The quantitative rigor, the opportunities in DC, and the great environment are hard to match at other programs.
Why did you choose the McCourt School?
I've known for a long time I wanted to work in government and public service - and having lived in DC for 3 years prior to starting my graduate program at the McCourt School, I did not want to lose out on the numerous opportunities and internships that I knew were available here. In addition, I wanted a degree that gave me very specific skills that set me apart from other public policy students that would be applying to similar jobs. I have always enjoyed math and quantitative analysis, and while having dabbled in the field when I was completing my undergraduate degree, I realized I wanted a program with a strong focus on statistics and analysis. The McCourt School fit exactly what I was looking for, and was my top choice program.
How has your experience at the McCourt School been so far?
Excellent. My experience at the McCourt School has been excellent, and McCourt is a great representation of what a professional degree program should offer. I have received excellent academic support from all of my professors, they are extremely dedicated and are always willing to help you nail down tough concepts. I have made great friends with passionate people, and I love being in an environment that is wholly focused on helping others through public service.
Have you taken advantage of the McCourt School's DC location? If so, how?
I have taken advantage of the location in two key ways.
First, I love the numerous free panels and speaking events that occur throughout the city all year round. Few locations can boast events like DC has, but the proliferation of think tanks, universities, museums, and government agencies has created a rich, academic, intellectual cradle unrivaled in much of the world.
Second, I have had great internships and jobs. My first internship, in Spring of 2016 was with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Policy, where I focused on Caribbean policy. This was a great introduction to government work, and I gained a lot of exposure and close friendships from that internships. Over the summer, I interned with the Department of State's Embassy to Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) in Sarajevo. While in BiH, I interned with the Econ section, focusing on Agriculture, Environment, Science, Technology and Health. I hiked and traveled almost every weekend (sometimes on official trips) and gained an understanding of how our country's foreign policy is executed and how our relationships with our allies are nurtured and developed. After I returned, I have remained with the Department of State in a Foreign Affairs position in DC. Here I work on Climate-Smart Agriculture at the Office of Global Food Security, which sits in the Secretary's bureau. I have learned a ton about climate change, negotiations, agreements, and development in this position, and I hope to continue my work with the State Department.
What do you hope to do with your McCourt School degree?
I hope to continue working on foreign affairs issues with the State Department, and ideally move into a field that addresses human rights issues, ethnic conflict and genocide within a government context.
What would you say about the McCourt School to a prospective student?
McCourt is a great school if you have a good idea about your goals. If you know you want to work in government, or government-related work, and you have a policy field of interest and a good work ethic, McCourt is a perfect place for you. The quantitative rigor, the opportunities in DC, and the great environment are hard to match at other programs.