Currently viewing the tag: "GAs"

Laurie gets the credit for the topic of today’s post.  She had learned that two of our new students were friends from their undergraduate days.  One of the two, John, is an Admissions Graduate Assistant, who told us, “Courtney and I met during our freshman year at Vanderbilt University and remained friends throughout our time in Nashville.  After graduation, we went our separate ways and fell out of touch.  Three years later, we were surprised to find ourselves together again in the MALD program at The Fletcher School!”  I asked John and Courtney to interview each other, and today’s post is the result.

John Zeleznak: We knew each other mostly through Model UN at Vandy, but we actually met first semester in a first-year writing seminar.

Courtney Hulse: That’s right!  But it was a math class.

JZ: So, the real question is: what were we thinking?

CH: I was thinking, “This is the way I’m going to avoid taking calculus.”  And then I ended up taking calculus anyway.

JZ: The same thing happened to me!  The writing seminar was called Cryptography.

CH: It was a cool hybrid between a history class, an English class, and a math class.  We did problem sets on basic cryptanalysis, and we also wrote papers on the historical context in which the codes were used.  I liked it because it was interdisciplinary.

JZ: Definitely!  And clearly we’re both still gravitating towards interdisciplinary curricula.

JZ: So for the past few years, I’ve been in China, and you’ve been in New York.  When I saw that you were in the Fletcher Facebook group, I messaged you and was like “Oh my gosh–are you going to Fletcher?”  And we reconnected and met up during orientation.

CH: I was so happy to know that I’d already have a friend at Fletcher.

JZ: A friendly face in the midst of the craziness that is orientation.  So tell me what you’ve been up to since graduation.

CH: I actually found out I got a job on the same day we graduated.  I was literally still wearing my cap and gown.  I moved to New York to join the policy team at the UN Foundation.  It was 2014 and the Sustainable Development Goals dominated the work until the agenda was agreed in September 2015.  Then the work shifted to other portfolios, like UN reform and peacebuilding.

JZ: Wow!  What was the most interesting part of your work with the UN Foundation?

CH: My favorite part was witnessing the race for Secretary General because it was much more transparent than it had ever been.  The president of the General Assembly used his position and influence to draw attention and legitimacy to a UN Resolution about reforming the way UN leaders are chosen.  He helped make selection more inclusive.  I followed the race for our organization.  It was fascinating to see these major changes happening from up close.

JZ: I can see why!  Was it your work at the UN Foundation that motivated you to pursue a degree at Fletcher?

CH: I noticed that many of the people who were doing the types of jobs that I eventually wanted to pursue had done graduate programs in diplomacy and international relations.  My boss at UNF had been a professor at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, so the first time I heard about Fletcher was actually at a panel that she was speaking on about IR graduate programs.

JZ: That’s pretty great.  So what solidified Fletcher as your top choice?

CH: I loved how interdisciplinary it is.  I’ve always been interested in the places where academic fields overlap.  In undergrad, I used political science and anthropology to look at how different cultures interact with each other and to understand public diplomacy.  I wanted to do more of that type of work in grad school.  I also loved how welcoming everyone is.  When I visited, the students I met treated me like their friend.  The Fletcher alumni I met shared fond memories, and it was wonderful to hear that they are still in touch with the with the people they met at Fletcher.  That element of community was something that I really valued and wanted to be a part of.

CH: So tell me more about what you were doing after undergrad and what drew you to Fletcher.

JZ: For the past two years, I’ve been serving with the Peace Corps as an Education Volunteer in southwestern China.  I was teaching at a university in Chongqing, which is a city of about 8.5 million people.  I was teaching mostly oral English, but since my students had pretty solid English skills, my department let me teach public speaking, debate, and negotiation.

CH: That’s so cool.

JZ: It was such a great experience, not only teaching English, but focusing on these specific skills and trying to get my students to be comfortable speaking English in a more informal setting.  I enjoyed getting to know my colleagues, my students, and exploring China.  My counterparts and I hosted a Peace Corps international creative-writing competition, convened discussion groups, and held holiday parties.  I think language study in China is very different than in other parts of the world, so one of the focuses of my service ended up being to encourage my students and colleagues to have fun with using English in unscripted situations.

CH: That’s really interesting. So what drew you to Fletcher?

JZ: After undergrad, I knew I wanted to get a graduate degree, but I was unsure about what to focus on.  I didn’t want to commit time and money to a degree that I wasn’t passionate about, so I took some time.  While I was in China, I realized I had a strong interest in forced displacement and migration, which may have stemmed from the experiences I had working with resettled refugee communities during undergrad.  I was looking at programs that had a strong background in international affairs, but that allowed me to focus on that subject.  Still, I recognized that there was a good chance that I would change my mind — being abroad for so long, readjusting to the U.S., and being back in an academic environment.

CH: So you didn’t want to commit to a program that only focuses on refugees and resettlement.

JZ: Exactly.  The interdisciplinary features of Fletcher’s curriculum were a big draw for me as well.  I was also really impressed by the Fletcher community and how it was highlighted at career fairs and virtual information sessions.  I had heard from current students about how there were a lot of opportunities to get involved on campus and that the student community is really active.  Having a strong sense of community was one of the reasons why I ended up at Fletcher.  There is also a large Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community here which has been really great as I readjust to life in the U.S. and life as a grad student.

CH: That’s so important.  This transition can be really stressful — from applying to deciding to moving to actually starting school.

JZ: Absolutely.  So, if you could give prospective students one piece of advice about applying to graduate school, what would it be?

CH: Talk to people!  And, if you can, visit.  I know that’s not feasible for everyone, but I remember when I visited thinking that these were my people.  Seeing campus really solidified my decision to come here.  If that’s not an option for you, talk to people who’ve gone through this experience.  Fletcher alumni are all over the world, and they love talking about their time here.

JZ: I would also say really get to know your program.  Know your school, but really know the opportunities that exist within your program, both with regards to the curriculum and to your career goals.  You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going, but you do need to think about how a program might help you get there.

CH: I really love that Fletcher has a required Professional Development Program during the first semester.  The staff urges us to ask ourselves questions about what we want to do and how we can structure our time here to prepare ourselves for a career in international affairs.  I’ve found it useful to be considering these questions early on.

JZ: I agree.  There’s a lot of self-reflection, and that’s been really helpful.

CH: If you can figure out where the gaps are, you can make a plan for filling them.

JZ: At this point, we’ve been at Fletcher for almost a semester.  What’s been your favorite part of your classes, your time on campus, your time in Boston?

CH: Probably the speaker events.  I’ve loved hearing from the impressive people who come to campus and from the professors who are already here.  They’ve spoken on such a wide range of issues and current events, and they’ve been very candid.  It’s also been fascinating to hear about the experiences that other students have had

JZ: For sure.  Everyone here has such different backgrounds, and yet, we seem to find a lot of connections.  Whether it’s working with the same person or living in the same part of the world or concentrating in the same fields, the people at Fletcher make the world seem a little more connected.  And I guess the fact that we both ended up here is a good example to make that case!

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The Admissions Staff is perennially grateful for the help, support, and good humor of our student staff.  These Admissions Graduate Assistants (GAs) both handle many mundane day-to-day tasks and also are available to serve as resources for visiting applicants.  If you call the office or send us an email, there’s a good chance that you’ll be chatting with one of these fine folks.  From the perspective of the staff, it’s just a treat to see them when they arrive in the office, and they help to keep us connected to the student community.  I like to introduce the GAs so you’ll know that the person at the other end of your phone call or email is a real live Fletcher student, working in the Office of Admissions.  Read about them today, and then you’ll know whom your email is from tomorrow.

Brooklyn:
Hi everyone!  I am a second-year MIB student focusing on Strategic Management and International Consultancy, as well as Global Political Economy.  Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I moved to Washington, DC to attend American University, where I studied international relations, focusing on U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and Spanish language.

After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2012, I started working at Chemonics International as a project management team member.  Six-months into my time there, I moved from the Latin America Regional Business Unit (RBU) to the Asia RBU, where I had the opportunity to learn about the culture and complexities of a region of the world that was new to me.  While working in the Asia region, I was involved in projects spanning from Pakistan to the Pacific Islands that covered topics such as governance, climate change adaptation, combating human-trafficking, and economic growth.  It was my work with the Vietnam Governance for Inclusive Growth project that sparked my interest in the public sector and led me to Fletcher!

During my first year at Fletcher I explored new subjects, from finance to law.  I got involved with many groups on campus including Fletcher Social Investment Group, Fletcher Political Risk group, and Net Impact.  This year, I am co-leader of Fletcher’s Net Impact chapter and a member of the MIINT (MBA Impact Investment & Training) team.  I look forward to hearing from you in the Admissions Office this year!

Cece:
Namaste!  My name is Cecelia Rana, more popularly called Cece by friends, family and colleagues.  I am a first-year international student from Nepal doing the MALD program here at Fletcher.  My undergraduate degree is from Clark University where I majored in international relations with a minor in economics.

Having grown up in a country that suffered through a ten-year long civil war with never-ending political chaos, I am interested in exploring the nature and processes of political conflict, specifically in relation to information and communication channels.  I am a curious, adventure-loving individual with multiple interests that range from world politics, films, music, and nature/culture exploration.  I have a diverse set of professional experiences and have worked for organizations including the United Nations (UNRCPD), AmeriCares, and ChildReach Nepal.  Most recently, I coordinated a collaborative art project called the “True Stories Project,” a partnership between U.S. and Nepali art institutions aimed at bringing out stories of abuse, exploitation, and trafficking through the medium of art.  I am interested in continuing to use the visual medium to tell powerful stories pertinent to international affairs while at Fletcher as well.  My current activities besides my classes allow me to hone my media/filmmaking interests.  I am a part of an upcoming John Oliver-inspired Fletcher TV show and the Fletcher AV, two very exciting student-run project/clubs that have started this year.

I look forward to sharing my Fletcher experience!

Cindy:
Hello everyone!  I am a second-year MALD student, concentrating my studies in International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and International Organizations.  I grew up in Spring Hill, Florida and later received my BA in political science, anthropology and a minor in Russian at the University of Florida (go Gators!).  I was very fortunate to work with a professor in the political science department on a thesis related to ethnic violence against minorities in Russia.  This experience sparked my interest in pursuing a degree related to international affairs.

When I graduated, I was accepted into Teach For America as a fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher in Halifax, North Carolina.  As a teacher I honed my leadership skills, shared my passion for reading, writing, and history with my students, and fostered lifelong relationships with my colleagues.  Through learning about Teach For America’s mission, I became devoted to issues of minority rights and inequality, bridging differences between diverse communities, and pursuing a career of public service.

At Fletcher, I am focusing my research on improving diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia through good policy, the causes and consequences of polarization between diverse societies, and the role that education plays in shaping the beliefs and perceptions of conflicting societies.  This past summer I completed an internship through the Tufts Tisch Summer Fellows program at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., where I conducted research on U.S./Russia/NATO relations and the Baltic states.

This year I have the pleasure of co-leading two clubs: the Ambassachords a capella group and the Eurasia Club.  I also engage with the wider community by teaching an adult learning class with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, helping to organize Fletcher’s annual Building Bridges Conference and Fletcher recitals, and volunteering for FletcherCares.  In my spare time I love to cook, read, go for walks with my dog Obi, and spend time with my wonderful husband Brian.  I am very excited to be working with the Admissions team, and I hope that I can bring the spirit I have for this school to both current and prospective students!

John:
Hello everyone!  I am a first-year MALD student concentrating on International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, as well as Human Security.  Originally from San Antonio, Texas, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to study at Vanderbilt University where I received a BA in public policy studies and a minor in French.  As a student, I was able to study abroad in southern France for a semester which first piqued my interest in exploring international affairs.  While writing my senior capstone, I had the opportunity to work with local refugee communities in examining how they resolved intra- and inter-community conflict.

After graduating in 2014, I applied to volunteer with the Peace Corps.  For the past two years, I have been serving as an English teacher at a university in southwest China.  I really enjoyed interacting with my students and colleagues, not only in improving their English, but in sharing differing worldviews, trying new foods, and cultivating meaningful relationships.  In addition to teaching spoken English, I helped my department run speech contests, host international studies conferences, and even win a few relay races.  I also worked with my counterparts to introduce a creative writing competition and other cultural events that gave the members in my community the opportunity to engage with each other in an informal learning environment!  It was both my experience in China and my time volunteering with resettled refugee communities that brought me here to Fletcher.  In my free time, I love to travel, practice yoga, and bullet journal.  I look forward to connecting with you and answering any of your questions about the admissions process and life at Fletcher!

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It’s hard to believe, but the first of the students to arrive (aside from those who are on campus for a quick English brush-up) will start the pre-session courses on August 14, less than two weeks from today!  Yikes!  That’s how the summer goes: slow…slow…slow FAST!  FAST!  FAST!  Before we know it, Orientation will be here.  And timed for the pre-session and Orientation arrivals, I have some new-student advice for you from Cindy, our advice-offering Graduate Assistant.  Back in the spring, I asked her to think about the things that would have been handy to know before she arrived for her first year of study.  We like to think that we provide all the key info in official correspondence, so Cindy’s list drills down to some lesser known but still important points.

Between Orientation, pre-session courses, shopping day, and moving into a new apartment or Blakeley Hall, starting Fletcher life can be overwhelming.  Have no fear!  We have compiled a list of useful tidbits that are often overlooked during the hectic start of Fletcher study.  We hope you find this collection of somewhat random tips to be helpful when making your transition to Fletcher.

  • At the beginning of the year, you’ll be assigned a locker.  This is a great place to keep your tea, snacks, and maybe even a change of clothes/shoes for when you really need them.
  • Technology troubles?  The Ginn Library lends out cell phone chargers, computer chargers, and laptops.
  • Don’t forget to join the Social List early on!  Students (and even staff) send out emails to the Fletcher family to find used textbooks, post jobs/internships, get a Tylenol when they have a headache, or promote an event on/off campus.  You can ask the Social List pretty much anything and you will get a response!
  • There are two microwaves that are free for Fletcher students to use: one in Mugar Café and another in the Cabot lower level.
  • We have a compost bin in the coat-hanging nook of the Hall of Flags for all of our environment-friendly folk.
  • A prime study spot is the third floor study room in Ginn Library.  This does need to be booked online through the Ginn Library website.
  • There’s a new coffee machine next to Mugar Computer Lab if you are in a rush and need your caffeine.  The coffee is nicely priced!
  • If you have a bike (which is very useful for getting around campus), you can register it with the Tufts Police Department for free — an added layer of security.  And there are several bike racks near our buildings, for those who bike-commute to campus.
  • You have free access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office Suite.

Returning to point #3, contact the Social List for info on any of these points or to ask returning students more questions about student life.

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Continuing the Q&A advice from the Admissions Graduate Assistants (GAs), we’ll turn first to a critical piece of wisdom — where to study.  As I noted yesterday, the GAs answered these questions a few weeks ago, at the very end of the spring semester.

What is your favorite on-campus study space?

Ashley: I like sitting outside of Ginn Library most of the time, because there’s plenty of light from outside and sometimes you get the pleasant break of a friend walking by and saying hello.  But if that’s not studious enough for you, the third floor of Ginn also has a bank of windows that makes working inside a lot more tolerable!

Brooklyn: The third floor of Ginn Library.  There are windows and sunlight and you can pretend that you are outside doing something more exciting than finance problem sets.

Cindy: I am the kind of person who likes my surroundings to be quiet when I am reading material for my classes.  I enjoy sitting in the Ginn Library or reserving study rooms in the Cabot basement.  If I am getting simple tasks done (checking e-mails, getting organized), I like the high-top tables in the Hall of Flags.

Dristy: In my first year, my favorite study space was the area outside Ginn Library, both for the daylight as well as the potential to socialize.  And in my second year, I spent most of my time in the Mugar Computer Lab that only Fletcher students have access to.  This was mostly because I took classes that required the use of certain software available on school computers, but it proved to be a great study and work space.

How/where did you meet most of your Fletcher friends?  (In class, Orientation, student activities?)

Ashley: I had the benefit of both of my roommates being in pre-session classes while I was getting settled in Somerville — so I met a lot of folks through them.  Certainly Orientation was the first big chance to meet new faces, but I think from there friendships developed organically, inside and outside of class, and through the friends I’d already begun to make.  I still find myself making new friends, even in my last semester.

Brooklyn: I met most of my Fletcher friends during Orientation, but didn’t really become friends until well along in the first semester.  Be open to going to social events, even through your school work might make it feel prohibitive.  Think of it as networking!

Cindy: I met most of the people I spend time with in class and during extracurricular activities that I regularly attend.  I also met some wonderful people at social hours, which happen on Thursdays.  I would recommend forming study/reading groups with classmates as a way to get to know each other, and I also recommend going to as many events as possible during the fall to meet fellow classmates early on.

Dristy: I met most of my closest Fletcher friends in class and at events/activities organized by student organizations.  Those were the natural ways to meet people with shared interests while spending time doing what we enjoy.

What is something you regret not doing while at Fletcher?  (Help incoming students to avoid making the same mistake.)

Ashley: To be honest, I am struggling to answer this question — it seems as though I’ve done a lot in two years here! — but I suppose I wish I had gone into Boston more often.  I already know the city pretty well, but there are always new things to do and places to visit.  It’s just too easy to remain in the Fletcher environs, as there is no shortage of things to do and people to see here, either!

Brooklyn: I regret not applying to internships sooner.  Not sure where you want to be?  Who cares!  If you apply to an investment bank and decide later on that it’s not a good fit for you, then you can always turn down an offer.  On the other hand, you will never get an offer if you missed the application deadlines.  You’ll never learn to swim if you don’t get in the pool!

Cindy: I regret not going to any of the Open Mic Nights this year.  I heard awesome things about them, and I wish I had made the time for at least one.  I also regret having a lot of late afternoon and evening classes this semester.  I missed some really great events that I wish I could have gone to.

Dristy: As I wrap up my time at Fletcher, when I look back, I feel honored to have had this journey, but there are two things that I will always regret not doing enough of during my time here.  First, I wish I had taken more advantage of office hour with professors.  I think it would have allowed me to strengthen my relationships with them and added significantly to my learning experience.  Second, I regret not participating enough in school-wide events, especially in my second year.  As my course load increased with the semester, it became more difficult to prioritize attending events, such as talks by guest speakers, panel discussions, etc.  These events have proven to be incredible opportunities to expand my knowledge and understanding of topics outside class and beyond my area of interest, so I definitely wish I had attended more of those during my time here.

What additional tips would you offer to incoming students?

Ashley: Enjoy your time at Fletcher!  With graduation right around the corner for me, I can assure you it goes by pretty quickly.  As important as the work you’ll be doing is, don’t forget to make plenty of time for the truly excellent community of people that Fletcher has to offer.

Brooklyn: Graduate school is what you make of it, so get involved early.  Don’t let your dreams be dreams!

Cindy: Don’t be afraid to ask for help; don’t worry about not being able to do everything; have an open mind; put yourself in new situations; and take the time to hang out with your friends!  Your time at Fletcher will go by so quickly, and I hope you enjoy every minute of it!

Dristy: I encourage incoming students to take advantage of the Shopping Day, Course Evaluations, and insights from second years/alumni to help them select courses.  I would also highly recommend taking the foreign language exam early in your time at Fletcher (especially the oral exam, which in some cases may require you to coordinate with professors outside Tufts).

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So far, I’ve shared the lists of suggested (but hardly required) reading, and now I have some advice for incoming students from our Admissions Office Graduate Assistants (GAs).  Before they left campus, we asked Ashley, Brooklyn, Cindy, and Dristy (ABC&D) for their answers to a few questions.  Their responses are below and will continue tomorrow.

Whether you did it or not, what would you suggest incoming students do to prepare for their Fletcher studies?

Ashley: Get a little bit of a plan in order.  Some things (your finances!) require more careful planning than others, but it doesn’t hurt to get a good handle on what sorts of classes you might like to take, what your commute to campus will be like, or where you might like to explore in the Boston area.  You should be ready to deviate from that plan once you get here, but having given it some thought ahead of time will make those first few weeks a little less overwhelming and will allow you to get your footing more quickly.  Already knowing some of my options made it a lot easier to make decisions with all of the new information I got upon arrival.

Brooklyn: Prepare for the equivalency exams!  If you have studied a subject before (statistics or economics) you can test out of the lower level classes, but it’s likely that you will need a little bit of a refresher on the content prior to taking the exam.  It really helps you get the most out of your time at Fletcher because, since you are only here for two years, you don’t want to waste your time on a class you’ve already taken just because you were too lazy over the summer to crack open a book for a few hours.

Cindy: If you have time off in the summer before you officially come to Fletcher, maybe plan a trip to visit the Boston/Medford/Somerville area, just to get a feel for what it’s like to live here.  My husband and I made a trip up to secure housing, and we also took the time to visit the Tufts/Fletcher campus, eat at a couple of great restaurants, and take some scenic drives/walks around the area.

A second thing I would recommend is to brush up on your language skills if you know that you have been out of practice for a little while.  I took time over the summer to study Russian, which is the language I plan to test for, which was very helpful for transitioning to Fletcher.

Last, read up about the Design and Monitoring course offered during the August pre-session.  It’s only offered once each year, right before the fall semester, and it is also a pretty popular class.  I will be taking it this summer before I start my second year, and I wish I had talked to other students about the course when I first started, to see if it was something I really wanted to gain experience in.  I am very glad I have a chance to take it in August!

Dristy: I encourage incoming students to rest, relax, and spend time with family and friends before commencing this journey.  I also encourage brushing up on foreign language skills over the summer because, once the semester begins, it gets difficult to carve out time to prepare for the exam.  Also, those who intend on taking the economics and quantitative equivalency tests, I would encourage them to review the material over the summer.  Since the equivalency exams take place during Orientation week, you may not have time to brush up directly before the exams.

For international students, especially those who have not visited or lived in the U.S. before, I strongly encourage you to reach out to current international students to get useful insights and tips on how to navigate some of the basics in the U.S., for example, where to buy (and costs for) bedding, personal care supplies, phone plans, etc.

Whether you did it or not, what would you suggest incoming students NOT do before starting their Fletcher studies?

Ashley: Don’t stress!  Easier said than done, I know.  And certainly, don’t feel bad when you inevitably are stressed in your first semester — being back in school can be a huge adjustment, not to mention being (for many people) in a new place, meeting new people, and so on.  But you need not add to your anxiety level in these last few months before Fletcher begins with worries about how everything will go, whether you’ll make new friends, if your apartment will be livable, etc.  (Everything will go just fine and there are people to help you if it doesn’t.  You’ll absolutely make friends, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time in your apartment anyway!)

Brooklyn: Do NOT wait until starting your Fletcher studies to start thinking about bigger picture items such as “What do I want to get out of my time here?  Are there any non-academic goals I want to set?  Are there any faculty/staff who could be helpful in reaching these goals?  Where do I want to intern/work after Fletcher?  What sectors really interest me?”  School can seem pretty overwhelming at first, but if you have some of the bigger picture items at least somewhat outlined, it helps you fill in the rest of the pieces of the puzzle (like which classes to take and which extracurricular activities to get involved in) as you start moving on your first semester.

Cindy: Do not stress about housing!  I looked for hours and days in a row to try and find a place for my husband, dog, and me, and I agonized over it.  While it is tough finding a dog-friendly apartment at a reasonable price, we eventually found a place and are happy.

Dristy: It is exciting to think about classes and all the interesting things you are going to learn at Fletcher, but I would suggest incoming students not worry about figuring out classes for the fall semester or how to fulfill the breadth and depth requirements.  We offer Shopping Days at the beginning of every semester when many professors give brief introductions to the courses they are offering that semester.  I found the Shopping Days incredibly helpful to learn about courses and professors, and they helped me a lot in making decisions about what classes to take.

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One of the questions we hear most often at this time of year asks whether students often work on campus and, if so, how they find their jobs.  That makes this the perfect opportunity to introduce “Q&A with Cindy” — a new occasional feature in which our Graduate Assistant Cindy will answer some of the questions popping up most often in the Fletcher Admissions inbox.  Obviously, Cindy has found herself a job, so let’s have her describe the process.

Even before submitting my application to Fletcher, I was already thinking about how I would support myself while in graduate school.  The reality of a Fletcher education is that the tuition and average housing cost you will pay is expensive, but I like to consider it an investment in my future career and professional network.  That being said, I started researching right away how to obtain a job either on or off campus.

The JobX website became my best friend the summer before coming to Fletcher, when I was already living in the area after completing my work as a teacher.  This website is run by Tufts University and utilized by both employers to post jobs and students to explore what opportunities are available.  If you click on “Students” then “Find a Job,” it takes you to a page where you can filter for both on- and off-campus jobs and also whether the job is “work study.”*  I was able to get in touch with several employers through this website to obtain more information about positions.  I looked at jobs within the Study Abroad Office, Tufts Student Services, The Tisch College of Civic Life, and various undergraduate departments.  I was lucky to obtain a summer job before starting at Fletcher, which gave me extra money for living expenses.

My second best friend (or enemy, depending on how many messages I received each day) was my email inbox.  At the beginning of my first semester, I was inundated with emails about student organizations, events at Fletcher, classes being offered, and, luckily, available jobs at Fletcher.  After sorting through what was important and what was not, I came across an email from the Fletcher Office of Admissions about an open position.  One thing led to another, and I am now happily working as a Graduate Assistant with the Admissions Team.

Aside from my particular job, there are other types of employment available to students.  You can reach out to professors who teach at Fletcher or at the undergraduate level who may be looking for teaching or research assistants.  There are also tutoring positions, sometimes available through the Fletcher Graduate Writing Center.  For those of you who are comfortable with the dorm lifestyle, you can look into becoming a Graduate Residence Director.  Of course, there is always the option of doing your own off-campus hunt for retail, food service, or other jobs that fit your weekly schedule.

One thing to keep in mind is that whatever job you take will mostly help to cover your living expenses.  Realistically, your job earnings will not contribute much towards chipping away at your tuition.  Despite this, I hope some of the job information provided above has been helpful to you.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

*Note that people use the phrase “work study” in two ways.  One is simply to refer to a job that fits a student schedule.  The other is an official program for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.  Some offices will only hire students who have the official “work study” funding, though many will not impose that restriction.

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It would be much harder and so much less pleasant to do our work if not for the help of our Graduate Assistants (GAs) — Fletcher students who work about ten hours per week in our office.  In the old days (about three years ago) our office still dealt with a lot of paper — recommendations, transcripts, test scores all arrived by mail.  These days, nearly everything is done through our Slate application and the GAs can offer us much more than simply cutting open envelopes.  Today I want to introduce the four GAs working with us this year.  You might meet them if you visit, or chat with them if you call.  And now you’ll know that there’s a real person with the name signed on your email.

But first, the quickest of digressions.  Today is our Early Notification deadline.  I will save the GAs some work if I tell you that submitting an application on November 15 means you should zap it through by 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC-5).  Any later will no longer be November 15.  And now, with no further ado, let’s meet the GAs.

Ashley:
AshleyHello future Fletcherites!  I am a second-year MALD student, pursuing the International Business Relations and International Communications Fields of Study.  Building on undergraduate degrees in both international affairs and photography, I am particularly interested in the impact of visual communication tools (i.e. photo and video) in the global context — especially in media and publishing.  I look forward to pursuing a career in these industries when I graduate, and was fortunate to spend last summer interning with Scholastic Publishing on project management, photo editing, and business analysis.

At Fletcher, I’m regularly involved with The Murrow Center for a Digital World, serve as Managing Web Editor for Fletcher’s oldest student-run foreign policy journal, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, and am also engaged with groups such as Tech@Fletcher and the International Business Club.  Prior to arriving in the Boston area, I spent four and a half years in Washington, DC, with a non-profit organization focused on global leadership development and U.S. public diplomacy.  I worked primarily with the external affairs team on public programming, fundraising, and communications.  I also had the opportunity to help develop strategic initiatives with the European Union, India, China, and Turkey.  Then and now, I love travel, film, and tennis.  I look forward to connecting with you and answering your questions about Fletcher!

Brooklyn:
BrooklynHi everyone!  I am a first-year MIB student focusing on Strategic Management and International Consultancy, as well as Global Political Economy.  Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I moved to Washington, DC to attend American University, where I studied international relations, focusing on U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and Spanish language.

After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2012, I started working at Chemonics International as a project management team member.  Six-months into my time there, I moved from the Latin America Regional Business Unit (RBU) to the Asia RBU, where I had the opportunity to learn about the culture and complexities of a region of the world that was new to me.  While working in the Asia region, I was involved in projects spanning from Pakistan to the Pacific Islands that covered topics such as governance, climate change adaptation, combating human-trafficking, and economic growth.  It was my work with the Vietnam Governance for Inclusive Growth project that sparked my interest in the public sector and led me to Fletcher!  In my personal time I love doing Pilates and spin classes, trying new restaurants, and going to the movies.  I look forward to hearing from you in the Admissions Office this year!

Cindy:
CindyHello everyone!  I am a first-year MALD student, concentrating my studies in International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and International Organizations, and pursuing a certificate in Diplomatic Studies.  I grew up in Spring Hill, Florida and later received my BA in political science, anthropology and a minor in Russian at the University of Florida (go Gators!).  I was very fortunate to work with a professor in the political science department on a thesis related to ethnic violence against minorities in the Russian Federation.  This experience sparked my interest in pursuing a degree related to international affairs.

When I graduated, I was accepted into Teach For America as a fifth-grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in Halifax, North Carolina.  As a teacher I honed my leadership skills, shared my passion for reading and writing with my students, and fostered lifelong relationships with my colleagues.  Through learning about Teach For America’s mission, I became devoted to issues of minority rights and providing quality education to children regardless of their background or zip code.

At Fletcher, I want to focus my research on diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States.  I am also interested in developing knowledge and skills related to international education and international minority rights.  At the moment, I am considering self-designing my own field related to these two areas.  I aspire to one day be working with an international organization that is devoted to advocating for human rights, more specifically minorities, or to within the United States government related to Eurasian or Russian affairs.

I have already become very involved on campus, and there seems to be a club for just about anything!  I recently joined the Ambassachords, Fletcher’s premier a cappella group, and I have even been able to perform in one of our Culture Nights!  In my spare time I love to cook, read, go for walks with my dog Obi, and spend time with my wonderful husband Brian.  I am very excited to be working with the Admissions Team, and I hope that I can bring the spirit I have for this school to both current and prospective students!

Dristy:
DristyNamaste!  I am a second-year MALD student from Kathmandu, Nepal.  I received an International Baccalaureate from the United World College of the American West in New Mexico, and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a major in psychology and double minor in economics and Spanish.  As a native of a developing country, I have always been very interested in understanding and tackling the challenges of development.  After my undergrad, I spent a few years working for various actors in international development in areas ranging from entrepreneurship, to local governance, social accountability, social protection, and capacity building.  Immediately before coming to Fletcher, I worked for AmeriCares, an emergency response and global health international organization, helping them set up in Nepal and supporting their efforts in response to the massive earthquakes that devastated the country in April 2015.

At Fletcher, I am pursuing the Certificate on International Development, with Public & NGO Management and Human Security as my Fields of Study.  This year I also have the pleasure and honor of co-leading the Asia Club and FletcherCares, which have given me more ways to engage with the Fletcher community.  I am excited to be a part of this team at the Office of Admissions again this year and look forward to answering any questions you may have, in order to help you navigate through the graduate school research and application process.

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The final post in the series of advice from the Admissions Graduate Assistants asks for their most important overall suggestion.

GAs

Q: What one tip/suggestion would you provide to incoming students?

Ashley: I’ve seen many fellow students dive head first into every opportunity to get engaged that they could get their hands on.  If you can balance it all, that’s great!  There’s no shortage of ways to jump into student clubs and campus events or part-time jobs.  But I’ve often found it better on my sleep and sanity to really dig in deep with a more strategic selection of activities.  (It doesn’t hurt the narrative on your resume either).

Auyon: Explore the area around Fletcher, check out Cambridge and downtown Boston, and get familiar with the transport system.  Don’t forget to relax before school starts!

David: Talk to second-year students and alumni about what their favorite classes were.  They would love to share their experiences and they can also serve as a great resource at Fletcher.

Dristy: Don’t hesitate to ask questions, whether they are about courses, direction to classrooms, the Campus Center at Tufts, or the nearest water fountain.  We have all been in the same boat and everyone at Fletcher is friendly and happy to help.

Moni: Come with an open mind and don’t take things too seriously. Some students arrive knowing their academic focus, having selected both Fields of Study.  However, it is o.k. to take a class, attend an event, or have a moving discussion with someone, and realize that you may want to shift your focus to something more specific within your initial field or something entirely different.  This can happen and it is great when you have such a huge support system, such as everyone in the Fletcher community, who can guide you along the way!  As John Lennon used to say “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

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We know that many incoming students are still actively making their housing arrangements, so today’s post of advice from the Graduate Assistants considers housing options.

GAs
Q: How did you find your housing?

Ashley: Once I’d found my roommates — one through a mutual friend, and another through a combination of the unofficial admitted student get-togethers in DC and the “I’m looking for a roommate” group spreadsheet — we decided on what we were looking for and set a time to visit Boston in person.  From there, it was a lot of time spent scouring Craigslist, Padmapper, and the like… making a shared list, reaching out to realtors and landlords, sending locally based family to visit prospective units, and setting a schedule for our own visit here.  In the end, one realtor actually led us to a place that wasn’t on our radar, but was perfect for us.  All told, it took some extra elbow grease, but it did result in finding a great apartment!

Auyon: I did an extensive search, initially primarily on Craigslist and the Fletcher housing spreadsheet, but ultimately I had to go through a realtor using sites such as Zillow.  Because I was looking for a one-bedroom apartment (I came here with my wife), my options were limited.  In terms of the budget, the fewer the rooms, the higher the rent per person.

David: When I applied to Fletcher, I was living in the Czech Republic.  To make life easier on myself, I decided to apply to Blakeley Hall and lived on campus for my first year.  Blakeley is a community within the Fletcher community and it was a great way to get to know an awesome contingent of Fletcher students.

After my first year, I moved into a house with four close Fletcher friends.  Our house is one of the four “color houses” that host some of the social events for Fletcher students.  I would advise those looking for housing to try to reach out to second-year Fletcher students, as many of them are graduating and their off-campus housing will be available.

Dristy: I found my housing on Craigslist — a great place to find rooms and apartments in the area, but it’s definitely important to be very careful and strategic in vetting out spam postings.

Moni: I, unfortunately, did not have much time to look for housing since I left my job shortly prior to starting Fletcher, but applied for Blakeley housing my first year and got a spot!  Friends of mine who looked for housing mentioned that the Admitted Students Facebook page served as a great source for finding housing options, since current students post listings.  Admitted students also organized a Google Doc with what they were interested in renting and paired it with available options.  There are many options around campus and many wiling students in the community to help out!  Another added incentive to connecting with current or graduated students is that houses usually come furnished, since they are passed down from one student to the next, and it makes the process easier when picking what to go for.

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As important as it is to have some tips on what to do as a Fletcher student, it can be equally helpful to know what not to do.  Today, the Graduate Assistants provide their tips along those lines.

GAs

Q: Whether you did it or not, what would you suggest incoming students NOT do before starting their Fletcher studies?

David: Do not feel that you need to have all the details about graduate school and the future figured out before you arrive for Orientation.  You will find that Fletcher is not only a great place to further develop your current interests, but also to discover new ones.

Dristy: It is exciting to think about classes and all the interesting things you are going to learn at Fletcher, but I would suggest incoming students not worry about having to figure out classes for the fall semester or how you would fulfill the breadth and depth requirements.  Shopping Day, when many professors give brief introductions to the courses they will offer that semester, is incredibly helpful for learning more about the course and the professor, and also helps a lot in making decisions about what classes to take.

Moni: It is tempting to get a head start on readings for classes you plan to take.  However, use this time wisely and refine other skills that will serve you well during your time at Fletcher.  Spend time with family and friends — don’t go crazy trying to beat the curve.

Ashley: Don’t forget to take a little time off, if you can.  Though that month-long backpacking trip around Asia won’t be a possibility for everyone, taking even a week (or at least a long weekend) before settling in at Fletcher is a pretty vital opportunity to recharge the batteries and clear your mind for the rewarding and exciting – but often exhausting and stressful – adventure that is grad school.

Auyon: Don’t narrow down your options in terms of courses and fields of studies before starting at Fletcher and before talking to professors, your advisors, and other students (especially second years).

Q: What is something that you worried about that you found you didn’t need to worry about?

Moni: Completing all the readings, for all my classes, all the time.  It is very hard to do so and you exclude other options of analyzing the readings more in depth and grasping ideas by other means.  Life at Fletcher is great, but very busy.  So if you cannot cover all the readings, organize study groups with students in class and split up the readings.  This is a way to provide summary reports of all the readings and then discuss in the group setting, before class, some of the main points and theories covered.  You may also find it incredibly helpful as it helps shape the discussion once you are in class.  Adapt and overcome!

Ashley: Don’t worry too much about making ALL of your BEST friends in the first week, or even in the first few months.  Just like any new relationship, it will happen, but it will happen organically.  You’ll have plenty of people to hang out with until it really clicks — this is the Fletcher Community after all — and some of those folks will end up being your best buds here at Fletcher and beyond.  But don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed with expectations.

Auyon: I worried about the challenge of grad school studies more than I needed to.  If you are on top of things — you do the readings and assignments, prepare for and contribute to group meetings/projects, talk to the professors and TAs, actively seek help when you need if from classmates and others, and are organized about your schedule and time (highly recommend using google calendar) — you will be fine!

David: I thought that I needed to have my life figured out by the time I arrived at Fletcher.  I realized that I was one of many who had an idea of what I wanted to do, but definitely did not have every step of the way planned out.  During my time here at Fletcher, I found that my interests also grew and transformed, and so did my plan for post-Fletcher.

Dristy: I was worried about going back to student life after working as a professional for almost four years, but I realized that it is a fairly common concern that most of us have.  Although the first few weeks required some discipline, soon enough, I easily adapted to the student mode and started enjoying doing the long list of required readings and writing papers for class.  It may take time to adjust at the beginning, but the pace of coursework picks up very fast, and we adapt pretty quickly.  So, definitely no need to worry about that!

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