Vishal’s spring semester update

Vishal at the entrance to FletcherToday we’ll hear from Vishal, in the midst of a DC-based summer internship, and glimpsing the finish line of his student experience at Fletcher.

Three semesters down and my journey at The Fletcher School is at a penultimate stage. After completing a major part of my academic requirements, I was fortunate to start my summer internship at USCIB in Washington D.C. Despite rising Covid-19 cases, I am glad to be back in an office setting, interacting with my peers, seniors, and mentors while focusing on researching U.S. Trade policies, emerging ICT trends, and the intersection between climate and trade.

I am extremely satisfied with the role academics has played in my professional and personal growth, and I am looking forward to the next frontier – final two semesters, and the capstone.

As my previous blog mentioned, after evading Covid-19 during two major waves, I was infected in January 2022, during a journey back home to visit my family and friends in India’s financial capital, Mumbai. The same trip saw both my parents testing positive, thereby my return for semester three was delayed by a few weeks. It took me a while to acclimatize myself, recover and start the semester but I had an extremely engaging academic experience with Analytic Frameworks for Public Policy with Professor Carolyn Gideon and Climate Change Policy and Law with professors Kelly Sims Gallagher and Jacob Werksman. While the former taught us applications of probability in policy, the latter taught us the fundamental science and economics behind climate change, international negotiations, and stakeholder analysis.

During the semester, I started working for The Russia and Eurasia Center as a senior staff editor, a day before the unfortunate Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The geopolitical ramifications and the humanitarian impact of the war are catastrophic, as the world has seen. From conducting interviews, writing event reports, editing student blogs, to managing the Center’s social media presence, the job kept me extremely occupied and gave me a strong perspective on Russia-Ukraine history, the political and humanitarian cost of war, through sessions organized by Professor Chris Miller, Daniel Drezner, and other Fletcher and Tufts experts.

As the semester came to a close and the graduation ceremonies for class of 2022 inched closer, we had our first Diplomatic Ball, an annual Fletcher extravaganza for the first time after the pandemic began in 2020. The event was a melee of vibrant dancing, ravenous feasting, and Fletcher students dressed in their finest and celebrating the end of the academic year.

As the graduation day dawned, witnessing friends walking down the runway dressed in their regalia, receiving their certificates, giving speeches as their families watched on was an emotionally rewarding moment. It also offered hope and realization about my own rapid race towards the graduation finale and the imminent arrival of family members on the lawns of The Fletcher School.

I am excited for the fall semester and the possibilities offered by the next phase of my academic journey.

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