Others are trying to figure out their next steps.  All of them feel a certain pressure to work it all out soon.  Listening to them has helped me connect to the issues our applicants are thinking about, beyond the technical aspects of the application.

What we in Admissions have always known is that those first jobs are hugely helpful for students who need to sift through their options.  Two of Josh’s classmates, in particular, present an interesting example of the benefits of working before graduate school.  They both had been inclined toward political science/international relations with a regional focus on the Middle East.  As a result of the work they pursued after graduating, one has maintained the regional focus but decided to pursue it through international education.  (That would be my almost-daughter-in-law.)  The other worked in Washington, DC for two years before deciding that the field wasn’t for him, and he is now in medical school.  Two students with similar interests, now following very different trajectories as a result of their first jobs.

As for Josh, he is in his second position with his second post-graduation organization, which he likes very much.  Given a choice, he will pass on the graduate school experience.  His first job was not a winner for him, and he has other friends who are similarly enjoying or muddling through their first positions, some more clearly directed than others.  This is a reality we observe all the time from our perch in the Admissions Office.  Some folks have their career path clearly defined by age 20.  Others are still testing the waters, often in many different lakes.

The U.S. economy is much stronger than it was in 2008 when Josh started college, or even in 2012 when he graduated, but I know that it can still be tricky to find the perfect first job.  So many organizations want to see experience on a résumé, even for entry-level positions.  That pushes the need for internships into the undergraduate years, so that students can graduate with a reasonable portfolio of experience in hand.  Kayla is fortunate to have had an internship that led to some contract work and then to a full-time job with another organization.  Without the internship, I’m sure her job hunt would have been more difficult.  When current undergraduates ask me about gaining work experience, I try to take the broadest possible approach — there’s a job out there, and the first will lead to the next.  The trick is to find something that provides some benefit — either in transferable skills or, at least, in the soft skills that employers always want to see.  And don’t go to graduate school until you’re certain you know what you want from your education.

I acknowledge that I often put on my “mom hat” when speaking to applicants and incoming students.  Sometimes I consider what I would want someone in my position to say to Josh and Kayla; I think it’s important to be direct with prospective students who could use a little advice.  I draw a lot personally from my observations of my (now adult) children and their friends and I think my work has benefited from my dual perspective, which helps me connect with the experience and decision-making of our applicants and students.

Now I’m looking forward to a wedding.  Josh and Ati are a two-Jumbo couple — both having graduated from Tufts.  They have their jobs, they’re getting married, and they’re on their way!

 

Having a recent graduate in the office during the summer makes me a very lucky blogger.  I mentioned to Rafael that it would be great to highlight published student writing and he was ON IT!  He sent a note to the Social List and the responses poured in.  I’ll let him tell you about it.

A few weeks ago, I sent an email to Fletcher’s current students and recent graduates.  My goal was to showcase some student publications from the past year to give you, the revered readers of this blog, an idea of what students do when they have researched an issue in depth for a seminar paper, capstone project, or internship, and don’t want their work to disappear in a drawer.  Their responses surprised me.  First, Fletcher students publish much more than I had expected.  Two, the range of types of publications is much wider than I had expected.  And three, in addition to clustering around some core themes of the Fletcher curriculum and current hot topics in the news, there are also issues that I did not know Fletcher students were working on, like fisheries in Norway, civil aviation in Timor-Leste, or entrepreneurship in Nunavik.  But more on that later.

One major theme that many Fletcher students research and publish on frequently is refugees and global migration.  In a truly international community, it is no wonder that an issue of such global importance is prominently represented.  A research fellow with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, PhD candidate Matthew Herbert, for instance, researched trends and routes of North African clandestine migrants.  For their capstone project, Mattea Cumoletti (MALD 17) and Anna Ackerman (MALD 17) produced a podcast to explore the potential of business interventions in solving the global refugee crisis (“Dollars, Displacement and Design: Entrepreneurship and the Refugee Crisis”).  Carter Banker (MALD 18), and Khaled Ismail, Claire Wilson (MALD 18), and Nathan Cohen-Fournier (MIB 17) worked more specifically on Syria; Carter considering Latin American as the next frontier for Syrian refugees, and Clair, Khaled, and Nathan conducting research with Syrian refugees in Tripoli, Lebanon.  Following the controversy around the Trump administration’s recent travel ban, Arthur Desloges (MALD 18) asked, “Does Mr. Trump know what a U.S. refugee is?”  PhD candidate Roxani Krystalli, who also works as a Program Manager at the Feinstein International Center’s Humanitarian Evidence Program, and Fletcher Professor Kim Wilson led a research team to conduct a study on the financial journey of refugees.  Some of their findings can be found here: “The Financial Journeys of Refugees: Charting a research agenda – Is corruption a relevant framework?

Additionally, Roxani published several articles on Colombia, specifically on how gender affects the peace process, through the Washington Post’s famous Monkey Cage blog: “The Colombian peace agreement has a big emphasis on the lives of women. Here’s how.”  With Professor Kimberly Theidon, Roxani also wrote “Here’s how attention to gender affected Colombia’s peace process.”  The two also collaborated on a piece on the reintegration of FARC rebels into Colombia’s society.  And for those who would rather listen than read, Roxani recorded a podcast on these issues with the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA).  Amelia Rasmussen (MALD 17), too, researched the Colombia peace process (Volume I, Issue 2, pp. 139-152) and published her findings in The Pardee Periodical Journal of Global Affairs, which is based just down the street at Boston University.  In the same edition, Protiti Roy (MALD 18) wrote about the implementation patterns of human rights treaties in India (pp. 111-126).

Moving further north on our scholarly globe, Andrew Tirrell (PhD candidate who just defended his dissertation) published on “Sociocultural institutions in Norwegian fisheries management” in Marine Policy.  Maxwell McGrath-Horn (MALD 17) compared Arctic and Amazon regional governance mechanisms in a co-authored article in Polar Geography and Putin and Peter the Great in The Diplomat, whose associate editor is, unsurprisingly, a Fletcher PhD candidate.  With support from Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context, Nathan Cohen-Fournier (MIB 17) conducted a study on entrepreneurship in Nunavik in light of climate change and globalization.  Also through the IBGC, Nadim Choucair (MALD 17) and Thomas Flynn (MALD 17) published their work on startups, incubators, accelerators, and venture capital firms in Lebanon: “CIRCULAR 331: $500+ Million to create Lebanon’s Knowledge-Based Economy?”  Staying in the Middle East, Sam Bollier (MALD 18) asked, “What’s Holding Up Labor Reforms in Qatar?” Julio Rivera Alejo (MALD 17) raised another good question, this time in Spanish: “¿Qué será del acuerdo internacional sobre cambio climático?”  Tatsuo Sakai (MALD 17 and a two-year blogger) looked at the civil-aviation sector and tourism industry in Timor-Leste.

Turning now toward the realm of security studies, among our military veteran students, the Navy seems to produce prolific writers.  In addition to our dean, who cannot seem to stop writing books and op-eds, Michael Keating (MALD 19) recently commented on the tragic incident involving the USS Fitzgerald.  Andrea Goldstein (MALD 18) has written for Task & Purpose since 2014, most recently on the “Marines United” scandal, “10 Must-Read Books on Women in the Military,” and mentorship.

Among us non-seafaring students of international security at Fletcher, Mariya Ilyas (MALD 18 and another Admissions Blog writer) looked at the current dynamics in NATO-Turkey relations and Colin Steele (MALD 18) reviewed two books — The Fleet at Flood Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945 and Scales on War: The Future of America’s Military at Risk — for The Strategy Bridge and the Center for International Maritime Security respectively.  Lami Kim (PhD candidate) and yours truly (MALD 17) conducted research on nuclear proliferation and published our pieces on South Korean nuclear hedging and the recent discussions of a German Bomb through the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Voices of Tomorrow feature.

This already very long list does not nearly exhaust the pressing issues Fletcher students research from a wide array of perspectives.  Nonetheless, I hope it gives you a good idea of the diversity of interests and viewpoints that fuel student discussion, research, and writing here.

Tagged with:
 

Sure, it’s still early, but that’s no reason not to pin down your appointment time for a Fletcher evaluative interview.  Participating in an interview is optional, but still recommended.  We offer interviews both on campus and via Skype, so there’s rarely a reason why someone can’t participate.  We’ll kick off the interviews on September 25.  Poke around the calendar and find a date that works for you.

Here’s more information, but if that’s too much to read, allow me to tell you the most important point: you should interview before you submit your application.  We’re well aware that many other programs take a different approach, but for Fletcher, you’ll want to nail down that interview before the program ends on December 8.  Some of you already took this advise, before I even had a chance to give it.  Good for you!  (Especially the November 27 interviewee who is clearly on top of her schedule!)

With a modest amount of preparation, you’ll have a successful interview.  Sign up now to ensure you’ve grabbed your spot before the schedule fills up.

Tagged with:
 

Tuesday’s post covered Cindy’s general tips for incoming students.  Today, she attacks a topic critical to graduate student survival: free food and where to find it.  With no further ado, I’ll let Cindy reveal these important nutritional resources.

Let’s face it: everyone enjoys eating free food!  Around Fletcher, there are many opportunities for students to keep themselves fueled and fed throughout the semester.  Here are some suggestions for how to do just that:

  • There’s a Social Hour scheduled every Thursday, sponsored by a different club or organization on campus each week.
  • Dean Sheehan holds a pizza lunch once per month.  This is a great way to hear about Fletcher news, voice your opinion about what could make Fletcher a better school, and also get to know your school leadership and peers.
  • A couple of times each month, the International Security Studies Program hosts guest speaker events that students can sign up for in advance.  Business attire is required, and lunch is served.  Keep in mind there are cancellation policies for these luncheons!
  • Throughout the semester, various student clubs will sponsor events and lunch will often be provided at the event.
  • If students don’t manage to eat all the food at an event, any leftovers will typically be placed in the Hall of Flags coat nook.  Free!  But also first come, first served.
  • Evening events that take place in the main ASEAN auditorium are often followed by an open/cash bar with hors d’oeuvres.
  • There are many end-of-semester events with free food, which comes in handy when you’re studying hard for exams!  Check the Social List for any updates on free food around this time.  The Office of Career Services has been known to bring in homemade cookies at the end of the semester.
  • Free food isn’t confined to Fletcher.  Plenty of Tufts-wide events include a free meal, too!

Of course, where it comes to lectures, book talks, conferences, and meetings, the hope is that students will attend for the opportunity to learn and discuss, not simply to eat.  But a free meal is a nice added bonus!

Tagged with:
 

It’s hard to believe, but the first of the students to arrive (aside from those who are on campus for a quick English brush-up) will start the pre-session courses on August 14, less than two weeks from today!  Yikes!  That’s how the summer goes: slow…slow…slow FAST!  FAST!  FAST!  Before we know it, Orientation will be here.  And timed for the pre-session and Orientation arrivals, I have some new-student advice for you from Cindy, our advice-offering Graduate Assistant.  Back in the spring, I asked her to think about the things that would have been handy to know before she arrived for her first year of study.  We like to think that we provide all the key info in official correspondence, so Cindy’s list drills down to some lesser known but still important points.

Between Orientation, pre-session courses, shopping day, and moving into a new apartment or Blakeley Hall, starting Fletcher life can be overwhelming.  Have no fear!  We have compiled a list of useful tidbits that are often overlooked during the hectic start of Fletcher study.  We hope you find this collection of somewhat random tips to be helpful when making your transition to Fletcher.

  • At the beginning of the year, you’ll be assigned a locker.  This is a great place to keep your tea, snacks, and maybe even a change of clothes/shoes for when you really need them.
  • Technology troubles?  The Ginn Library lends out cell phone chargers, computer chargers, and laptops.
  • Don’t forget to join the Social List early on!  Students (and even staff) send out emails to the Fletcher family to find used textbooks, post jobs/internships, get a Tylenol when they have a headache, or promote an event on/off campus.  You can ask the Social List pretty much anything and you will get a response!
  • There are two microwaves that are free for Fletcher students to use: one in Mugar Café and another in the Cabot lower level.
  • We have a compost bin in the coat-hanging nook of the Hall of Flags for all of our environment-friendly folk.
  • A prime study spot is the third floor study room in Ginn Library.  This does need to be booked online through the Ginn Library website.
  • There’s a new coffee machine next to Mugar Computer Lab if you are in a rush and need your caffeine.  The coffee is nicely priced!
  • If you have a bike (which is very useful for getting around campus), you can register it with the Tufts Police Department for free — an added layer of security.  And there are several bike racks near our buildings, for those who bike-commute to campus.
  • You have free access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office Suite.

Returning to point #3, contact the Social List for info on any of these points or to ask returning students more questions about student life.

Tagged with:
 

As a service to the prospective applicants to Fletcher who are already reading the blog but who don’t yet know about the Rangel Fellowship Program, let me share some information we received Thursday from the Rangel organization.

First, there will be 30 new Rangel Fellows chosen in 2018.  The fellows will receive a scholarship of up to $37,500 annually toward tuition, fees, and living expenses.

Second, the application deadline is SEPTEMBER 21.  You’ll find the application here.

For those who are truly unfamiliar with these awards, Rangel Fellows receive support for their graduate studies in exchange for several years of service in the U.S. Department of State.  Learn more about the program from the Rangel website, Twitter, and Facebook.

If that arrangement (fellowship in exchange for future work for the State Department) sounds familiar, you may already have heard about the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship.  In the past, the Pickering organization has used a January deadline.  Keep an eye on the website for more information about applying.

And, not so different, is the USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship, which similarly supports a student’s expenses in exchange for several years of employment with the U.S. Agency for International Development.  The Payne Fellowship application deadline has also been in January in the past.

All of these programs are open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only.  If your career goals would take you in a completely different direction, then they’re not for you.  But if you fall in one of their targeted groups and if you would be interested in a State Department or USAID career, it’s well worth applying.

Tagged with:
 

Spam prevention powered by Akismet