When she was already in Ghana for her summer internship, Diane sent me this final blog post of 2013-2014.  I held it, thinking that September would be optimal timing.  Current students may want to know about Diane’s search for external scholarships, while applicants may want to know that such a thing is possible.  New posts from continuing student bloggers Diane, Liam, and Mark should return soon, and I’ll be adding new voices from among the first-year students.

For prospective students applying to graduate programs, the question of how to pay for a master’s degree is often a huge part of the decision-making process.

While Fletcher was my number one choice in programs going into the application process, the scholarship aid I received from Fletcher also made my enrollment decision very easy.  Nonetheless, Fletcher scholarships don’t generally cover the full cost of tuition, and certainly don’t include living costs, leaving me to figure out how to cover the rest.

Like many students who worked for a number of years prior to Fletcher, I had some savings, and I knew I would also need to take a loan.  As I did my financial planning, I realized that my savings would be gone by the end of the first year, and I would have to try to find ways to minimize the amount of debt I would be taking on.  This led me to the search for external scholarships.

As I reviewed scholarship opportunities, I found myself in the unfortunate position of being an international student from a developed country, but a country that itself offers very few scholarships for international study.  This left me searching for scholarships that I often couldn’t apply for.  I wasn’t very successful with my applications before starting at Fletcher, and I planned to submit more applications for my second year of study.

Once I was at Fletcher, I found my greatest resource to be my fellow students.  I took the opportunity to chat with other international students about scholarships they knew of, and shared information.  I also utilized the resources around me — in particular, I took advantage of the writing tutor program, to get feedback on my application essays before I sent them in.

This turned out to be a positive process!  I applied for two external scholarships for my second year, and was successful in receiving one of them.  Two of my Fletcher friends who had shared with me the process of applying for external scholarships were also successful.  This highlights one of my favorite things about Fletcher: the spirit of collaboration, and how this often leads to shared success.

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Like many Americans, I’m a morning NPR listener, which means that I’ll often be joined over breakfast or during my commute by the voice of a member of the Fletcher community.  A week or so back, it was MALD (class of 2002) and PhD (class of 2005) graduate Maria Stephan.  With her research colleague, Erika Chenoweth, Maria spoke about civil resistance movements.  Take a minute (or 7, to be more precise) to listen to the interview.

The recent interview followed an article they wrote for Foreign Affairs on the same topic.

 

Today is Shopping Day, the kick-off for the semester.  Students (including newly returned continuing students) can gather information on class options from professors who give short presentations about them.  The focus is on new classes, but any professor can do a presentation on Shopping Day.

One of the new class options this semester is a special offering.  Here’s the description:

This fall, Fletcher students are invited to participate in a class that will be taught simultaneously and in real time to Fletcher students and graduate students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Russia’s oldest and largest professional training program in international affairs.  The course, Strategic Rivalry or Strategic Responsibility: The United States and Russia in the Key Euro-Atlantic and Asia-Pacific Regions, will be taught by Robert Legvold, the Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Columbia University, who will be visiting Fletcher.  The course will cover the large challenges facing the United States and Russia in the two major strategic arenas where both have vital roles to play: the historic Euro-Atlantic region and the rising Asia-Pacific region.

Students of the two countries will have an opportunity to interact and collaborate directly with one another in assessing the current state of affairs in U.S.-Russian relations, then moving to a consideration of the key issues that both countries face in these two critical regions, how their policy in one region will or should affect policy in the other region, and what the impact is likely to be on the interests and behavior of the other country.  Energy relations, new and old security threats, the risks from regional conflicts, and the task of building or modifying regional institutions in the Euro-Atlantic and Asia-Pacific regions will all be examined.  Students will be expected to develop policy perspectives on all of these dimensions for both the U.S. and Russian cases.

The first portion of the course will be taught from MGIMO, with Fletcher students participating in class discussion by video-conference.  In the second portion of the semester, the process will be reversed and Professor Legvold will teach the seminar from Fletcher with MGIMO students joining by video-conference.  Regardless of Professor Legvold’s location, all students will be treated as present in the live classroom and expected to participate fully.  In the final weeks of the semester, the emphasis will shift to students’ research papers, and the full-class video conference sessions will be devoted to the research challenges the students are facing.  During these weeks Professor Legvold will spend time at both schools, working with students individually.

In addition to lectures, reading, class discussion, and a research paper, assignments will include student collaboration in small clusters, which will consist of a mix of Fletcher and MGIMO students. Within these clusters students will work together using course forums or social media to prepare a memorandum on a topic relevant to one of the different weeks’ themes.

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Since Christine has been my partner in the summer blog series, it seemed only fitting to close off the intros together.

Christine Richardson, Admissions Coordinator
Christine moved up from the Staff Assistant position less than a year ago, and she makes sure everything is working perfectly behind the scenes of the application.

Where did you grow up?  Andover, MA (just north of the city and home to the famed Phillips Academy)

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?  My favorite place is a tie between London and Mykonos.  I spent six months living in London during college and it became a second home for me.  But nothing compared to the sunny, relaxed lifestyle on the Greek island of Mykonos!

What is the number one spot on your travel wish list?  East Africa!  I am a lion fanatic and it is my dream to see lions in their natural habitat.

What is your favorite food?  Chocolate Chip Cookies

What book are you currently reading?  The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

What is the number one place (Boston-area or on campus) you most hope Fletcher students will visit during their short time here?  Fenway Park!  I am a huge Red Sox fan and I think Fenway is one of the most historic, exciting spots in the area. There is nothing like the smell of Fenway Franks on game day!  The best part is you can take tours year round and learn all of the great history and mystery surrounding the park.  Go Red Sox!

Jessica Daniels, Senior Associate Director of Admissions
I’m the office liaison to the PhD program, and I write/edit the blog.  (But you knew that already.)

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in the town of Merrick, on Long Island, New York.  After 25 years in the Boston area, just about the only thing I still miss are the vast white-sand Long Island beaches.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?  There are so many ways to answer this question.  What’s my favorite place that I have traveled to and lived in?  (Beijing, China) …my favorite place to travel to and see family?  (London, UK)  …my favorite nearby place to spend a summer week?  (Eastham, MA).  But I think the answer to the question as it’s actually worded is Iceland.  I had a wonderful trip there with my family a few years ago.  The scenery is beautiful, the people are nice, the culture is special.  What more could you ask?

What is the number one spot on your travel wish list?  Again, I could name a bunch of places.  We had wanted to go to the Azores this summer.  There’s a direct flight from Boston and it’s super easy, but it didn’t work out this time.  More of a “wish” on my wish list is Cuba.  I’d like to visit before it becomes a typical tourist destination for Americans.

What is your favorite food?  Should I say roasted vegetables, and act all healthy?  Or should I just say ice cream?  Hmmm.  Let’s go with ice cream.

What book are you currently reading?  I’m currently reading The Guts, by Roddy Doyle.  I start off slow reading Doyle’s dialect (I need to hear the Irish in my head), but I’ll quickly pick up the pace.

What is the number one place (Boston-area or on campus) you most hope Fletcher students will visit during their short time here?  The Boston area was the home for several U.S. presidents, and a short trip to Quincy (looks like “quin-see,” but often pronounced “quin-zee” by the locals) lands you at two of them.  John Adams (2nd U.S. president) and his son, John Quincy Adams (6th president), both had their roots in a remarkably small corner of the town.  It’s now a National Historical Park and well worth the trip.

And that wraps up the introduction of the members of the Admissions team.  We’ll close with a photo of the team.

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From left to right: Laurie, Christine, Jessica, Dan, Theresa, Kristen, and Liz.

Next time you call, be sure to ask us about our favorite food or travel location!

 

Continuing to introduce the staff through their answers to Christine’s questions, we turn today to Liz, Theresa, and Kristen, who are found at the alphabetical end of our staff list.  Certain trends are already emerging — staff from New Hampshire and an interest in Iceland, for two examples.

Liz Wagoner, Associate Director of Admissions
Liz works with the applicants and admitted future students in the Map Your Future program, and also frequently reads applications to the MIB program.

Where did you grow up?  This is actually a tough question as I have sort of grown up all over!  I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, spent my early years in Wyoming, and have lived in various locals all around New England for the majority of my life.  Ultimately I think of Peterborough, NH as where I’m from, as I spent most of my time there.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?  I have several favorites, but it has to be Hong Kong.

What is the number one spot on your travel wish list?  Nepal.

What is your favorite food?  My favorite food in the whole world is steamed clams, otherwise known as “steamers.”  For those who don’t know, steamers are a small soft-shell clam, typically harvested in New England and served with butter.  They are definitely an acquired taste, but I sure love them.  Luckily for me, they are a New England staple and can be found at most seafood restaurants, especially in the summer!

What book are you currently reading?  I just finished a great beach read called Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.  It was the perfect novel to read while on vacation and had some nice twists that kept me turning the page.

What is the number one place (Boston-area or on campus) you most hope Fletcher students will visit during their short time here?  This is more of a touristy thing that I’m going to recommend, which I would normally shy away from, but I would truly suggest that everyone take a Boston Duck Tour.  I admit they can be a little cheesy, but it really is a great way to see the city of Boston and learn some history and fun facts all at the same time.  It’s family friendly and, since it’s a pretty short tour, students can soon get back to studying, networking, and taking advantage of all the great things Fletcher has to offer!

Theresa Tomic, Admissions Staff Assistant
Theresa is the face of the Admissions Office.  You’ll meet her when you visit, and you may talk to her when you call.

Where did you grow up?  My earliest years were spent in Europe and later in the central Massachusetts area.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?  Iceland.  It’s quite chic and cosmopolitan, and they have no reptiles!

What is the number one spot on your travel wish list?  One day I would like to visit Kenya.

What is your favorite food?  Favorite food has to be Asian!!

What book are you currently reading?  Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel

What is the number one place (Boston-area or on campus) you most hope Fletcher students will visit during their short time here?  The Tisch Library is a wonderful place to visit.  You can find practically everything you need for academic writing, and the view of Boston from the roof is fantastic.

Kristen Zecchi, Associate Director of Admissions and of the Master of International Business Program
Kristen wears two hats — she manages both MIB admissions and student services for the program.

Where did you grow up?  Like Liz (and so many Fletcher students!), it’s hard to pinpoint, as we moved around a bit.  I was born in Western Massachusetts, moved to Texas, and then to Colorado, which is what I still think of as home.  Between Colorado and Boston, I’ve also lived in Providence, RI; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Sevilla, Spain … so I feel at home with Fletcher’s very international student community.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?  Buenos Aires is the city nearest to my heart after having lived there, but as a tourist my favorites have been Mexico City and Istanbul.  (Note to applicants: I am clearly not following the prompts here and am cheating by listing several places; be more diligent in your own essays! :))

What is the number one spot on your travel wish list?  Cambodia.

What is your favorite food?  Unoriginal, and very American, but I’d have to say a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It’s an American classic, and I’m always happy to have one!

What book are you currently reading?  I just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and am about to start The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  I’ve read everything else she’s written, and this is the last on the list.  My favorite contemporary writer!

What is the number one place (Boston-area or on campus) you most hope Fletcher students will visit during their short time here?  Again, I’ll cheat here by suggesting two natural wonders, one close to campus on one farther afield.  The Middlesex Fells are a mere 10 minutes from campus and offer 2,500 acres of forest, hiking trails and peace.  It’s a city gem.  About a 45-minute drive from campus is Boston’s north shore, and Crane Beach is a stunning, wide sandy beach that I love.

 

It has been a while since I have organized the Admissions Team members to introduce themselves and we’ve had quite a few staff changes since then.  My co-blogger Christine drew up a list of questions that each of us has answered, and I’ll be sharing the responses she assembled for the rest of this week.  I’ll provide each staff member’s title (not that we’re particularly title driven around here), and a quick note on an area of specialty.  All of us work on everything, to some extent, but there are some areas where one of us is more involved than the others.  I’ll start with Dan, the one member of the team who is a Fletcher grad!  

Dan Birdsall, Associate Director of Admissions
Dan is the Office liaison to the LLM program.  2011 Fletcher MALD graduate.

Where did you grow up?  Home to luminaries including NBA journeyman Donyell Marshall, Super Bowl runner-up Kerry Collins, and Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, Reading, Pennsylvania has the highest share of citizens living in poverty in the U.S., according to the 2010 census.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great place to grow up, though.  One bite of a famous “split” from the Unique Pretzel Company will surely make you regret having been raised anywhere else.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?  El Altar, Sangay National Park, Ecuador, so named because the spectacular scenery will make you find religion.

What is the number one spot on your travel wish list? Why not Alaska?

What is your favorite food?  I imagine I could eat Pad Thai nearly every day and not get sick of it.

What book are you currently reading?  Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, by Steve Coll.  I’m very relieved to have been reading something “Fletchery” when answering these questions!

What is the number one place (Boston-area or on campus) you most hope Fletcher students will visit during their short time here?  Trusting my colleagues to recommend the other major must-sees in the area, I’m going with the Comedy Studio in Harvard Square, on the 3rd floor of the Hong Kong restaurant.  Avoid the (in)famous scorpion bowls of the 2nd floor bar at all costs, and head upstairs for a…let’s say “interesting” experience, at the very least.  Of the ten or so comedians you’ll catch on a given night, one or two are likely to be fairly polished professionals, with the rest a mix of amateurs, newbies, and (if you’re lucky) some experimental, avant-garde weirdos.  It beats an all-nighter in Ginn, at least!

Laurie Hurley, Director of Admissions
As the Admissions Director, Laurie has her hand in just about everything we do.  She’s a particular data hound, and crunches and re-crunches admissions numbers throughout the year.

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Nashua, New Hampsire, but have spent most of my life living in Massachusetts.  While I love so many international destinations, I am a New Englander through and through.  I love Boston, spending weekends in Maine, and exploring the rest of New England.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?  One of my favorite places in the world is the Tufts European Center in Talloires, France — located on the shores of Lake Annecy at the foot of the French Alps in the Haute-Savoie region of France (bordered by Italy and Switzerland).  Fletcher hosts an annual alumni symposium in Talloires in early June.

What is the number one spot on your travel wish list?  It changes every week, but right now the number one spot on my travel list is Iceland.  I hope to get there soon, as it is a quick trip from Boston.

What is your favorite food?  It is so hard to pick a favorite food because I love so many things.  At this writing I am craving Greek food from one of my favorite restaurants near Tufts — the Greek Corner.

What book are you currently reading?  I am currently reading Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence, a classic I somehow missed reading earlier in life.  At my daughter’s request, I am reading Divergent by Veronica Roth as well.

What is the number one place (Boston-area or on campus) you most hope Fletcher students will visit during their short time here?  Fletcher students must visit the North End in Boston before graduating.  The North End is one of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods and home to dozens of outstanding Italian restaurants.

More introductions coming tomorrow!

 

Prof. Bridget Conley-Zilkic at The World Peace Foundation asked me to share their call for proposals for their upcoming competition.  I’m happy to do so!

World Peace Foundation
The World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School invites Fletcher students to submit proposals for a two-day seminar to be held on campus in February 2015.  WPF seminars offer a rare opportunity for leading experts to engage in incisive, collegial and sustained dialogue on the pressing problems of our day.  The student competition enables Fletcher School students to frame an issue and interact with leading global experts on the topic of their choosing.

The topic should be related to conflict, security, peace or human rights.  The criteria for selecting the winning proposal will be that it is innovative, well-articulated, and relevant to the Foundation’s vision that intellectual leadership is important to promoting peace.  Noting that the vision of these seminars is to explore issues that might otherwise not gain attention, the WPF does not make a requirement that the issue should be directly connected to policy outcomes.

All costs will be borne by the WPF, including travel and accommodation for invited participants, catering, costs for interns for organizing and taking notes, and other associated expenses.  The competition winners will work with the WPF to organize the seminar, and will be paid a standard hourly rate for their time.

Important dates:

October 10, 2014: deadline for proposals to be submitted to worldpeacefoundation@tufts.edu.

October 17, 2014: winners announced via email.

February 2015: Seminar held at The Fletcher School

Events that we hosted based on past winning proposals include:

Unlearning Violence: Evidence and Policies for Early Childhood Development and Peace,  February 13-14, 2014.  Last year we departed from our model and accepted two closely related proposals as winners and hosted an open conference.

Advocacy in Conflict: Methods, Impacts and Ethics, February 28 – March 1, 2013.

Drug Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime: Re-Framing the Debate, May 7 & 8, 2012.

More information including detailed proposal guidelines are available on our website.

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The new students are here!  They’ll be on the move for the whole week, meaning life in Admissions is not so completely different from last week.  But we’ll meet them over lunch or at special sessions (including a morning of community service that I’ll be participating in tomorrow) and it’s starting to feel like the fall semester is upon us.  Here’s the registration scene from this morning.

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I liked this group in the corner, already looking like a study group at work.

Orientation day, 2

Today’s agenda is a mix of welcomes and briefings that will help everyone get settled in.  A barbeque tonight will cap it all off.  By next Tuesday, when returning students are back in the building, the first-years will feel like old pros.

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Christine is one of the members of the Fletcher and greater Tufts team that has developed our new application.  For our last day of Application Boot Camp, let her tell you about it.

After months of hard work, we are thrilled to announce that our brand new application is live!  Why is this so great, you ask?  The application is user-friendly, simply designed, and intuitive.  There is no clunky interface loaded with instructions that seem to be in a foreign language.  There is no formatting that looks like the application came straight out of the 1980s.  Really, it is a dream, and I cannot wait for you to experience it for yourselves!

To enter the portal of excellence that is the online application, go to the Apply to Fletcher page on the Admissions site.  When you are ready, click on the Start an Application button in the right hand navigation, follow the simple instructions to create a profile, and get started!

Make sure to review the application instructions before diving in!  And please feel free to contact us with your questions as you go along!

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Cabot Intercultural Center

Admissions Boot Camp doesn’t lend itself to photos, but here’s one anyway — Fletcher on one of the beautiful days we’ve had this week.  And now we’ll return to business…

There are a few elements of the application that allow you significant freedom to determine their content.  The first (and most flexible) is your résumé — a great place to slip all sorts of information that you want to share with us.  Naturally, you’ll include all the usual elements — professional experience, academic background, etc. — but you can add details that you can’t otherwise fit into the application.  Some of this freedom comes from the amount of space you’ll have to work with.  You don’t need to feel limited to a one-page résumé; up to three pages can be fine, though longer than that is usually a negative.  You can then include descriptions (for example) of community work that is relevant to your application, or links to publications that you want us to look at, or a link to the website for your successful sideline knitting business, or a list of your relevant skills.

Use the résumé to help us understand your workplace, too.  If everyone uses an abbreviation for your organization, the résumé is a great place to spell it out for us, and also tell us what it does.  It’s really best to assume we don’t know — a lot of eyes will review your application, and it’s likely that someone will be seeing the name of your organization for the first time.  If the organization provided great preparation for Fletcher, you’ll surely want to tell us about it — don’t leave us guessing what you did.

For those of you accustomed to a longer c.v., I’d encourage you to look around for a sample of an American-style résumé.  It isn’t that we can’t deal with the c.v., but you’ll end up hiding some of the information you want to highlight.  You’ll find a zillion samples online.

Another area of the application (or application process) that allows you significant opportunity to expand upon your background is the optional evaluative interview.  I never know why people who live near Fletcher don’t at least try to schedule an interview.  The face-to-face meeting really can only help your application, and you’ll have the opportunity to gather information that gives a boost to your essays.  (In fact, I always suggest trying to schedule the interview before submitting the application.  Leave the door open to learning something helpful during your visit!)

For those who are located farther away, there’s really no reason not to do an online interview.  Yes, being recorded is a little awkward for all of us, but some nice crisp answers to our questions will, again, only help your application.  (Embedded in the mostly technical instructions for recording your online interview is the information you’ll be asked for.  Don’t say we didn’t prepare you!)

Both the interview and the résumé are the finishing touches for your application, allowing you to flesh out the story you want to tell.  As I suggested in my post about the essays, think about your application as a whole and slip the details in wherever they fit best.  Your résumé or interview might just be the best place.

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