Our final annotated curriculum comes from Lisa, in the midst of a busy end-run of balancing courses, her capstone, and dogs!
Intern at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation
Social media manager for small and medium businesses
Fields of Study at Fletcher
Russia and Eurasia (self-designed)
International Information and Communication
Co-Leader of the Fletcher Eurasia Club
Communications Assistant with the Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program
Research Assistant at CIERP
Teaching Assistant to Professor Chris Miller
Volunteering for #SaveOlegSentsov campaign (now called Prisoner’s Voice)
Goals for the Future: Surviving this apocalyptic year; not getting coronavirus if possible; getting a job
In all honesty, I was not entirely sure what I wanted from my Fletcher degree. I came to Fletcher right after completing my undergraduate degree in Global Affairs, which covered a lot of ground and was similar to Fletcher’s Human Security concentration. I did not know whether to focus on a specific geographic region or a field. I ended up doing a little bit of both.
During my first semester, I decided to take courses that would satisfy some of my breadth requirements: I took International Human Rights Law as my ILO course and Processes of International Negotiation along with Development Aid in Practice as my DHP requirements. Additionally, all three of the aforementioned classes also qualify for Human Security field of study and were just extremely interesting to me. I knew I wanted International Information and Communication as one of my concentrations, so I took International Communication as it is a field requirement. Processes of International Negotiation with Professor Diana Chigas was my favorite class that semester. I cannot recommend it strongly enough!
My second semester at Fletcher was extremely challenging academically. I had to change my schedule entirely, because I ended up not enjoying the courses I has signed up for originally. I took Statistics and Intro to Econ to complete my breadth requirements. If you – like me – never had to take economics and statistics, and if you – again, like me – do not enjoy them, I do not recommend taking those two courses during the same semester.
I took a Russian history class with Professor Chris Miller for several reasons. First, I enjoy studying the region. Second, I thought this class would be useful to better my understanding of Russian policy making today through drawing historical connections. Third, I had heard great things about Professor Miller’s classes. This course was my favorite during my second semester at Fletcher! After taking it, I decided that Russia and Eurasia would be my other field of study. Additionally, this course was instrumental in developing my capstone idea and a research question. During my second semester, I also took a Harvard class on Russian domestic politics. It was an extremely reading-heavy but useful course.
My third semester at Fletcher was filled with new experiences: I became a Co-Leader of the Eurasia Club, started working on research for the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), and became a volunteer for the #SaveOlegSentsov campaign after spending my summer interning in Ukraine. It was also probably the best semester classes-wise. This semester, I decided to focus on my International Information and Communication field of study. That is why I took Cyber in the Civilian Sector with Professor Josephine Wolff and GIS for International Applications with Professor Patrick Florance. I loved both of those classes! They are tied in “My Favorite Course” nomination in the third semester.
I took Engaging Human Security with Professor Kimberly Theidon because it is a requirement for the Human Security field of study. Professor Theidon is absolutely brilliant, and her class involved many thought-provoking readings and discussions. Although MALD students are required to complete only two fields of study, some of us end up with three based on our interests – or simply because we are overachievers! I also took Advanced Development and Conflict Resolution with Professor Neil Levine for fun. It sounded like an interesting course, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Okay, I get it now – spring semesters are just not for me. Despite scaling back on my course load, this semester has been another challenging one for me and my classmates, and students all around the world. The good thing is that I am back in my beloved Washington, DC, cuddling with my dogs 24/7. The sad thing is that I miss my friends and in-person classes. It has been quite a change, but I am coping with it by posting hilarious memes on social media, having happy hours with friends over Zoom, and working on my capstone, of course.
This semester I decided to take an Independent Study and use it for my capstone research, since I was worried that it would be difficult to balance four classes, capstone, jobs, the Club, and my social life. I took U.S.-Russia Relations class with Professor Miller because it includes video-linked sessions with the students from MGIMO University in Russia. Additionally, under normal circumstances, as a part of the course Fletcher students travel to Russia over spring break for a conference and student policy workshop. Even though we did not get to go to Russia, this class is still great and engaging. It is hands down my favorite class this semester, and potentially overall during my time at Fletcher.
I am also taking the Corporate Social Responsibility course with Professor Jette Knudsen. I decided to take this class out of sheer curiosity: we hear about CSR on a daily basis, but what does it really mean? This is my only business class at Fletcher, and I enjoy it a lot. Lastly, I am taking Technology, Development, and Regulation with Professor Jonathan Greenacre. I thought this course would be a good addition to my International Information and Communication field.
So, this is my condensed Fletcher story. It is hard for me to believe that in about a month my Fletcher journey will be over. It is sad to realize that my class will have an online graduation, but those are the circumstances outside of our control. I am thankful for the past two years, full of personal and professional growth, friendships, events, and conversations with brilliant people. I am looking forward to seeing my fellow Fletcherites do wonderful and world-changing things!