“ I always expected to work in Washington, DC (my family lived in Maryland), but I would never have guessed that within four years of graduation I would have responsibility for managing a monthly magazine on diplomacy and international affairs and be writing daily reports about security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as key developments in Central Asia and Afghanistan. I'm also editing a group of incredible writers and experts (including one of my former Patterson professors). My time at the Patterson School played a crucial role in refining and ultimately achieving this dream position.
When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to do was write when I "grew up." My first thought was to become a teacher, but three things happened while I was studying history at Shippensburg University: I took a course on US Diplomatic History, was selected for an honors program trip to China, and upon returning took a course on the history of Islam in Central Asia. I had discovered my passion and my region. Now my challenge was to find a graduate program where I could nurture and merge my interests in history, politics and international affairs -- I didn't want to study one point in history; I wanted to understand how everything fit together.
I looked beyond the Beltway at top schools with diplomacy and international security programs. Patterson was selective, intimate, and a value. Indeed, it was the most affordable option by far, and in 2010 - two years into the economic downturn - national employment statistics argued against accumulating significant debt whether my heart was set on a career in government, journalism, or the private sector. I'd never even visited the state of Kentucky before deciding on Patterson. Sometimes you just have to jump.
At the Patterson School, I focused on international security and diplomacy, but to challenge myself I also took Dr. Hillebrand's economics courses because the second years reported these were the program's most difficult. I threw myself into everything Patterson offered, thoroughly enjoying the crisis simulations and negotiation exercises, carefully reading the feedback scrawled on my memos, sitting around playing war games with Dr. Farley and the other security wonks, and taking time to get to know all my professors and classmates.
I worked a variety of jobs in DC before landing at The Diplomat. I interned at the Atlantic Council on the Strategic Foresight Initiative and then took a series of program assistant jobs in with the Cyber Statecraft Initiative. Afterwards, I took on a website production and social media role for the entire organization. Later, I did a turn as a consultant at the World Bank, working on communications for a governance and anticorruption program.
My job at The Diplomat has been by far the most challenging and rewarding experience -- I helped create a monthly publication from nothing but an idea, contacting people whose books I'd read as a student to ask them to write articles for me. I have quickly moved from learning about international affairs to helping shape - through my writing and editing work - the broad conversation that guides the articulation and implementation of foreign policy.
As I moved through the sometimes-choppy waters of DC, I developed a reputation as a person who could figure out just about anything, someone who knew how to research deeply but then write with brevity - these are skills that I honed at Patterson and that I believe are the cornerstone of my success. ”