From the PhD desk: an update from Jessica

Swap hats, change email signature, and I’m off!

Hello Admissions Blog readers!  It is I – Dan’s Fairy Blogmother!

Long story short, for all you newbies, I worked in Admissions until August of 2018, then left for a year, and then returned in August 2019 to help out at Fletcher by working on some projects.  One thing led to another (including a pandemic) and I’m still here.

Since returning, aside from the projects I mentioned, I’ve worked about three months in the Office of Student Affairs to cover a maternity leave, about five months back in Admissions to fill an open position, more projects during the summer, and now I’m directing Fletcher’s PhD program on an interim basis.  (I’ve tended to refer to myself as Fletcher’s in-school substitute teacher (teaches English one day and physics the next), but there are also sports analogies – utility player, for example.)  I’ve enjoyed all my short-term gigs, but working with PhD students is the most fun.

Fletcher has a modest-sized PhD program that is nonetheless chock-a-block with amazing people.  Check out a few of them on the program page.  Students can start their PhD journey by applying either from the MALD or MIB programs or by applying directly with a previous master’s degree, and the students profiled reflect both pathways.  Students select their choice of seven primary Fields of Study, with the largest cluster of students focusing on International Security Studies.

The diversity of academic interests is echoed in our graduates’ career paths.  A hallmark of the program is that it trains students for both traditional academic positions and for careers as practitioners, with many alumni keeping one foot in each.

Since taking on this role, I’ve had the chance to connect with current students, some of whom I’ve known for a long time, such as Gary, who wrote for the blog for both Dan and me.  I was also fortunate last winter to attend the dissertation defense of another PhD blogger, Roxani.  Recently, a current PhD student whom I first met in his MALD application days, Arun Mohan Sukumar, and I exchanged emails when he filled me in on a book he has recently published.  The links between Admissions, where I sat for my pre-2018 Fletcher career, and the PhD office, where I’m (virtually) sitting now, have always been strong!

As an interim director, I have a limited window for making a mark on the program, and I’ll be tinkering around the edges.  But sometimes it’s good to get new eyes and ears on things, so why not do a little tinkering?  For as long as I’m in this interim position, I’ll do my best for the PhD students, of whom I’m both fond and proud!

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