Experiential learning at Fletcher
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: graduate school is about much more than taking a handful of classes over a couple years. Fletcher students are of course deep thinkers, but they’re also active doers. It’s been gratifying, then, to see an uptick over the past few years in programming and available funding to help support the various professional and scholarly pursuits of our students. A major example is the Fletcher D-Prize, which has recently started announcing its annual call for applications. Administered by Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC), the D-Prize challenges applicants to combat poverty through entrepreneurship, focusing on a variety of sectors including girls’ education, agriculture, energy, global health, and governance and infrastructure. It’s not just a framed certificate and a hearty handshake of congratulations, either; D-Prize winners receive an award of up to $30,000 to pilot their initiatives. Previous winning projects have involved rural solar light distribution, a girls’ education sponsorship platform in Western China, and a low-cost shipping and logistics initiative focused on East Africa. I’ll be sure to keep blog readers posted about the results of this year’s competition.
The Fletcher Educational Enrichment Fund (or FEEF, as we’ve somewhat inelegantly taken to calling it), is another new-ish initiative that likewise provides students with potential support to conduct independent research, or to attend conferences or competitions. The nice thing about FEEF is that it’s a truly general program open to proposals on a wide array of topics. Applicants may be awarded small grants to support travel expenses, event registration fees, and other incidental costs related to off-site research and professional projects. FEEF award recipients have conducted independent field research in Myanmar, Lebanon, Colombia, and Indonesia (among many other locations), attended conferences in Tallinn, Brussels, Capetown, and London (again, among others), competed in cyber-security simulation competitions, and attended young professional summits and conferences. You’ll hear more about some individual FEEF-sponsored activities on this blog throughout the year.
One way or another, it’s extremely common for Fletcher students to actively put into practice what they’re learning during their time here. These examples are in addition to the wide variety of internships students pursue (often in the summer, when a full-time commitment is possible). When we refer to Fletcher as a place that combines theory and practice, this is what we’re talking about!