An illuminating semester
By Vishal Manve
As the spring 2023 semester begins, I am reminiscing about the fall 2022 semester and can gladly say that I am incredibly proud, confident, and yet heartbroken. Confident in my academic journey, proud of my achievements, and heartbroken over losses.
I took Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s IGA 505: Tech Dilemmas for Public Policy class and enjoyed the rigorous learning curve, studying biotechnology, cybersecurity, AI, and ethics associated with the triumvirate concepts. These bi-weekly classes at Harvard Kennedy School complemented my International Communications class with Professor Carolyn Gideon at The Fletcher School, thereby providing me with a strong foundation to navigate technology, communications, and public policy dilemmas.
Midway through the course, Professor Carter passed away, leaving behind an unparalleled global and national legacy and a classroom full of policy students struggling to grasp the monumental loss. In his spirit and legacy, the TAs and the university continued the class and subsequently selected 10 students from the class for a fully-funded Red Horizon Force and Diplomacy in Eurasia Executive Simulation program. I am one of the participants, and this experience beautifully ties together the entire semester with a neat academic ribbon.
Moving on, through the summer of 2022, I worked as a trade intern at United States Council on International Business and worked with F91 Alice Slayton Clark. I worked through multiple policy papers on trade, sustainability, and global supply chains and attended multiple high-profile conferences, events, and had opportunities to meet policymakers in Washington D.C. This experience solidified my skills, confidence, and honed my desire to continue in the policy arena. I carried back with me a sense of purpose – personally and professionally, which has translated into my academics and other opportunities that I took up.
I took International Communications, Climate Risk Adaptation, Energy Entrepreneurship and Finance, and Tech Policy classes and audited Introduction to Statistics. Subsequently, I overloaded my semester with an introduction to qualitative research with Professor Kimberly Wilson. All of these classes have been extremely fruitful, honing my fields of study – climate and technology policy and offering me avenues to choose niche areas to research upon.
On the work front, I continued my role at The Russia and Eurasia Program, joined The stAAR Center as a Graduate Writing Consultant, and absolutely loved working with students. I have worked extremely hard in these roles and am extremely proud of my time management skills – something I learned from many Fletcher professors and classmates.
Finally, I also started interning with UNFCCC in October and worked through COP 27, offering multimedia, editorial, and research support during the two-week conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. As the conference concluded, my focus areas shifted to researching green hydrogen, the role of venture capitalists in climate finance and enabling clean energy transitions, and planning the next stage of my academic career.
I spent the rest of the winter break working on my capstone, figuring out classes for spring 2023, and planning my graduation. I am extremely thankful and proud of my academic journey at Fletcher. The school is my home and my classmates are my family, away from my parents.
And I cannot wait to see what the future holds for all of my graduating Januarian friends as I prepare to step into their shoes in May 2023.