Alex Herkert (B.A.’17), an undergraduate at the Jackson Institute, won the Keasbey Memorial Foundation Scholarship to obtain two master’s degrees at Oxford. The first degree will be in contemporary Chinese studies, and the second will be global governance and diplomacy. He was one of two American students to win this fellowship in 2017 and was nominated by Yale out of his senior class.
Herkert’s time at the Jackson Institute shaped his path to Oxford — he viewed the small class sizes, opportunities to write in-depth research papers, and access to world-class faculty as pivotal in his academic career. He credited Professor Ted Wittenstein (who taught several of Herkert’s Global Affairs seminars) as a valuable faculty mentor and guide in his Oxford application process. Among his favorite Global Affairs classes was Wittenstein’s Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy.
His Global Affairs B.A. experiences shaped his interests and Keasby fellowship application; Herkert participated in the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and interned at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing as an economic analyst. Both of these experiences came through and guided Herkert to his master’s programs on diplomacy and China. The Jackson Institute supported Herkert’s work in Beijing, and he credits that experience with his postgraduate plans. The Grand Strategy program also gave him valuable mentors: Professor Elizabeth Bradley, the Brady-Johnson Professor of Grand Strategy and a Jackson Institute professor, and Christopher Miller, the program’s associate director, provided guidance and research opportunities in Asia.
Through the Jackson Institute’s support, Herkert spent all of his undergraduate summers in China and met diplomats, businesspeople, and world leaders in the region. Herkert concentrated in the Security track and took Chinese during every semester at Yale in conjunction with the Global Affairs major. The intensive writing in Global seminars gave Herkert the confidence and experience to write graduate-level research papers and gave him an excellent body of work to submit to Oxford. Herkert said one of his favorite aspects of the Jackson Institute was its amazing roster of speakers, who he said influenced his undergraduate and professional aspirations.