Allison Stanford, a second-year graduate student is wrapping up her studies in the Master’s of Science in International Affairs Program. Following graduation this May 2018, Allison will work a few weeks with the Georgia Tech Germany Language for Business and Technology Program then begin her career with the US Department of Defense this fall.
WHY THE NUNN SCHOOL?
I chose the Nunn School for both undergrad and graduate school because of Georgia Tech's reputation, and the fact that the Nunn School is not your typical "international affairs" program. I really like the fact that the curriculum extends beyond INTA and into STEM classes - I feel like being exposed to math, science, and computer science courses has really given me an edge over my peers at other institutions.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Nunn School has opened numerous doors for me both academically and professionally. Academically, the Nunn School has helped me to actually hone in on what I'm specifically interested in, and has given me the chance to expand my knowledge of my area of expertise through rigorous coursework, and outside opportunities, such as publications. Career wise, I am certain that if I did not study at the Nunn School, I would not have been offered my first job with the Department of Defense.
ADVICE TO STUDENTS
Be open-minded, and be ready to have your plans change at least a thousand times. I feel like many people may come in thinking they have it all figured out - what classes they want to take, what internships they want to have, where they want to study abroad, and where they want to work upon graduation. Although it is great to have short- and long-goals, you don't want to have such a narrow focus that you may miss opportunities along the way. Some of my greatest experiences in both undergrad and grad school have been opportunities that I did not plan on having, so embrace anything that comes your way and take advantage of all that the Nunn School has to offer!
MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
Definitely being nominated for the most outstanding graduate teaching assistant award for the Nunn School. As someone who also did her undergrad here, it was kind of like everything had come full circle for me - I was once a freshman who had no clue what she was doing, and now I was on the other side of the classroom six years later, helping other freshmen figure out what their options are so they don't feel as lost as I once did. It was really an honor to be recognized like that.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE NUNN SCHOOL
My favorite thing about the Nunn School and more broadly, Georgia Tech in general, is the fact that you are part of a community that is driven by curiosity and a desire to make a real impact on the world, no matter what your discipline is. You're constantly surrounded by people who are so interesting and do such neat things, and it's always so fun to hear and learn from other people's stories and opinions.
IMPACT OF STUDYING ABROAD
It sounds super cliche, but studying abroad really does change your life - it certainly did change mine. Studying abroad with the Nunn School's Southeast Asia Program and then spending a year in Germany on an exchange program kind of set off a chain reaction of opportunities once I got back to campus - because I studied abroad, I got this internship opportunity, which led to this research opportunity, which led to this other professional opportunity abroad, which eventually, helped me land my first job. So needless to say, studying abroad was critical to shaping both my academic and professional career, not to mention all the opportunities it brings for personal growth!