Currently viewing the tag: "Map Your Future"

With the newly minted Class of 2018 graduates now out in the world, I’d like to turn back to the Class of 2017 and their reflections on their first year post-Fletcher.  We’ve already heard from Ammar and Sydney; today we’ll hear from Dan, who describes his long path to and through Fletcher.  As a reminder, Map Your Future applicants apply roughly two years before they will officially start Fletcher classes.

My Fletcher journey started several years before I actually enrolled in my first class and will continue for many years to come.  As part of Fletcher’s Map Your Future Program, I was originally admitted to Fletcher in May 2012, shortly before I finished my undergraduate degree.  With the knowledge that I would eventually join the Fletcher Class of 2016, I then worked for several international development firms in Washington, DC, before spending a year working with cocoa farmers in rural Ghana as a Princeton in Africa Fellow.

My time in Ghana also introduced me to just how far the Fletcher alumni network reaches, as, while there, by pure chance, I met one of a small number of Fletcher graduates who had participated in the dual degree program with Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy.  After learning about the exciting opportunity to combine my Fletcher education in development economics with a second master’s program focused on international food policy, I decided to apply to Friedman from abroad.  Upon my acceptance to Friedman, I deferred my official matriculation at Fletcher by an additional year and joined the three-year dual degree program as a member of the Class of 2017.

My three years as a Fletcher/Friedman student were exciting and eye-opening.  Thanks to Fletcher’s interdisciplinary curriculum, I took courses on topics ranging from negotiation theory to humanitarian assistance, many of which have been helpful to me since I graduated.  In addition to working with remarkable professors both in and out of the classroom, my Tufts education offered me the chance to build lasting friendships with classmates from around the world and, eventually, to travel myself as well.

During the two summers between my years at Tufts, I first worked on Feed the Future programs with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then worked on nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs with Abt Associates in Bethesda, Maryland.  In addition, during my third and final year of graduate school, I had a unique opportunity to conduct research for my capstone project in Bhubaneswar, India, thanks to funding from Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC).  (For more information about my capstone research through IBGC, check out my blog post.)

Following my graduation last May, I began a two-year position with ACDI/VOCA as part of the Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program.  As a Leland Fellow, I have been living in Iringa, Tanzania since October, working on the USAID Tanzania NAFAKA Cereals Market System Development Project.  NAFAKA is a maize and rice value chain project focused on increasing smallholder farmers’ incomes, improving nutritional outcomes, and ensuring market access for vulnerable groups.

From a meeting of community health workers about the benefits of fortified maize flour. Dan is in the back on the left.

While working in Iringa, I have used the skills I gained at Fletcher and Friedman on a daily basis.  In particular, I have directly put tools from courses on market approaches to development, survey research, and econometric impact evaluation into action during the past few months while designing and implementing an impact assessment.  The study is intended to measure the extent to which demonstration plots showcasing improved seeds and fertilizers influence smallholder farmers’ decisions to invest in those improved inputs, and the initial results have been promising.

Throughout the six years since I first decided to join the Fletcher community, I’ve met Fletcher students and alumni all over the world.  I’ve already crossed paths with two fellow Fletcher alumni in 2018 as part of my work here in Tanzania, and I’m sure that I’ll continue to find unexpected and rewarding Fletcher connections wherever my career in international development takes me.

Like Oscar and Felix of The Odd Couple, the two programs with a deadline today are an unlikely pairing.  Our youngest applicants — those who apply to the MALD or MIB programs through the Map Your Future pathway — and our academically most advanced applicants — those aiming for the PhD program — are in the final stages of application preparation, if they haven’t submitted their materials already.  And just as the two programs are different, our reasons for assigning them this December 20 deadline have little in common.

PhD applications face a particularly long review process, involving not only the PhD Admissions Committee, but also potential faculty advisors.  Every admitted PhD student needs to be assigned an advisor at the point of admission and it’s meant to be a relationship that continues throughout the student’s time at Fletcher.  All this review takes time and we realized years ago that the process would go more smoothly if we started the clock ticking earlier, though PhD applicants are notified of the decision on their application at the same time as everyone else.

For Map Your Future applicants, our thinking was simply that we wanted to be able to offer a little extra time for pre-application communication/counseling and that’s easier to do in December than it is in January.

A quick check this morning showed me that we already have quite a few PhD and MYF applications ready to be reviewed, and many more in another phase of preparation.  For those still adding the finishing flourishes to their applications, you have until 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC -5) tonight.

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Here’s some news we’re really excited about:  A new Admissions opportunity called the Map Your Future Program.  Students currently in their final year of undergraduate studies can apply to Fletcher for the class entering two years after their admission.  In other words, those about to begin (or currently in) their final year in September 2011 would apply during the 2011-12 admissions cycle, and if they’re admitted, they’d start at Fletcher in September 2014.

This is a great way for our future students to pursue professional opportunities with grad school admission already in hand.  It’s also a great way to reassure mom, dad, professor, adviser, etc., etc., that YES you’re going to grad school…but not right now.

I’ve mentioned Map Your Future at only one Information Session so far, but I’ve already received questions in response from attendees.  We’re thinking there are a lot of you out there who will be equally excited about this opportunity.

Reviewing the MYF applications will be new and should be fun for us!  There’s something really special about reading applications to discern potential, rather than accomplishments.  (Although we’re assuming that our MYF students will be accomplished 22-year-olds, they won’t have the professional experience of our typical 27-year-old admitted student.)  I’ll post more as we get closer to the first deadline, but let us  know if you have questions that aren’t answered on the FAQ page.

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