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Once upon of time, The Fletcher Forum was Fletcher’s premiere print publication — our twice-yearly journal of international affairs.  These days, The Forum is still Fletcher’s premiere print publication, but with a robust online presence.  And just last week, the editors of The Forum contacted me to share this news.

Some of you may already be aware of The Fletcher Forum, the student-managed journal of international affairs published at Fletcher since 1976.  This year’s editorial team has made a major effort to expand The Forum’s digital media offerings, and we’re happy to highlight the release of the first episode of The Fletcher Forum podcast.  You can find it here or (soon) in iTunes.

This short episode features a behind-the-scenes roundtable with some of the managing editors discussing the production of The Forum’s winter edition, which focused on “dueling narratives and the global battle for truth.”  Released in January, the winter issue features analytical articles from expert contributors as well as interviews with guests such as Lord Michael Dobbs, author of House of Cards.  You can read that interview online and hear more about the conversation on the podcast.  Have a listen, and keep an eye out for future episodes.

Why launch a podcast?  These comments from the editorial staff shed light on the question.

Colin Steele, F18, Managing Editor for Digital Affairs:  “Podcasts are a popular medium for many of us and our peers, and the format allows us to tell new kinds of stories in new ways.  Most of all, they’re a lot of fun to produce.”

Maria Selde, F18, Editor-in-Chief: “Digital media has been a big emphasis for us this year, and podcasting has been an important part of that effort.  I’m proud of our team for bringing this new project to life.”

Maria Ory, F19, Producer: “Producing this podcast was a great way for me to build on my previous work experience and support The Forum‘s digital development.  I’m looking forward to continuing this project through the rest of the spring and into next year.”

The Forum invites participation from incoming students each fall.  With print, web-based, and podcast content, there are ample opportunities for students with a range of interests to get involved.

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Here’s a fun admissions-season story.  One of our current MALD students told Kristen about his visa application process.  She liked the story enough that we asked him to write it up.  Here, then, is the tale of Sebastián‘s road to Fletcher and the unexpected result of his visa interview.

I first heard about Fletcher when I was doing an internship at the Colombian Ministry of Defense in 2011.  Back then, Dean Stavridis was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and the Minister of Defense of Colombia was going to meet him on official business.  I was asked to do a profile on then-Admiral Stavridis for the Minister, and while I was researching him I learned about his Fletcher education, and the School peaked my interest.

About a year later (2012), as I was in the process of moving to Washington, DC for an internship with the Colombian Embassy, I met with my brother’s friend who had lived in the city for a few years to hear her friendly advice on DC.  As we were talking, she told me that she was not living there anymore but was visiting a few friends in town.  She was living in Medford and pursuing her graduate education at Fletcher.  I immediately remembered the school where the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO got his MALD and PhD degrees, and began asking her a lot more questions about Fletcher.  It was then that I knew that, in a few years, I wanted to come to this School.

Fast forward to early 2016, when I received my acceptance letter to Fletcher.  I was very excited and eager to begin this new chapter of my life.  A few months later during the middle of the summer, I finished up my job at the OAS in DC and went to Colombia to enjoy some time at home and arrange my student visa.  I went to the appointment at the U.S. Embassy and approached the Consular officer in charge.  As soon as he saw my paperwork, his face lit up with a smile and he began speaking to me in Spanish saying: “You’re are going to Fletcher!  I went to Fletcher!”

He was very happy and excited and told me that I was going to love it.  He also talked about some of his Fletcher experiences.  This coincidence was amazing and made me feel an immediate sense of belonging to the School.  Afterwards, he said that he would throw a going-away party for me before I went back to the U.S., and that he would invite some of the Fletcher alumni in Bogotá.

A few weeks later I was invited to his place, where a bunch of Fletcher alumni from different class years and nationalities were brought together to bid farewell to an unknown guy (me), soon to join this big family.  They all spoke about their experiences while at Fletcher, their challenges, and what life after Fletcher has been for them.  All of them offered some “Fletcher advice” and then finished by saying how much they loved their time here, and how it really opened doors moving forward.  This opportunity gave me a chance to feel all the Fletcher love before I officially arrived, and it proved to be a very good omen of what my time here has become: pure joy and intellectual challenge.

The Consular Officer, Patrick (far left), and Sebastian (far right) along with two alumni and PhD candidate Roxani (next to Sebastian).

 

Students returned yesterday from their Spring Break week and I think we all share a common shock that we can see the end of the semester ahead of us.  On the other hand, January seems so long ago.  Today, Student Stories writer Kaitlyn reports on her second semester in the MALD program, one in which she has tested her organizational abilities.

It is spring semester at Fletcher, and I am the equivalent of a “sophomore” in my MALD degree, with a quarter of the program behind me.  Naturally, I did the exact same thing with my class schedule that I did as an actual sophomore in undergraduate.

I thought too many classes were interesting and decided: Heck, I’ll just take them all.

Fletcher allows you to do two cool things: take an extra half-credit class once in your MALD program, and audit language classes next door at Tufts’ Olin Center.  I wanted to do an extra half credit now, so I could have an easier schedule next year when I do my capstone project.  And I wanted to audit a French class so I could have a bit more practice before my internship this summer.

When I scheduled my classes, I ended up finding three half-credit courses that looked interesting.  Those, plus French, left me with a schedule of seven classes for the semester: three full-semester classes at Fletcher, French, and three half-semester modules.  (Most people take only four or five classes each semester.)  All of my friends who saw my schedule looked at me like I had three heads.  I admit: it did become somewhat of a juggling act during midterms, but it was not half as bad as people assumed.  And a major reason I was able to manage that course load was organization.  I made two big decisions that made my semester go much smoother: I optimized my study space, and I planned each week so I could balance studying and free time.

My Study Space

During my first semester, I had my desk in my room, which wasn’t the best place to study.  I felt too comfortable to do work.  And then in my free time I was constantly looking at my desk, thinking about work.  So I was less productive and more stressed.  This semester, I decided I needed to change it up a bit.

Bless my roommate.  She was very accommodating and let me move my desk into the corner of our common room.  And she let me put up two calendars up on the bigger wall out there.  I had a dry-erase calendar for the month, and a huge weekly schedule of sticky-notes over the desk.  This helped me develop a really organized study routine.  Every Sunday I wrote down the new weekly schedule, and each morning I could check both calendars as I walked out the door.  It was much more efficient for me than leafing through a weekly planner that often got lost in my backpack.  Having a clear separation of my work and my study space also meant I was more productive when I studied.  And it meant I got to leave my school work — even my laptop — in a different room at the end of the day.  That helped me feel more relaxed in my free time.

A Balanced Week

Every week, I had an average of three classes a day, Monday to Thursday.  And starting in March I had one class on Fridays, too.  It meant that generally, I had readings to do every night.  That was a long week by anyone’s standards and I knew I needed to make sure I didn’t get burned out.  So I had one goal: plan one night off in the middle of the week.  I found that it made me more productive when I had something to look forward to, and it was a great way to make sure I could go to extracurricular events: Social Hour on Thursdays; 101 discussions on historical issues that the Student Council organized; and parties hosted by other Fletcher folks.  The best one was the celebration of China’s Spring Festival that my roommate helped organize in February.  I planned my week around that party, and had time to bake a cake for it, too.

I also had to get creative about my study time.  Mondays, when I had four classes, even working at my reorganized desk was a struggle.  So I got off campus.  Davis Square is a lovely 20-minute walk from Fletcher and it has great coffee shops, perfect for getting my class readings done after my long Monday schedule.  There is also Mugar Café in the Fletcher building, which became my go-to place to study between classes.  It’s also close to everything, which was excellent for taking study breaks to head to on-campus events.  My favorite event was the Puppy Kissing booth that Ginn Library hosted for Valentine’s day.  (Nothing is better for productivity than spending time with a puppy.  Fact.)

All in all, managing my seven classes is just as much about my study time as it is about my non-study time.  I love all my classes, and though I’ll happily not take so many in future semesters, I don’t regret the packed schedule in the slightest.

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This is Spring Break week — one of the quietest work weeks of the year.  Though we know that plenty of our students are on or near campus, they’re not hanging out in the Hall of Flags.  Of the students who are traveling, a bunch are on student-organized treks.

There’s the team looking chilly in Russia:

And the business-attired group in Mexico:

And the travelers in Israel/Palestine:

It’s only relatively recently that student-organized treks have proliferated.  Guidelines were just adopted to ensure the safety of all participants.  Given the popularity of these three trips and the Japan trek over winter break, I imagine that more adventures are yet to come!

 

To close out this week of discussing and releasing decisions, I’m going to turn to the real heart of Fletcher — our students, staff, and faculty.  In this third post drawn from a student-compiled feature, meet the community!

Yiyi (first-year MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I’m currently studying negotiation skills, development economics, and how to analyze regional and internal conflicts at Fletcher, while taking Arabic language classes at Tufts.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I taught English in rural Yunnan, China for two years.  I was also actively involved in teachers’ training, and education projects that brought educational resources and activities to campus.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province on the east coast of China.  I completed my high school and college degrees in Minnesota, U.S.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I really loved the national parks in Maine when I visited.

Who are your favorite writers?
Chinese writer Lu Xun; Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a teacher.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Compared to my fellow classmates, I had very limited exposure to international diplomacy, regional politics, and international law.  It’s both a challenge and an opportunity.  My learning curve has quite a good slope. 🙂

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I love engaging in stimulating conversations with my classmates, and to be able to see the same problem from different perspectives.

Cindy (second-year MALD, and Admissions Graduate Intern!)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am concentrating in International Security Studies and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.  In particular, I am interested in U.S.-Russia relations and U.S. policy towards Russia and Eurasia.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked as a 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in rural eastern North Carolina through Teach For America.  I taught for three years alongside my husband, who is also an alumnus of Teach For America.

Where are you from?
I was born in New York, but moved down to Spring Hill, Florida when I was still a baby.  I grew up in Spring Hill, which is north of Tampa, and I definitely love orange juice and the Florida Gators!

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
When I was traveling to Russia for the first time, I had the opportunity to visit Yasnaya Polyana which is the museum-estate of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.  It was surreal to be walking around the estate, especially after having just read War and Peace.

Who are your favorite writers?
My favorite writers are actually children’s novelists, which stems from my time as an elementary school teacher.  I loved Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, and Shel Silverstein as a kid and enjoyed reading from their books to my students.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My husband Brian has been my greatest source of inspiration.  We have been together and have been best friends for the past seven years.  He motivates me to step out of my comfort zone, supports me when I am lacking confidence, and pushes me to achieve my goals.  Having him as a partner has positively changed my perspective on life, and I will always be grateful for him!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Becoming a Teach For America alumna is my greatest professional achievement.  A personal achievement was when I completed a half-marathon.  (I ran the whole time and didn’t stop!)

Which living person do you most admire?
I know this question asks for a “person,” but I would have to say both of my parents.  They have worked so hard their entire lives to raise five (yes, five) determined, successful, and incredible women.  Their sacrifices for my sisters and me have no bounds, and they are the reason I am pursuing my career goals at Fletcher.  Now that all my siblings and I are finally out of the house, I hope they can get the rest and relaxation they finally deserve!

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
The biggest challenge I have faced during my time at Fletcher has been prioritizing what is important to me.  There are countless guest speakers, book talks, information sessions, club meetings, and library workshops that all tend to overlap.  But then you have to focus on what you came to Fletcher for and make sure you complete your readings, meet with your professors, attend group meetings, and submit assignments.  Finding a balance between what is important to me and what is necessary is a struggle, but I am grateful for the abundance of opportunities at Fletcher.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Some of my most favorite moments at Fletcher have been performing at the Fletcher winter and spring recitals.  It always feels wonderful and gratifying to work hard on a song with a group of friends and see your work pay off during the performance.  It is also beautiful to see the variety of talent that Fletcher has in its faculty, staff, and student body.

Megan (PhD candidate)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am a PhD candidate in Development Economics and Econometric Impact Evaluation (self-designed field).

What did you do before Fletcher?
Prior to coming to Fletcher I worked for four years in grassroots development in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, both as a Peace Corps Volunteer and working for a small local non-profit.  I did my MALD in 2010-2012 and then worked as an economist for three years at the World Bank, where I designed and implemented several randomized control trial evaluations on public health and access to justice programs in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Boston, MA in Roslindale and Dorchester.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
There is a beach within a national park on the Dominican-Haitian Border called Bahia de las Aguilas.  It is a pristine beach formed where a desert meets the Caribbean.  The water is turquoise and the white sand feels like it goes on forever.

Who are your favorite writers?
I mostly read non-fiction, so I don’t have a favorite author, but I love reading about the history of civil disobedience and organizing efforts in the U.S., and also more recently about psychology.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My parents for sure.  Both are social justice activists, my dad in the labor movement as a union organizer and my mother working on a host of social issues in Boston, from public childcare to immigrant and refugee services, all while finding their way to raise a family in the city.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Listening, day in and day out.  I am privileged to be working and researching in international development.  With that privilege comes a deep responsibility to listen and then use the tools I have to make those voices heard.  I do this through large quantitative surveys designed with input from people working on the policies I evaluate.

The other thing I am most proud of is that I really try to bring my values of social justice into all the work I do, whether that is through representing PhD students in the PhD committee here at Fletcher and working for better stipends, or organizing short-term consultants for improved labor conditions at the World Bank.  If we don’t live the values we promote internationally in our own lives, what are we doing?

Which living person do you most admire?
Ecuadorian moms and dads making it happen every day for their families while living in poverty, victims who are brave enough to come forward in Colombia and start to build peace, Haitian entrepreneurs still hopeful despite so much hardship, Dominican families that give meals away even when they don’t have much.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Getting by financially, juggling working and being a student.  The other big challenge has been figuring out what I want to do when I grow up, which I have decided may just be a question that I will always carry with me.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Throughout my time at Fletcher my favorite moments have been sitting in class feeling fully inspired by my female economist professors.  As a MALD student, dancing in Fiesta Latina and playing Fletcher Fútbol were also unforgettable moments with the awesome Fletcher community.

Tom Dannenbaum (Assistant Professor of International Law)

What do you teach at Fletcher?
International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Justice.  I’m currently deciding on the subject for my third course, which will be offered for the first time next year.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Immediately prior to Fletcher, I taught at University College London.

Where are you from?
London, UK.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
As a lawyer, I feel compelled to point out that this question poses grave interpretive difficulties.  In the absence of an overlap between my favorite place and the most unique place I’ve been or visited, it’s tempting to think the question has no answer.  That can’t be what the drafter intended.  There are, of course, ways other than overlapping in which “favorite” and “most unique” could interact in their modification of “place.”  However, the structure of the sentence doesn’t privilege one over the others and they each militate in different directions.

What, then, is the essence of the question?  Read in the context of the project overall, and informed by the nature of the other questions, it seems to be to understand something about me through my relationship to place. Since the “most unique” category says more about the place and the “favorite” category says more about me, I expect that the latter is the dominant request.

For reasons to do with the personal emotions they evoke, my favorite places are the Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco and the Pacific, Delft in the Netherlands, and Clissold Park in London.

A collateral side effect of this answer is that it should give you an idea of what it’s like to sit through one of my classes.

Who are your favorite writers?
Tim O’Brien, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jhumpa Lahiri, Harold Pinter

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My partner, Keya.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Parenting.  So far (he’s only two).

Which living person do you most admire?
If you were to go over answers to this kind of question from a few years ago, I’d wager that Aung San Suu Kyi would have been among the most popular.  Admiring an individual, rather than admiring an individual’s realization of a specific virtue in a particular context, sets one up for disappointment.

I see friends, family, colleagues, and students exhibit virtues I admire all the time.  Among those that most inspire my admiration are compassion, curiosity, integrity, and resilience.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
The perennial challenge is re-examining an idea or an argument that didn’t work.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
It’s a fantastic feeling when students have grasped a complex idea and are debating its merits from a position of mutual respect.  I’ve been fortunate to have several moments like that in my classes.

Leroy Lefleur (Associate Director of Library Services)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am the associate director of library services at Fletcher.  In that role I help to provide oversight for reference and instruction services, collection development (selecting and purchasing materials), and access services (circulation and document delivery).  I regularly meet with students and faculty to assist with research projects and teach a variety of workshops on research strategies and library resources.  I also serve on a number of Tufts library-wide committees.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Before Fletcher I held similar roles at other universities.  I came directly to Fletcher from the libraries at the University of Rochester in New York, but prior to that I managed the library for the Schar School of Policy and Government and the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in the Washington, DC area.  I am also an alum from the Schar School.

Where are you from?
I am originally from the “mitten state,” AKA Michigan, but have lived and worked in Chicago, western New York, and Washington, DC over the years.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Indonesia — more specifically Java.  I traveled around Central Java a number of years ago, and found it to be geographically beautiful with a rich and complex history, amazing people, spectacular art and culture, and incredible food.

Who are your favorite writers?
That’s a long list, but here I’ll mention James Baldwin and Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
It may be trite to say, but my mother who just passed away last summer.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Parenting is such a difficult yet rewarding task that I’d put it high on my list of greatest achievements.

Which living person do you most admire?
The Dalai Lama

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Time is always a challenge, but there are so many wonderful people at Fletcher that I wish I had the time to get to know better.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I really enjoy participating in the Annual Faculty and Staff Wait on You Dinner, so I think I’d go with that.  That said, I brought my kids to the Reunion weekend clambake last year and that was a lot of fun, too.

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Mariya is one of the busiest students I know, which makes me lucky that she continues to write for the Admissions Blog.  And not only is she busy, but she’s busy in varied international locations.  Today we’ll read about her fall and winter travels.

Hello readers, and belated Happy New Year!  My fall semester ended with reflections, and this semester, too, begins with reflections.  As I think about all the opportunities I have had at Fletcher, I cannot help but be grateful for so many unique experiences.  To give you a sense of the types of opportunities Fletcher students can pursue during their time here, I would like to highlight two international experiences that have broadened my academic horizons.

Presenting a paper in London

In November, I presented my paper titled “Religious Roots of American Democracy” at the “Democracy and Rule of Law” conference at the University of Westminster in London.  My paper explores the role of religion in the founding and shaping of American democracy and politics.  There were about 15 other scholars of different ages who traveled from all over the world (India, Turkey, Serbia, Italy, Canada, Poland, to name a few) to meet in this intellectual forum, share their research, and solicit feedback.  I was impressed by the diversity of topics presented at the conference.  A German scholar, for example, gave a presentation about heavy metal screaming as a form of cultural resistance and freedom of expression.  A practicing lawyer talked about the principle of legality in the EU’s economic crisis management as it related to Greece’s recession.  And a research fellow shared his paper on whether an Italian law was capable of guaranteeing the rights of beggars against the will of the majority.  I was the only American in the group and my presentation on religion in democracy drew numerous questions.

Although intended mainly for the scholars who would later refine their papers for journal publication by the Center for the Study of International Peace and Security, which hosted the conference, the event was open to the public.  In fact, I met a couple from France who approached me afterward to say they enjoyed my presentation and we engaged in a lengthy dialogue contrasting our countries’ religious freedom laws.  My time in London was very short — literally two full days — but it was nice to connect with my Fletcher scholarship donor, Kate Hedges, who kindly showed me pockets of the city a tour bus would have skipped.  I squeezed in a few touristy excursions before catching a flight back.

While my paper will not be published until April, check out my op-ed published in the Kennedy School Review about the role of religion in the public eye.

Learning Middle Eastern politics in Beirut

In January, after completing a half-credit “J-term” (January course) on lobbying at the Harvard Kennedy School, I flew to Lebanon for the weeklong Beirut Exchange Program.  Nadim Shehadi, director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, encouraged me to apply to this opportunity, given my regional interests in Middle Eastern politics.  A group of 12 professionals from around the world engaged with politicians, journalists, and civil society activists to get an in-depth picture of Lebanese politics.  With the upcoming election in May and the changed electoral law, politicians and Lebanese citizens alike wait with anticipation the unfolding future of their country.  It was fascinating to hear different perspectives on sectarian political representation, Palestinian and Syrian refugee crises, and Lebanon’s 2006 war as it relates to regional geopolitics.

The agenda was jam-packed with lectures, workshops, and a day trip to Tripoli, an hour north of the capital.  There was little time for tourism, but a group of us took advantage of our evenings to explore the downtown nightlife, admire the close proximity of mosques and churches, and indulge in delicious Lebanese cuisine.  I fell in love with the creamy hummus, fresh tabbouleh and perfectly seasoned moutabbal (also known as baba ganoush, an eggplant dip mixed with tahini).  And as always happens on all my international trips, I met a Fletcher alum in the program!  A middle-aged media commentator from Pakistan studied under the same capstone advisor as me: Professor Richard Shultz.

Both of these international experiences were incredible, and would not have been possible without generous support from the Fletcher Educational Enrichment Fund, the Graduate Travel Support Program of the Provost’s Office, the Dean’s Fund, and various campus institutes.  I feel incredibly grateful and blessed to be at a place like Fletcher where students are supported in the opportunities that knock their doors.

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One day last week I was toiling away in my office when I was told that Courtney was asking to see me.  I assumed it was a current student, so I was surprised (and delighted) to find, instead, Courtney Fung, F12, a PhD graduate who is now a professor at the University of Hong Kong, and was spending a day on campus.  Courtney and I go way back to her application days.  Then she spent a year on the Admissions Committee.  One way or another, I feel like we were in regular contact throughout her years at Fletcher.  The last time she visited, she left an umbrella in my office, and I’ve kept it for her (while, admittedly, also using it on occasion if I forgot to bring one).  It always makes me think of Courtney, and though I encouraged her to take it with her last week, she didn’t.  I’ll offer it to her again the next time she visits.  Until then it serves as a nice reminder.

The students in the PhD program are very special members of the community.  Not only do they bring academic strength and the tenacity needed to complete a dissertation, they also have significant professional experience.  The communications office has been interviewing students periodically and these are the profiles that have been written so far.

Phoebe Donnelly
Sarah Detzner
Ana de Alba
Deborshi Barat
Zoltan Feher
Polina Beliakova

Self-profiles of more students are available on our website.

Also last week, I received a link to a podcast that a recent PhD graduate had recorded as a guest.  On the podcast, Michael Sullivan, who just defended his dissertation in September, discusses leadership, resiliency, and the charity event he organized, “Shootout for Soldiers.”  He talks about his experience at Fletcher at about the 40-minute mark of the interview.  It’s a good listen in general, but particularly for anyone curious about the U.S. military officers who step away from the day-to-day of their careers to pursue a degree at Fletcher.

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Something silly for you today.  Back at the fall semester’s Annual Faculty and Staff Wait on You Dinner, the Admissions team offered up a few prizes.  As mentioned in an earlier post, one was our interview room, to be used for quiet personal study space (stocked with snacks) during exams.  The other, which took longer to organize, was a trip to an indoor trampoline park with the Admissions team.  Here’s what happens when you get the staff and students out of the building.

First, everyone poses for a group photo.


Then there’s a second group photo of the jumping socks — in a color pleasingly close to Fletcher orange.


And, naturally, the Fletcher flag comes out.

I’m sorry that I needed to miss the outing, but I’m grateful to Liz, who provided the photos and the stories of what a great time it was.

 

Let’s meet the folks whom the Fletcher Student Council profiled in the second of their community introductions.  You can find the first of the introductions here.

Moriah (first-year Januarian MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am studying International Security Studies and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (for now!).

What did you do before Fletcher?
I spent time in California doing environmental restoration and trail work.  Most recently, I was in Washington, DC working with the Democratic National Committee, managing technology projects.

Where are you from?
I consider myself to be a pan-Southerner.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
All of Bangkok, but the Grand Palace — with its life-size monkey soldiers holding up one of the palace domes — is my favorite.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My grandmother, who came of age in Jim Crow-era Alabama, worked while putting herself through college and raising two children, and was a teacher for over 30 years.  Through it all, she has always maintained a sense of humor and curiosity about what life has to hold.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I once caught a jackrabbit with my bare hands.  It was awesome.

Which living person do you most admire?
I really admire Condoleezza Rice and her story.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Choosing a course out of the many here — four semesters is not enough!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Shopping day was really fun!  The ability to explore any course you’re interested in is such a great opportunity.

Dylan (second-year Januarian MIB)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
International Business: Strategy and Consulting.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I was a physical commodities trader in Durban, South Africa.

Where are you from?
Durban, South Africa.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Tough question!  Although I have traveled extensively, Cape Town in South Africa is still my favorite place and the most beautiful city I have ever seen.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My father.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting a full scholarship for my undergraduate degree at BYU was a tipping point in my life.

Which living person do you most admire?
Desmond Tutu.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Braving the Boston winter is a daily struggle — I’m getting better at this.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Being a part of the Januarian Class of 2019 is a blast!

Dave (first-year Januarian PhD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
Security studies, outside intervention into civil wars and humanitarian disasters.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Columbia SIPA, think-tanker in Washington.

Where are you from?
Colorado.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Crested Butte (one of the last great mountain towns).

Who are your favorite writers?
Lauryn Hill, Steve Coll, Dr. Seuss.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My family.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Staying at home with my new son for the last eight months.

Which living person do you most admire?
My wife.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Trying to sneak out of an event after splitting my pants.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Human rights law (took it many summers ago).

Brad Macomber (Media Services Specialist)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am a Media Services Specialist.  I help with classroom technology, video conferencing, and events.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I was in a similar role at the New England Institute of Art in Brookline for over a decade.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Marblehead, MA, up on the north shore, a beautiful little town that I highly recommend visiting!

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
While it’s not the most unique place in New England, my family always went to Lake Megunticook outside of Camden, ME every summer.  It’s the most serene, calming place I can think of.

Who are your favorite writers?
I’m a huge fan of Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ray Bradbury.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My parents.  My father was (he recently retired) a doctor in Marblehead and my mother was the head nurse in their office.  They both dedicated their entire professional careers to making people comfortable and healthy.  I can’t walk through my hometown without people stopping me and telling me a story about something remarkable one of my parents did for them.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’d love to say all the touring I’ve done with my various bands, but my relationship with my wife has been and continues to be my greatest achievement.

Which living person do you most admire?
Again, it would have to be my parents.  They have always provided me with everything I needed and did so (generally) with a smile.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Being one person trying to stay on top of all the requests for assistance (which are sometimes inherently last minute) can be very challenging.  Fortunately, folks within the Fletcher community are very understanding.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Commencement and Convocation are two of my favorite times of year, but this year, I received an American flag that had been flown over the Baghdad Embassy as a thank you from a student who recently got their PhD here.  It was extremely touching and the flag is framed in my workshop now.  Makes me very proud.

Jette Knudsen (Professor of Policy and International Business)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am interested in government regulation of social welfare.  I define this topic as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and employment and training policies that focus on low-skilled workers.  My overarching research interest has been to try and understand how governments can contribute to reconciling market pressures with norms of fairness.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked as an Assistant Professor at the Copenhagen Business School for a few years and I also worked at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.  For four years I then served as the Director of a think tank in Copenhagen that focused on CSR and I worked for Maersk (a large shipping and oil conglomerate) as a CSR expert.  I also worked as a consultant for Deloitte and PwC.  Before coming to Fletcher, I was appointed as a Professor of Political Science at Copenhagen University and I had been on sabbatical for a year at MIT.  I am still affiliated with Copenhagen Business School as a Velux Fellow and remain engaged in various research collaborations with my former colleagues.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Denmark.  I first visited the U.S. when I was 19 years old.  I spent a year at a small liberal arts college called Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin funded by the Scandinavian-American Foundation.  I liked the U.S. very much and later came back and did a PhD at MIT.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
In December 2017, I saw the Nerja Caves near Malaga, Spain.  They were inhabited from about 25,000 BC up until the Bronze Age.  Cave paintings, found on the walls, date back to the Paleolithic and Post-Paleolithic periods and show a culture based upon hunting.  The caves were amazing.

Who are your favorite writers?
One of my favorite books is Memoirs of a Geisha.  I read that book on a plane once coming from France when the engine caught fire and we had to make an emergency landing in Switzerland.  I hardly noticed the problems because the book was so good.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My dad, who has always told me to find my own way in life.  He did so himself and built an amazing naval architecture company that was engaged in improving shipping transportation all over the world.  Another inspiration is Mr. Maersk McKinney Moeller who hired me while I was in graduate school and later to work on sustainability in Maersk.  I have a great card from him where he congratulates me for getting into the political science PhD program, and then adds, “Ms. Knudsen please do not forget to focus on real life.”  I try to remember that.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have a son who is both smart and kind.  I can’t really say that he is my greatest achievement as he is clearly his own person, but I am proud of him.  He will be attending Tufts next year and I am very pleased.

Which living person do you most admire?
I can’t think of a particular person that I most admire.  But I do think that having “grace under fire” is an admirable trait.  I admire people who face unspeakable tragedy yet are able to carry on.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
I am not very practical and so the Fletcher IT system can sometimes be a challenge, but I want it to work perfectly every time I am in the classroom.  I do not think the students know my limitations because Brad Macomber has always been able to cover for me.  Thanks Brad!

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Getting tenure as a full professor in the fall 2017.

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Great news for our students: Fletcher’s team in the CFA Institute Research Challenge emerged as champions in last night’s Boston-region competition!  Presenting their research on the company Boston Scientific, the Fletcher team topped competitors Babson College, Brandeis University, and Hult International in the final round.

The winning team consisted of JP Craven (first-year MIB), Doris Hernandez (second-year MALD), Ashray Dixit (second-year MIB), and our own Admissions Bloggers Mariya and AdiProfessor Patrick Schena was advisor to the team and Office of Career Services Director Elana Givens added her input and attended the competition, as did Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti.

The next round of the challenge will be the North and South Americas regional competition (coincidentally) in Boston on March, with about 50 teams competing.  The winner of the regional competition will go to the global competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April.

Congratulations to Professor Schena and the successful team!

From left, team mentor Cameron Hyzer, JP, Professor Schena, Mariya, Doris, and Ashray.

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