An update about a favorite student from an old friend

Longtime blog readers likely remember our pal Jessica. Until a little over a year ago, Jessica was the owner of this blog, and she remains a good friend of our office. It’s been a treat to have her back at Fletcher for the past few months, and her return has made it easier for her to keep up with a few of her favorite students:

Well, hello everybody.  It’s been a while.  Such a long while, in fact, that most of Dan’s readers will have no idea who I am.  In a nutshell, I worked in Admissions until August of 2018, after which I pursued other work and activities, and now I’m back (temporarily) in Student Affairs.

There are many nice things about being back at Fletcher, especially sitting in this perch that gives me a new perspective on our students.  In fact, connecting with students is one of the happiest aspects of this return gig, given that following students through the arc of their Fletcher experience is absolutely one of the best things (maybe THE best thing) about working in Admissions, as I did for many years.  From pre-application to graduation, it’s always satisfying to be an observer as students find their way and then go off to do great things.

Roxani PhD defenseAmong the students still at Fletcher since I left in 2018 are many PhD candidates, who can usually count on being in the program for five years or so.  And last week, I had the genuine pleasure to attend a dissertation defense from Roxani Krystalli, who started in the MALD program in 2012.  She was a good friend of Admissions and was one of the very first Admissions student bloggers.  You might want to catch up on all her posts, but I’d especially encourage you to read her very first one.  Roxani’s trajectory has been remarkably linear, as can be seen from her dissertation title: “We are not good victims” – Hierarchies of Suffering and the Politics of Victimhood in Colombia.  As you’ll see in that first blog post, before she even enrolled as a MALD, she already knew that Colombia and gender were themes she would pursue in her future academic work.

(Quick note here that, while resident at Fletcher, Roxani used an Anglicized version of her name.)

Completing a PhD is a long solitary process and I haven’t seen Roxani in some time, but nothing I heard at the defense surprised me.  Her dissertation committee director, Professor Theidon, praised both the content and the quality of writing in the dissertation.  That was a particular non-surprise for me — I never edited anything at all on Roxani’s posts for the Admissions Blog.  Her research for and the writing of her dissertation required that she work in her second and third languages, English and Spanish.  Regardless of the linguistic medium, Roxani’s work is superlative.

Roxani’s defense took place on the day before the student-organized Gender Conference, which she had played an important role in establishing.  In fact, Roxani had also been a key player in the establishment of Gender Analysis as a Field of Study.

A successful PhD defense is always a happy event, all the more so when the dissertation is of the highest quality and the student is beloved in the community.  I know that (newly-minted) Dr. Krystalli is destined to succeed at the highest level.  I can’t wait to hear about her future accomplishments, but I’ll always think back to meeting her early in her first semester as a student in the MALD program.

Roxani defense committee
Roxani with her dissertation committee, Professors Alex de Waal, Dyan Mazurana, and Kimberly Theidon.



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