Just yesterday, I posted a link to a profile of Rizwan, a PhD candidate. And then today, he sent along this fun photo with the explanation below. This strikes me as a great example of an area (nuclear policy) where there’s no specific Field of Study, but nonetheless, there’s a cluster of expertise that enables students to pursue their objectives — true for so many different focus areas. (Plus there’s that special Fletcher family aspect, too.)
Rizwan’s note to me and a few others:
Please find attached a photo of nuclear policy-focused Fletcher students and alumni from across the last 30 years! We are currently gathered in DC for the biannual Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. From left to right:
Emma Belcher (F04, PhD F10), Director for International Peace and Security at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Chen Kane (PhD F04), Director of the Middle East Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Steve Miller (PhD F88), Director of the International Security Program at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Mathew Cravens (F18)
Clark Frye (F17)
Rizwan Ladha (F12, PhD F17), Research Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Wendin Smith (PhD F01), former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, U.S. Department of Defense
Lami Kim (F13, PhD F18), Research Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Travis Wheeler (F15), Research Associate in the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center
Amanda Moodie (F11), Assistant Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University
Not pictured, but also attending the conference: Janne Nolan (PhD F83), Research Professor and Chair of the Nuclear Security Working Group at the Elliott School, George Washington University
Fletcher’s communications folks have been writing profiles of PhD candidates throughout this year. In total, there are about 60 students in all phases of the PhD program. Numbers vary significantly year to year, but about 15 are generally here taking courses, and then another dozen are preparing for comprehensive exams. The remainder are writing their dissertation proposals or the dissertation itself, and for those phases they might be on campus, or they might be off wherever their research takes them. Rather than sending you searching for the profiles, I’m going to highlight them here.
Roxani Krystalli: “When I look at who fills key roles within leading organizations working on gender issues, it is often a Fletcher alum. The list of faculty either teaching explicitly on gender issues or incorporating a gender perspective into their courses is ever evolving. I am excited to continue to support the current and future leaders of the Gender Initiative in their endeavors, and look forward to sharing what we learned with peers at other institutions, while also replicating some of our key lessons to reflect on other dimensions of identity, power and inequality within The Fletcher School.” (Long-time blog readers might remember the posts that Roxani (who also goes by Roxanne) wrote while she was in the MALD program.)
Melanie Reed: “I have done consulting work for a number of public and private institutions, including the OECD, Transparency International, the Chr. Michelsen Institute (an international development research group based in Norway), and others. This work helps me stay on top of current trends in the area of anti-corruption. It is important to me that I don’t get so involved in my own research that I miss changes in the international landscape around me. Doing work on the side is challenging in terms of maintaining balance, but it also helps me maintain perspective about where my work fits into the larger picture.”
Rizwan Ladha: “From a very young age, I was interested in global affairs because my parents are from Pakistan and Uganda; they told me so much about their own history and background growing up, as well as their struggles coming to the U.S. My father was a Ugandan political refugee during the 1970s, so I was always aware of the fact that the world is much bigger than Atlanta, where I grew up, and Georgia Tech, where I majored in International Affairs.”
Lami Kim: “As a former practitioner, I believe that tackling complex issues in international politics requires us to look at the many differences of each issue. As my dissertation is highly interdisciplinary (involving the subjects pertaining to the military, security, legal, economy, etc.), I am certain that I chose the best place” to study.
The full profiles, and other news about the PhD program, can all be found here.
Tagged with: PhD
It’s a beautiful day, but the Tufts campus is notably depopulated, thanks to Spring Break. As I tromped up from my bus this morning, I passed only two students, and it was quiet enough that I could hear a woodpecker on a distant tree. There were precisely zero people in the Hall of Flags when I walked through.
Fletcher students approach Spring Break in a number of ways. Some folks stay in town, work on internship/job searches, write their capstones, or otherwise use the time to lift some pressure from the end of the semester. Others will visit friends or family, or travel for a few days with fellow students. But more and more students are pursuing structured travel options, such as the Israel/Palestine Trek, which promises meetings “with prominent Israelis and Palestinians in the political, business, and security sectors,” or the Colombia Trek, where participants “will engage with government, NGO, rebel, and U.S. actors to better understand how Colombia can navigate the road to reunification,” following the signing of the country’s peace agreement. Past participants in Fletcher treks have reported an exciting, if exhausting, week of travel and learning with friends and peers.
As for those of us left behind in Admissions, we’ll continue the upstream swim to stay ahead of our inboxes, but there will be less traffic in and out of the office from current students and faculty. For one week, the building is owned by the staff. The perfect working conditions as we start our second week following releasing decisions. And with that, I’m going to turn to email. But before I do, a quick reminder that I still want to know what you want to read! If you haven’t already completed the blog suggestions survey, please do!
Not only because my well of ideas occasionally runs dry, but more importantly because I aim to provide useful information, I would like to invite readers to answer my three-question survey. It’s easy-peasy and gives you the opportunity to suggest the topics that student bloggers and I will cover throughout the spring. I won’t go on, because I’d prefer you apply your time to the survey. Thanks, in advance, for sharing your ideas!
I enjoy hearing stories from students about the moment they learned they were admitted to Fletcher. Today, student blogger Pulkit tells us his story.
At Fletcher, time flies by very quickly. I cannot believe that it has been seven months since I moved from India to the United States. I have learned so much during this time — both academically and generally. My interests at Fletcher have shaped up, but they also continue to evolve. I suppose I have become a little wiser and better at managing my time. But this is only my second semester. There is still so much to be learned, so much to be discovered, and so much to be explored.
It has also been a year since my admissions decision came out. I presume some of you might have received yours recently. I know — it is a time of anxiety and anticipation. I vividly remember this time last year. It was a glorious day that changed my life and I would like to share my admissions outcome story with all of you.
I have shared this story with only a few close friends, but it will always be my quintessential Fletcher moment. It was March 11, and all throughout the day, I was nervously checking the Admissions Blog for any updates regarding the admissions process. Through Jessica’s previous posts I had known that Fletcher would announce decisions on the 11th of March. It had been two months since I filed my application, and my nerves were on edge.
That evening, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Indian Standard Time (IST), as often happens in India, the electricity went off. It was surely going to be an unusual evening for me. In another part of the world that is nine and a half hours behind IST — in the U.S. — admissions decisions still had not been released. With a power back-up, I frantically refreshed my internet browser. In a couple of hours, the power back-up died. At that point I had limited access to the internet, so my frequency of checking for updates gradually declined. The night’s electricity blackout lasted for a good eight hours. At 2:00 a.m., with still no electricity in the neighborhood and no results outcome in sight, I decided to retire for the night. I was at my parents’ house, and they had already gone to sleep.
A half-hour later, as I restlessly tossed and turned in bed, I saw the street light across my room switch on. The electricity was back! I decided to give it another try and check for any updates. I quietly tiptoed into the living room. Without making any noise, I switched on my laptop, opened my inbox, and voilà — there was an email that said there was an update to my admissions application. I quickly logged into my Fletcher application account.
The moment is still very clear in my memory. Call it dramatic, if you may. I opened the link and the first word that I noticed on the letter said, “Congratulations!” Heart pounding, I left my laptop as it was, and without even reading the entire contents of the admissions offer, ran towards my parents’ room. I turned on the lights and loudly woke them up. I hugged them and shared the news. It was such a joyous moment.
From my classes at Fletcher and Harvard, to attending amazing guest lectures and training workshops, to visiting New York and Washington for career trips, to swimming at the Tisch gym, to experiencing and enjoying my first snow storm — a lot has happened since I arrived in August. The coming few weeks in March and April will be even more exciting. I am traveling to Israel on the Fletcher Israel Trek and it will be my first travel to the Middle East. For April, I have five long-form papers and two presentations due for four of my classes.
As the whiteness of this winter turns into yellow and green of the spring, I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. But it all started with the night I learned my admission outcome.
Not every country changes the clocks to take advantage of summer sunshine, and the ones that do roll forward or back on different dates. For those outside the U.S., please note that we are currently in Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT), which is UTC-4. We moved the clocks ahead on Sunday morning, and we know from past experience that this will catch some folks by surprise when they learn they have missed a scheduled phone call with us. Please take note! If you are outside the U.S., do the calculation so that you call at the correct time.
To emphasize the importance of this information, I have called in Dan’s pal, Murray.
As we can see, Murray is eagerly looking forward to your 10:00 phone call. He’s a busy dog, though, and you don’t want to keep him waiting.
While his scheduled 10:00 caller mistakenly assumes it’s still only 9:10, he will give up waiting and settle in for his nap.
Naturally, Admissions staffers don’t nap every time someone is late for an appointment, but you still don’t want us to move on to the next activity. Please be sure you’ve made note of the time difference between Fletcher and wherever you’re calling from.
Tagged with: Murray
Here we are again. Me, my computer, and my cup of tea, working in my kitchen. But this time it isn’t because I’m reading applications at home. Instead, Mother Nature has decided that a March snowstorm is what the East Coast was missing, and the University is closed today.
Does that mean you won’t receive a timely answer to your admission or waitlist questions? No, the snowstorm will not affect our handling of the email inbox — we’re all working at home.
Alas, I still can’t guarantee a quick response to your questions. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, but we were already falling behind. Each of us tap-tap-tapped away at our emails, but whenever we crossed paths, we agreed that we had already lost the inbox battle.
Don’t take that to mean that you shouldn’t send your questions. Please do! But also be patient with me and my Admissions pals as we work our way through the requests for information.
We’ll be back in the office tomorrow (Wednesday) to take your calls and continue our inbox attack.
It’s the Monday after! We’re pleased that decisions went out without a major hitch, with Friday finding us in the strange decision-day position of working in a quiet office, as if nothing special were going on. Only the email inbox gave hints that it wasn’t a typical quiet afternoon. Even while the decisions were rolling out, we were receiving notes of thanks and waitlist reply forms. I tried, semi-successfully, to keep myself focused on the work I had set out to do.
Decision day is also when the blog is at its most popular. I’m glad that we can help illuminate the process, which was our goal when we started it, way back in September 2006. (And hello to my reader(s) in Trinidad & Tobago! It was surprising, and fun, to see T&T among the countries with active blog readers last week.)
Today I want to offer my congratulations to everyone who was admitted on Friday! We’re excited to start the next phase of our work — meeting you (in person or virtually), taking your questions, and watching the September 2017 class form. In a sense, though, our job is easy compared to yours. In a relatively short time, you need to gather the information that will lead to an informed decision about your next steps. We know that research goes into the selection of schools to apply to, but we always find that the more complex questions are raised only after admission decisions go out. To that end, contact us, review the Fletcher website, and be sure to look at the student profiles, which will connect you with our community. We’ll also be sharing tons of information with you during the next few weeks, aiming to surround you with Fletcher love. Naturally, we hope you’ll decide to enroll here.
To those who were offered a place on the waitlist, please stay tuned to the blog. If you are offered admission down the road, you’ll have a very narrow window for making your decision. Please be sure you’re ready, should the opportunity arise.
And, finally, if you were not offered admission, remember that you can request feedback after May 1. We will offer you information that will help you understand the Admissions Committee’s decision. Following the guidance we provide is often the pathway to a successful future application.
Now I’m going to attack my inbox, which is curiously busy for a Monday morning.
Check check checkity check check. We have gone through the master to-do list and arrived at the day when we will release decisions. Here are the details.
First, all decisions will be released today by 3:00 p.m. EST (UTC-5) for all complete applications except for the MATA program. (MATA decisions will go out soon, but not this week.)
When your decision is ready, you’ll receive an email to check your Application Status Page. (Reminder for those who haven’t bookmarked the page: To access your Application Status Page you can either click the “Start an Application” link on the Admissions website or the application link. You’ll log in with the email and password you used when you created your application.)
There will be no releasing of decisions by telephone or email, so please be patient.
I already described the different decision options on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition to learning their admission decision, when admitted applicants log in, they will be able to find their scholarship award.
Beyond all that, let me just say that it is truly a pleasure to work with our applicants. On the road, here at Fletcher, and through correspondence, Admissions staff members connect with hundreds of people who submit applications each year. Our connection with some applicants goes back many years. At the same time as the Admissions Committee’s mandate is to put together a class that will succeed at, contribute to, and benefit from Fletcher, there are many people who may not be admitted at this time but who we know will ultimately be great students. We hope to see you again. Meanwhile, I want to thank all of you for your interest in Fletcher and for reading the Admissions Blog throughout the year.
Barring some crazy unforeseeable weather event, we’ll be releasing decisions tomorrow. In my final post to prepare readers for their admission decisions, I want to cover a few points.
Fletcher has a source of scholarship funds for new and continuing students. All of the funds allocated for incoming students (including those who applied by the Early Notification deadline and were admitted in December) will be offered as scholarships this month. The award information is included in admission letters.
Here’s what you need to know about the scholarship business. If we have $100 in our special pot of scholarship cash, we don’t simply distribute $100. Instead, we reckon that half of the award recipients will decide to continue working, attend another program, or, for whatever reason, decline our offer of admission. This is predictably the case and, with enrollment history in mind, we actually distribute $200 in scholarships. It’s a gamble, but if we’ve done our math right, it’s a safe gamble.
Why do you need to learn about this back-office aspect of awarding scholarships? Let’s imagine that Jim and Bill are friends who have applied to Fletcher. Both are admitted and receive $100 scholarships. Bill decides to enroll at Fletcher, but Jim decides to postpone graduate school for a year. Bill knows that Jim has received a $100 scholarship, and Bill would like to claim it for himself. Alas, Jim’s award doesn’t represent actual cash that goes back in the pot, and Bill cannot have it after Jim moves on.
At the end of the enrollment process, we’ll calculate how much genuine money has been added back to the scholarship account. One thing you can be sure of is that we will distribute all of the available funds.
Note that, if you’re in a two-year program, you’ll learn your two-year award so that you can plan ahead. We make scholarship decisions based on a combination of merit and need: for any level of merit — as determined through the application review process — the larger awards go to those with greater need. We hope that all applicants will be happy with their awards, though we know that only Admissions Committee members have the full picture of the breadth of need (and merit, for that matter) among the admitted applicants. Fletcher’s applicant pool is diverse in every possible way.
As I mentioned yesterday, we don’t rank the waitlist. And while you can and should update us with information that brightens up your application, you can’t wrangle your way to the top of the list. In fact, there isn’t a top of the list. Each time we make an offer of admission from the waitlist, we’ll be doing so with the nature of the enrolling class in mind. For example, if more men than women have decided to enroll, we might even out that situation via the waitlist. In other words, the “list” is really a fluid thing. And remember Jim and Bill from the scholarship example? When Jim makes his decision not to enroll, it doesn’t mean we’ll be going right to the waitlist. We need to wait until after April 20 before we’ll know how close we have come to our planned enrollment.
This one is easy. We don’t reverse decisions. I’m sorry.
I think that should do it. Readers now know everything they need to know about decisions. Looking forward to admitting some folks tomorrow!
Tagged with: decisions
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