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Many Fletcher students arrive with families in tow, and Kristen provides the perfect summer (or fall) suggestion for them.
My summer might be slightly less adventurous than some of my colleagues, but with good reason: I have two young children, so every day is its own special kind of adventure. However, we still manage to have a lot of fun as Boston is a wonderful city for families. Some of our top choices:
We’ll hit our favorite spray parks (parks with sprinklers) frequently — Artesani and Beaver Brook. A new one on our must-go list is Palmer State Park, which has both great hiking and sprinklers for the kids.
There are quite a few public (free!) pools around, but one of my favorites for easy accessibility (right on the red line of the T) is the McCrehan Memorial Pool in Cambridge. Also near to campus is Dilboy pool, which offers season passes.
We also like going to nearby beaches. Sandy Beach (also called Shannon Beach is close and easy for a quick drive. For a longer day, Wingaersheek Beach is perfect for kiddos, as the water is calm and shallow. Followed up by a visit to a local clam shack, this is the perfect New England day.
Next, Christine describes a great place that should be on everyone’s weekend list for September/October.
Summer in Boston is my favorite time of year. Yes, all the seasons are lovely (even winter has its charms), but summer in the city really reminds me why I have made this place my home. I have a long list of favorite activities, but one that is high on my list is the South End Open Market @SOWA. SOWA Market is the trifecta of summer fun with an arts market, farmer’s market, and food truck area all rolled into one convenient location. The best part may be that the market is open until October, so you can stretch out the summer fun into the school year! (For your local knowledge, SOWA refers to South of Washington Street.)
In the arts market you can find all sorts of handmade treasures by local artists. I am particularly fond of the artists who make greeting cards and other paper products. The farmer’s market is home to local produce, fresh pasta, meat and eggs, and plenty of other confections. I am always finding something new to indulge in! Make sure you bring some cash and re-useable bags. While even the smallest farm stands seem to take credit cards now, it is always good to have some cash on hand.
The food truck section alone is worth the trip. My favorites include: The Dining Car, The Bacon Truck, and Tenoch (which also has a brick and mortar location right by Fletcher and another one on the way!). The trucks are set up so you can wander through and eat as much or as little as you like.
Hope you find some time to spend at SOWA! You can always stop by the office to share any new treats you get!
Those are the summer suggestions from my Admissions pals. Because there’s still plenty of time for me to offer my own picks this summer, I won’t provide a specific suggestion today. But what I’d like to point out is that Boston, and even the “greater Boston area” is a wonderfully manageable size. Within an hour are coastal locations as diverse as Hampton Beach (Dan’s pick) and Wingaersheek Beach (Kristen’s rather calmer suggestion). There’s theater in the round (Laurie’s North Shore Music Theatre) and theater outdoors (Liz’s Shakespeare on the Common). Even students who regularly get out into the community will barely scratch the surface of all there is to do here.
Continuing the theme from yesterday’s post, the Admissions team shares its favorite summer locations.
First up today is Dan, who rarely demonstrates such an alarming familiarity with reality TV, as he describes his favorite local beach location. Because who doesn’t want to get to the beach in the summer?!
Something I’ve learned from being married to a New Jersey native is that you can get the girl out of New Jersey, but you can’t get the Jersey out of the girl (believe me, I’ve tried). As such, our household gets an occasional hankering for some boardwalk time. While it’s technically possible to GTL and reach the Jersey Shore from Massachusetts in a weekend, it’s a long trip that would leave barely enough time for a fist pump or two, arrest, booking, arraignment, bail, and release while still making it back by Sunday evening.
Fortunately there’s a closer, and weirder, New England alternative. Only an hour from Tufts, New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach, is “the busiest beach community in the state” according to Wikipedia. That may be a dubious honor given the extent of the limited New Hampshire coastline, but not for nothin’, as its Jersey compatriots would say.
Hampton’s stretch of boardwalk isn’t huge; maybe two or three blocks. What it lacks in size, though, it makes up for in age. It only takes a few minutes’ stroll to feel like you’re more likely to bump into Nucky Thompson than The Situation. While you won’t find roller coasters or amusement piers here, you will find an assortment of creaky wood-floored arcades featuring some of the 80s’ most popular video games, shooting galleries that look like they employ live rounds, and basketball shot contests that use actual peach baskets (okay, I made that last one up). The overarching aesthetic is amusement park hand-me-down chic.
Lest this seem like a backhanded burn of our northern neighbors, I’ll emphasize that Hampton Beach is, in my view, about as pleasant as a boardwalk can get. It’s close, small, and manageable, has some historical flavor and, best of all, it generally lacks the aggressive crassness of most other boardwalks. Doable in even a half day, it’s also loaded with great seafood joints, probably worth the trip by themselves.
After the beach, what could be better than the ice cream options that Theresa describes?
Lazy summer days lounging out back on the deck always bring back floods of childhood memories involving evening ice cream. This was especially true the other evening, when somewhere off in the near distance, I could hear calliope music from an ice cream truck drifting through air as the truck made its way toward our street. Back in the day, on any given summer evening, nearly all the kids in the neighborhood flocked to that white, stickered ice cream truck like little moths to a square flame — waiting for our turn to pick out our favorite ice cream treat. I always liked the lemon Italian ice. It was cool and refreshing and took my mind off the mosquitoes biting my legs. Just as most of us had reached the bottom of our cones or cups of ice cream, our mothers would urge us back inside and away from the mosquitoes.
So many wonderful summers have come and gone since then. Fast forward 25 years and oddly, things are only slightly different. The calliope music still plays as kids flock to the ice cream truck. They smile and laugh while waiting for their turn to pick out their favorite ice cream treat, and not long after that, the other Moms and I, who have been chatting, start urging our kids back inside.
Ice cream trucks can be hard to find, but ice cream is always a local favorite. If there’s no truck near you, try J.P. Licks, right near campus in Davis Square, or head further down to block to iYO Café. From a truck or a storefront, you can’t go wrong with ice cream in the summer.
Summer is when I like to ask my Admissions pals to share a little about themselves on the blog. Naturally, when we’re writing in the summer, we lean toward writing about the summer. My assignment for the team, then, was to describe a favorite summer activity — one that incoming students might pursue next summer, or even in the spring and fall.
First up, Liz, who has written about what is likely to be my own activity this evening.
One of my favorite things to do each summer is attend one of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s free performances of Shakespeare on the Common. Shakespeare on the Common, taking place in the historic park at the heart of the city, has been a Boston summer tradition since 1996, and has featured many different plays. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy some culture with friends. You can simply pull up a blanket or beach chair, bring your own picnic, and enjoy a fantastic evening of theater! Moreover, I really like the mission of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, which is “dedicated to performing the works of William Shakespeare in vital and contemporary productions that are presented free of charge to Boston’s diverse communities, and to educating Boston’s youth not only about Shakespeare but also about their own potential for creativity.” If you have the opportunity, definitely check it out! This summer’s production is King Lear, which will run from July 22-August 9.
Next, Laurie suggests another option for area theater lovers.
If you love musical theater, here is something to consider in the Boston area. My family has had season tickets to the North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) for many, many years. There are small regional theaters of very high quality all over New England and the North Shore Music Theatre is one of the best! NSMT is located in Beverly, Massachusetts — 23 miles north of Tufts and approximately a 30-40 minute drive. It has been around since 1955 and has a great reputation. Plus, ticket prices are reasonable (and parking is free!). Renovated in 2005, the theater is round with a center stage and has 1500 seats — there’s not a bad seat in the house! In addition, the actors make use of the entire space so you really feel part of the show. The 2015 season started off with Dream Girls — always a crowd pleaser! The rest of the 2015-16 season includes Saturday Night Fever the Musical, Billy Elliot, and Sister Act. Each summer NSMT produces a great family show as well. This year it was Shrek the Musical. I took my four-year-old nephew, who was able to sit still through the entire show! The NSMT season always ends with an amazing production of A Christmas Carol, a great show that coincides with the end of Fletcher’s fall semester. Check it out!
What with trying to keep up with all that’s happening at Fletcher, and sharing the interesting paths of students, alumni, and faculty, I don’t pause often enough during the academic year to comment on our neighborhood. Today, when I should otherwise be reading applications, seems like the perfect moment to share something I love about this region.
On Tuesday, I meandered over to Harvard Square for a reading by Nick Hornby, an author I like and who has a new book. The organizers of the event reminded the audience to support local independent bookstores. That made me think about how lucky we are to have these treasures in our midst.
There are actually many independents around, but I’m just going to highlight two that are particularly close to Fletcher. One is Harvard Book Store, which organized the event on Tuesday — easily reached by bus from campus or subway from Davis Square. The other is Porter Square Books, an even shorter bus or subway ride from Tufts. Both stores offer a full calendar of events, and I’ve enjoyed talks by Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, and others. As someone who writes short things with an even shorter life, it’s inspiring to listen to real authors — whose work is to create something complex and lasting — talk about how they do it.
I’m well aware that Fletcher students don’t have abundant time for leisure reading, but I still think it’s great to live in an area that values books and can sustain independent bookstores.
The next member of the Class of 2009 to update us on her first five years after graduating from Fletcher is Sandy Kreis. In addition to the details she provides below, Sandy told me that she has two new affiliations. First, she is a visiting lecturer this semester at Tufts, teaching a course on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Startups for the Ex College. And she is also the Entrepreneur in Residence at Blade, a startup foundry that invests in consumer product software and hardware startups.
After graduating from Georgetown cum laude in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, I found myself working long hours as a lead litigation legal assistant at Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York. During my time at Shearman, I started wondering why the thousands of pages I printed each day did not use recycled paper and why the lights were on 24/7 in vacant conference rooms. This rising passion for corporate social responsibility, coupled with my assignment to the Enron litigation and a new-found interest in electricity markets, led me to a job in Los Angeles with Environment America’s VIP outreach campaigns.
While in LA, my main task was to cultivate a network of high net-worth members of the arts and entertainment communities and galvanize interest around climate change advocacy. My work culminated in a fundraiser at the home of movie director Paul Haggis, where the director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” Davis Guggenheim, addressed the crowd of over 100 celebrity activists. Over $30,000 was raised to fight for climate change legislation in Sacramento. Following these two different but extraordinarily useful jobs, I enrolled at Fletcher to better understand how policy impacts the deployment and growth of clean energy markets. I was drawn to Fletcher because it was one of the only esteemed academic institutions that would allow me to pursue my interest in energy policy in an global context.
Once I arrived at Blakeley Hall, I hit the ground running. It was not long before I joined forces with my classmate Jan Havránek, who had a specific interest in energy security, to launch the Fletcher Energy Consortium. I focused on taking all of the core courses of a traditional MBA program while simultaneously learning anything and everything I could about cleantech policy and technology innovation. I benefited deeply from the burgeoning cleantech scene in Boston, driven strongly by the policies created in 2008 on Beacon Hill, including the Green Jobs Act and the Green Communities Act.
Between my first and second years at Fletcher, I interned right down the road in Kendall Square at Emerging Energy Research (EER), a startup-advisory firm that tracks renewable energy markets for wind, solar, geothermal, and storage developers. I joined the North America Renewable Power Team and focused specifically on how state Renewable Portfolio Standards policies impact the demand created for clean energy development. This was my first toe-dip into the innovation and startup ecosystem in Boston, and I was hooked.
At the end of my two years as a MALD, I said goodbye to some of the best friends and contemporaries a woman could ask for and joined EER as a full-time analyst. Within a few months, we were acquired by IHS and joined forces with Cambridge Energy Research Associates, where I had the pleasure of working with fellow Fletcher alums and delving deeper into how oil and gas markets affect the potential advancement of renewable energy deployment. After two years at EER, I left for New York City where I joined the Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (ACRE) to brainstorm ways to diversify the City’s first cleantech-focused incubator into its next phase of development.
While at ACRE, I joined an incubated company, CB Insights, as the Greentech Program Manager. In the Spring of 2012, I was back in Boston as a judge of the MIT Clean Energy Prize where I met my future boss, mentor, and friend, Jim Bowen, the husband of a Fletcher alum. Jim poached me from New York and brought me back to Boston to work on the business development and international relations team at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a quasi-government state agency charged with supporting the 5,500 clean energy companies here in the Commonwealth. It was at this time that I was designated an Emerging Leader in Energy & Environmental Policy (ELEEP) by the Atlantic Council and the EcoLogic Institute.
At MassCEC, I conceptualized, managed, and executed multiple innovative, new-growth initiatives designed to drive business for early stage companies in line with our larger strategic goals. This includes managing an annual budget of $2.5M and leading teams of over 20+ employees (from marketing, communications, legal, etc.) by acting as the central manager of the Boston Cleanweb Hackathon and the Global Cleantech Meetup. Perhaps most Fletcher-esque, I had the honor of accompanying Governor Deval Patrick on seven “innovation diplomacy” economic development missions. I successfully identified, pitched, and sold various international collaborations and events with the core goal of creating tangible relationships for the Commonwealth’s cleantech companies. On each trip, from Tokyo to Mexico City, I ran into Fletcher alumni who were either working in the target market or staffing the Embassy as a subject-matter expert. One highlight was meeting Colombian President Juan Santos F81 in Bogota and saying in Spanish, “I too am a proud Fletcher alum.” The alumni network is strong.
My tenure at MassCEC came to an end in August of 2014. These days, I am working on various projects in the innovation ecosystem here in the Commonwealth, from Descience — a startup that matches scientists with fashion designers to bring “research to the runway” — to advising a handful of cleantech and digital technology companies. The global network I have cultivated since I landed at Fletcher in 2007 has been instrumental in advancing my career to where it is today. Never forget, it is the people that make the journey, so cultivate them, and do so wisely.
At the end of the spring semester, Liam, one of our student bloggers, offered an end-of-year post. I eagerly grabbed it, but I’ve held it until now because it reflects both Liam’s first year at Fletcher and also his suggestions for incoming students. I’ll just note that Liam wrote his post when the Red Sox season was looking a little brighter than it is now!
Sitting here, finally having some time to reflect on the blur that is the spring semester, I’m at a loss to describe what an incredible experience my first year at Fletcher has been. A few words come to mind — demanding, challenging, (extremely) busy — but what it really boils down to is one of the most remarkable and rewarding years I’ve had. From making new friends, to learning an incredible amount about the world in which we live, to taking the time to really comprehend my life’s journey to this point, this year at Fletcher was incredible. Taking all that into consideration, I thought about the experiences I’m glad I’ve had both in and out of school, and I wanted to share a few “musts” for students at Fletcher.
1. Go to Fletcher events. From culture nights, to the Blakeley Halloween party, to The Los Fletcheros concerts, to simple gatherings of friends on a Friday, some of the best times to be had at Fletcher are outside the classroom. Taking the time to relax and get to know my classmates has been so incredibly rewarding. Time goes by pretty fast here and it will be over before you know it, so enjoy it while you can.
2. Go to the Boston Marathon. I was blessed with the opportunity to run this year through the Tufts Marathon Team, but if running for four(-ish) hours is not your cup of tea, experiencing the event is still an absolute must. Over a million fans lining the street for over 26 miles, coming together in support of the city and the runners, was just an indescribable thing to see. The Boston Marathon is, in my eyes, the most egalitarian sporting event in the world and it is not to be missed.
3. Go watch the Red Sox. I might be a bit biased as a life-long Sox fan, but anyone who spends time in Boston should experience Fenway Park. Especially after the Sox won the 2013 World Series, taking in an afternoon or evening at “America’s Favorite Ballpark” is a great distraction from school, and singing “Sweet Caroline” with 36,000 friends is pretty great, too.
4. Get to know Boston. Boston is so full of history and culture — it’s critical to get out and see it. Running along the Esplanade on the Charles River, exploring the Freedom Trail, relaxing at Boston Common, going to concerts — there is so much to do year-round in the city, so putting down the books and getting out is something you just have to do.
5. Get out of Boston. New England offers a ton of things to do. Whale watching off Cape Cod, skiing in Maine, hiking in New Hampshire, seeing the foliage in the fall, these are just a few of the awesome things this area of the country offers. Taking a backpacking trip out in the Berkshires during spring break was probably the most relaxing thing I’ve done in the past year, and it was vital to helping me reset to finish the semester strong.
In summary, it’s been an incredible year — one I wouldn’t trade for the world — and I’m looking forward to a 2014-15 academic year that is just as incredible and memorable.
This is a midweek version of one of my “what I did on my weekend” posts.
I was at Fletcher through the early evening last night, attending a farewell event for 11 high school students and one accompanying mentor teacher from Iraq. They were in the Boston area through the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP), and the organization that arranged their Boston home stays also arranged for them to have the World Peace Foundation offices as their home base. When it came time to celebrate, I helped them arrange space and a meal at Fletcher.
My family connected itself to IYLEP in 2010, when my daughter was one of the U.S. students who, that year, participated alongside the Iraqis. We’ve continued as a host family, and Sara, Hiba, and Hadeel, the three students we hosted this month, join our four other Iraqi friends as members of the family. Along the way, I’ve gathered a volume of knowledge on halal butchers and restaurants in the area (as well as the rules for halal) and Iraqi tastes in food (nothing spicy, please). We’ve figured out where some potential host/IYLEPer challenges might exist, and we search for new ways to prevent misunderstandings. The men in my family know to announce themselves before going in the part of the house where women might be relaxing without their hijabs. The exchange of knowledge definitely goes both ways! And we also have fun — the beach, the Boston Harbor, the Museum of Fine Arts, two barbeques, trips to Indian/Pakistani and Italian restaurants, Chinese take-out (and many fortune cookies), three rounds of pasta, quesadillas, and quiche — all shared with our new friends.
At the farewell event last night, we started off by hearing the reflections of each of the participants. If I had to capture the overall theme, I’d say that that they were initially VERY nervous about their home stays, but they quickly found that their fears were misplaced, and now they see the Boston area as their U.S. home. After the speech-making, we shifted to Fletcher’s Mugar Café for a meal. When all had eaten, the group cleared a small space and started dancing. First, traditional Iraqi dancing. And then…a dozen teens dancing to “Gangnam Style” and doing the “Harlem Shake.” One of the boys pogoed around on one arm in a dazzling bit of break dancing. Such random bits of popular culture that have been embraced by Iraqi kids!
And then the event was over, and everyone went home to pack (and for some, repack, if bags were too heavy). We dropped them off this morning for their flight to the final phase of their stay in the U.S., when they will be in Washington, D.C.
It was such a pleasure to welcome the group and their host families to Fletcher. They searched out the Iraqi flag in the Hall of Flags, and I pointed out to some the profile of Farah Pandith F’95 — whose work I thought might interest them — in our new Hallway of Fame. All in all, last night and the two weeks that preceded represent one of those nice times when my work life and my home life fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.
About a month ago, I wondered why I would ever have written about my own weekends during past summers. A week ago, I was reminded of the answer: with students and faculty out and about, by mid-summer, I’m starting to run short of blog topics. So why not highlight the fun things you can do in Our Neighborhood by writing about what I actually do.
The weekend’s July 4 Independence Day holiday in the Boston area started on the 3rd and continued through the 5th. With Hurricane Arthur working its way up the East Coast, organizers of the traditional July 4 celebration in Boston decided that moving the event forward to July 3 gave them the best chance of delivering the Boston Pops performance and fireworks display that locals and tourists would expect. They made a good call, and managed to complete nearly all of the program before the first of the rains arrived. Other towns postponed their celebrations to July 5, with the result that the holiday seemed to last for three days instead of one. (Boston, with its important role in the Revolutionary War, offers plenty of activities for the 4th.)
The hurricane passed well to the east of Massachusetts. It rained and rained on Friday, but that was pretty much the story. We woke up on Saturday to a fantastic day. Paul (my husband) and I were glad that our plan to visit George’s Island was looking good, so off we went to grab the ferry. About 45 minutes after the boat pulled away from the dock, we were in a place that feels both near the city and far away. Here’s the view of Boston from the island, with the buildings of Boston peeking between the sailboats.
Though we always enjoy the ride out to the Harbor Islands, this time we were motivated by a Pretty Things Beer Tasting (Pretty Things being based in Somerville), accompanied by local music. We quite liked “The Sea The Sea.”
On the ferry ride back to Boston, we saw plenty of other sea travelers, and also noted the last effects of the hurricane — gusty wind and choppy seas.
On the subway ride home, I sat across from someone who looked familiar, and who was carrying a Tufts water bottle. Maybe a Fletcher student, but not one I know. I’m going to try to figure it out, having passed on the opportunity to ask while we were on the train.
Sunday morning found us at our favorite beach in Revere, where the special on the seagulls’ menu was crab. They stood on rocks, waiting for the crabs to walk by, and then grabbed their breakfast. It’s an urban beach, but with no shortage of wildlife.
And that’s the first of my summer weekend reports. In a morning conversation with Dean Stavridis yesterday, I sang the praises of the Boston Harbor Islands, and I hope all current and future students have a chance to ferry on over, as well as to visit Revere Beach, plan for a July 4 on the Esplanade, and explore the local beer and music scene. There’s a lot to do in the Boston area and, given the compact nature of the city, a weekend can include a range of different activities.
There was so much excitement coming out of Brazil this weekend, but I’m still surprised at how caught up I’ve been in World Cup results. If nothing else, it’s a great way to connect with people.
On my way into work this morning, I chatted with Jean-Yves, a 2014 graduate who will be in town for a few more weeks, and we compared notes. He’s been organizing his time around each day’s game schedule. Needless to say, he’ll be watching this afternoon’s match between France and Nigeria.
On Saturday, we were at our favorite beach in Revere, a town that is home to many people who hail from somewhere else, and yellow jerseys were the attire of choice. I didn’t realize initially that the sea of yellow was divided between supporters of Brazil and Colombia — plenty of celebrating going on.
On Sunday, a friend posted a photo from the downtown watering hole where she had joined other former residents of the Netherlands to watch the game against Mexico. She pointed to the typically Dutch collection of bicycles parked outside.
Of course, the Netherlands won, but I was torn in my friendly loyalties, and I also felt the pain of friends (and Fletcher grads) from Mexico.
Around the office, Dan has strong connections to Latin America (where he just returned from a trip to Guatemala) and we chatted this morning about various moments of happiness and heartbreak as he cheered on his teams. Christine is dressed in red, white, and blue to show her dedication to the U.S. squad.
At home, enthusiasm for England’s chances waned quickly, and naturally we’ll all plan to watch the U.S. play Belgium tomorrow. But, between living in an area that draws people from around the world, and working at a graduate school that has a multinational population as an aspect of its core mission, it’s easy to find myself cheering for someone else’s preferred team. It’s a soccer/fútbol tournament, but it’s also an opportunity for each nation’s fans and dual citizens in the local area to share their cheer and sadness following each game.
Last week, my cousin’s husband, Ian, became a U.S. citizen. When I heard that he had finally (after 20+ years) gone through the citizenship test and other processes, and that the ceremony at which he would take the Naturalization Oath would be sometime in the spring, I immediately booked myself in.
My husband, Paul, became a citizen some years back, and I found the ceremony to be really meaningful. Ian’s ceremony had the advantage of being in a special location — Boston’s Faneuil Hall, with a history dating to 1742, and currently a National Historic site that is still used for public events.
The day started off with a round of paperwork for each of the soon-to-be citizens.
Once all of that was complete, a judge turned up and talked about the meaning of citizenship, before he administered the oath for the new citizens.
Visitors were up in the gallery, with good views of the artwork around the Hall.
The 296 new U.S. citizens came from about 80 nations, ranging alphabetically from Albania to Vietnam. The judge had them stand up as he called the name of their home country. From my vantage point, it appeared the largest cluster was from Brazil, but most of the countries were represented by one or two new citizens. There’s a rich international mix in the Boston area.
There’s even a Fletcher angle to this story. As we walked outside after the ceremony, I heard someone calling my name. It was Byron, a Fletcher alum whom I had recently seen at a reunion event. His wife, originally from the Netherlands, was also sworn in on Thursday.
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