Q & A

Hear from our graduate students about what being a part of the Jackson community means to them.

Want to know more? Contact our admissions office to be connected with a Jackson student for a one-on-one Skype chat or phone call.

Grant Mandigora

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Class of 2018
What did you do before you came to Jackson?
I worked for the UK Government (UK Trade and Investment) in South Africa.
What do you like most about the M.A. program and the Jackson community?
The diversity in the class is a big plus. The ratio of international students to Americans is 50/50, but beyond that there are individuals from varied backgrounds, ages, levels of work experience, etc. In addition, the flexibility offered when it comes to picking courses from non-Jackson schools is priceless and has allowed me to pursue my concentration without hindrance.
How have you customized your curriculum to match your area of focus?
I've been able to take courses from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the School of Management, which allows me to combine financial and technical skills to complement the policy foundation I received from Jackson.
Any particular experiences that have really stood out?
The team-building weekend at the start of our first year was an excellent idea, but the first semester was full of so many different experiences it's impossible to single out any!
What do you want to do once you’ve finished the program?
I'd like to work in the energy sector upon completion of my M.A.

Ellen Chapin

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Class of 2018
What did you do before you came to Jackson?
I worked on policy, data analysis, and trials at the U.S. Department of Justice.
What do you like most about the M.A. program and the Jackson community?
I love the inherent unity that comes with a small class size at Jackson, and the diversity of interests brought by each individual student.
How have you customized your curriculum to match your area of focus?
I've started meshing classes on my regional focuses and classes on hard skills I hope to develop--the future of counterterrorism depends on data analysis and computer science. Jackson gives me the ability to focus both on the conceptual nuances necessary to pursue strategic studies and the abilities to make myself stand out as a researcher and policy analyst.
Any particular experiences that have really stood out?
Watching the election with the majority of my class was a sobering, yet heartening experience. The solidarity and faith by both American and international students in those moments gave me and others the strength we needed to continue to study our passions.
What do you want to do once you’ve finished the program?
I hope to return to the federal government, likely in the intelligence community.

William Wright

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Class of 2018
What did you do before you came to Jackson?
Military
What do you like most about the M.A. program and the Jackson community?
The warmth and diversity of a really close-knit community with unparalleled access to world-class professors. Jackson is extremely supportive of any student project and endeavor.
How have you customized your curriculum to match your area of focus?
The flexibility of the program was incredibly compelling. Still, it has exceeded expectations. The Jackson administration encourages us to explore classes across the full. I've been able to take classes with legendary practitioners as well as theorists across a wide array of related topics. This semester I am taking classes not only at Jackson but also at Yale Law School, which provides yet another fascinating perspective.
Any particular experiences that have really stood out?
My classmates organized a "Military 101 Global Affair" where our community gathered to discuss life within the military and close the civil-military (and US Government-to-international community) gap. It was really fun to de-bunk some myths and share personal experiences.
What do you want to do once you’ve finished the program?
I'll return to the military, dramatically better prepared to lead and face challenges thanks to the students and faculty at Jackson.