While the blog shared the favorite destinations of my Admissions pals last week, I was taking a few days off to explore some of those same destinations.

On Wednesday, along with Gov. Charlie Baker (who was in the audience), my husband, Paul, and I went to Shakespeare on the Common, which Liz had recommended.  What King Lear lacks in cheer, the location more than compensated for.  The photos below are of my views at dusk to my left and in front of me.  “Future strife may be prevented now,” indeed.  Shame that the King didn’t have this curtain in front of him before the action began.

Towers and stage

My days off included two trips to Walden Pond.  Once on my own, because it’s my favorite place for open-water swimming, and once with my daughter, Kayla, for a relaxing end of the day on Friday.  We swam a bit, watched a very large turtle that came up on the shore, and resisted the lure of the ice cream truck that awaits visitors on their way back to their cars.

Walden visit
I also went twice to my favorite urban beach, Revere.  In addition to an early morning visit for Paul and me, we went with the whole family on Saturday night for dinner at our favorite Cambodian Restaurant, Thmor Da.  (Check it out — such delicious food!  We even ran into the chef/owner of another restaurant there.)  We followed up dinner with ice cream and a walk to check out the sand sculptures that remained after the annual contest a week or so ago.

Spirit of Boston
In addition to these tried-and-true favorite destinations, on Thursday, Paul and I did a one-day three-state (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine) field trip to visit (or revisit) some coastal locales.  Without a clear destination in mind, we headed up Rt. 95, deciding to go as far as Kittery, Maine, where we stopped briefly to check out the shops.  Then we turned back south to Portsmouth, NH for lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery.  Portsmouth — such a cute town!  I’m sure we’ll be back for another day trip, but this time we had other ports of call on the agenda.

Continuing south, we stopped (as Dan recommended) at Hampton Beach.  It was very hot, so we wandered briefly among the arcades, meandered onto the beach, and enjoyed a cold drink before moving on.  Just enough of a visit to get the feel of the place.

Hampton Beach
Last stop?  The Massachusetts state park at Salisbury Beach.  Cool breezes.  Even colder water.  But a lovely place to end a summer day of exploration.

Salisbury
On the spectrum of mountain people to beach people, I’m squarely among the beach people.  Either way, the local area offers plenty of great places to visit.  I recommend that incoming students should plan a visit or two for the early part of the semester, when the weather is at its best, and the coursework is still manageable.

 

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. 

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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?

ice cream truckLazy 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.

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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.

ShakespeareOne 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!

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Despite Fletcher’s underpopulated summer feel, there are several groups in regular attendance in the building:

Staff, of course.  Unless we’re taking vacation days, nearly all of us work through the summer.

Faculty, in small numbers.  Many professors like to use their offices for their summer research or course preparation, and they can be found crossing the Hall of Flags in their casual summer attire.

Workers, many in hardhats.  Each summer, there’s sure to be some maintenance or construction activity that is best done when the building is quiet.  This year, the fire alarm system is being upgraded — an important improvement that, like most infrastructure projects, is unlikely to draw much attention from students.

And, finally:

GMAP students!  With a one-week gap, GMAP hosted the final two-week residency for one class group and, today, welcomes a new group.  They’ll be on campus for the next two weeks and then again to graduate in July 2016.  In January, the class will meet in a special international location.  I haven’t heard yet where that will be, but I know that the group that started its year of studies in March will be gathering in Brussels next month for their midterm residency.

The GMAP residency is fairly intensive and GMAP students, who are generally well-along in their careers, aren’t often found hanging around in the Hall of Flags.  But their presence in the building is clear and it’s nice to add them to our summer mix.

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Recently, news reached my inbox of the cool result of a student’s work.  Michael Caster (soon to be a second-year MALD) filled me in on how he came to be the author of a chapter in a report from the Minority Rights Group, a London-based NGO.  Regarding the report, he wrote:

On July 2, the Minority Rights Group published their annual report “State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples.”  As part of Fletcher’s Human Rights Project student organization and through Professor Hannum’s contact, the organization reached out to interested Fletcher students to apply to contribute to an unspecified project.  I applied and they asked me to assist with the publication, which soon turned into being a chapter author.  I wrote the section on East Asia, covering China, Japan, and Mongolia.  Having spent close to five years working on human rights issues in and around China it was a perfect fit.

You can follow more about Michael’s work via his blog and Twitter, as well as his writing for Open Democracy and past pieces on Waging Nonviolence.  Finally, he told me that this summer, “I am spending the summer between Thailand and Myanmar interning with the International Commission of Jurists, a Geneva-based international human rights organization.  In addition, I am researching human rights defender strategy with the support of a Topol Scholarship in Nonviolent Resistance, a new program started at Fletcher this year.  The summer spent in Southeast Asia will also be constructive for my capstone on the Rohingya crisis.”

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When Diane first introduced herself nearly two years ago, she detailed her pre-Fletcher experience and her path from her home country of Australia to graduate school in the U.S.  Today, having graduated from the MALD program in May, Diane describes her path back home to Australia — though she may not be there for long.

It’s now two months since graduation, and where has the time gone?  Those last months at Fletcher were certainly fast and furious, with a mixture of finals, fun events, Dis-O, friends visiting, day trips around Massachusetts, graduation, and many sad farewells.

I decided to base myself near campus in Somerville during my job search.  It was really lovely to experience Boston in warmer weather.  Yes, it was much quieter than during the semester, but a walk past Fletcher always guaranteed running into another student I knew.  My job search seemed to be pointing me towards home, so I decided to book my flight back to Australia, and to hope everything would work out quickly.

I had come up with a strategy for my job search at the beginning of spring semester: given that time is always limited at Fletcher, I decided to apply for any fellowships or year-long programs where you rotate around the organization’s different divisions for training, as many of these companies only recruit once a year.  I left the bulk of my applications for individual job postings for after graduation.  I was lucky enough to progress past the first round of a number of the programs I applied for, which meant I spent a bit of time each week doing online testing and interviews through Skype.  This certainly helped to keep me motivated.

A few weeks before leaving Boston I received a job offer from GRM International to be part of their Young Professionals Program, allowing me to rotate around the company through different divisions and offices during the next couple of years.  This role felt like a really good fit, and allowed me to return to Australia for my first rotation.  Through the process of applying, interviewing, and accepting this role, I utilized the Office of Career Services on many occasions, which is another great advantage of being a student or graduate of The Fletcher School.

I planned some travel before heading home, visiting friends in Los Angeles and Idaho, including a trip to Yellowstone National Park. I was lucky enough to meet up with some Fletcher folks along the way who were home for the summer.

Coming home has been an adjustment, not only because it is winter here.  But after two years away, it is rather nice to be around friends and family again.

I am so looking forward to my next phase in life, after spending two wonderful years at Fletcher.

Diane and Dallin in Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Dallin Van Leuven, F15.

Diane and MALD graduate, Dallin, in Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Dallin Van Leuven, F15.

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Today I’m going to share the writing of others.  Tufts has several publications — online and traditional — and two recent stories about Fletcher caught my eye.

The first (which I saw on the online TuftsNow site) was written by Elliot Ackerman, F03, who shares his belief that universities should recruit more veterans.  Elliot was a writer-in-residence (our first!) at Fletcher this past spring, coinciding with the publication of his novel, Green on Blue.  He is also a decorated veteran, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after completing the dual BA/MALD degree.

The second story appeared in “Blueprint,” the publication of the University’s development office.  It describes the origin of the new Topol Fellowship and the additional funds that Sid Topol donated to expand Fletcher’s “long-standing commitment to the study of nonviolent resistance.”  You can also see the article on page 6 of the Blueprint down below.

Finally, not from a Tufts publication, but related to the story on the Topol Fellowship, comes this blog post from Benjamin Naimark-Rowse, a PhD candidate and the first recipient of the Topol Fellowship.  He notes that his piece, “The Founding Myth of the United States of America,” is “about how nonviolent resistance is at the heart of the story of our independence struggle, or at least it should be.”

 

Among the other projects I’m working on this summer is the overdue launch of evaluative interviews via Skype.  Up to now, the great majority of our evaluative interviews have been on campus and face-to-face between the applicant and interviewer.  We also offered the opportunity to record an interview online, but the resulting videos, though still helpful in the application review process, couldn’t measure up to the more natural and interactive format.  We all had a voice whispering in our ears that the time had come to offer Skype interviews, but we needed to be sure we had all the pieces in place to do so successfully.  Now we think we do.

The new Skype interviews will capture many of the features of our on-campus interviews.  Evaluative interviews are offered to interested applicants from mid-September through early December.  (That is, usually before applications are submitted.)  Interviewers will generally be current students.  There will be plenty of opportunity for the applicant to ask questions.  And whether on campus or via Skype, interviews (however helpful they are for interviewers and the Admissions Committee) remain optional.

We’re still ironing out one wrinkle in the registration process, but we should have that settled next week.  (It could be settled in half an hour, but vacation schedules rarely put us all in the same place at once.)  When the registration question is decided, the early set-up work will be complete and we’ll share a link to the interview registration page.  Note that the Skype interviews are really intended for applicants outside the Boston area, and we will ask you to share your résumé and Skype user name before the interview.  Though there are bound to be some bumps in the process, we’re excited to be able to extend the face-to-face interview opportunity to applicants who aren’t able to visit campus.

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Though September/October/November is when the Admissions team is most likely to be on the road for recruitment travel, we also make occasional trips in the spring and summer.  On the schedule this time of year is “Summerfest,” an evening reception and information session activity cooperatively organized by us and our friends at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA); Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; Johns Hopkins University, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Princeton University, The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Summerfest events are held in New York City and Washington, DC, and the New York event is tonight, July 16!  If you’re interested in attending the New York reception, you can sign up here.

Two DC events were scheduled for the summer, and the second is coming up on Tuesday, July 21.  If you’d like to attend the DC reception, sign up here.

We’ll have a member of the Admissions staff and alumni or students at each event, and we hope to see you there!

 

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