Michelle May, 2015, United States, Ireland

How I first heard about Fletcher: I met a group of Fletcher students while in Tripoli, Libya in 2012. They were working with a civil society train-the-trainer group, and had recruited participants advocating for disability rights and awareness -- subjects I am passionate about, and issues very much needing to be addressed after the 2011 conflict left so many wounded. The Fletcher group impressed me because they were more personable and integrated with Libyans than other international volunteers/workers I had met in my time in Libya. They also seemed to value my background in psychology and be on the same page as far as the pressing mental health needs in post-conflict societies. My brief afternoon with the Fletcher team was refreshing and my impressions of them led to frequent visits to the Fletcher website, a year later speaking with friends and former colleagues enrolled in the MALD program, and ultimately, to applying to the MA program in January 2014.

On selecting the MA program: I chose the MA program because I already have an MS in psychology, and thirteen years of experience -- working in international settings, and with at risk youth and families in the cities of San Francisco and San Jose, California. After many years of being on the ground, and working 'in the trenches' (so to speak) I experienced and limits of the systems I was working within, and began to wonder if my efforts may have a bigger impact if I instead shift my focus towards changing the system and advocating for policies (even domestic education policy) that are more practical, up-to-date, and meaningful to the populations I work with. After doing my research, the MA program seemed best suited for individuals who are making this shift from being in the trenches, to working with the bigger, overarching issues of policy and program design.

Favorite food
Falafel

Favorite city
Tehran

Favorite landmark
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

Most rewarding trip
Providing support to a US medical team in Haiti immediately following the 2010 earthquake in Port au Prince.

Moment when you felt the furthest from home
Spending five days in North Korea, I felt the world had been turned upside down.


Fields of Study

  • Human Security
  • Design, Monitoring, & Evaluation

Activities involved in at Fletcher

  • Humanitarian Action Society
  • North Korea Working Group

Education before Fletcher

  • MS, Psychology, San Francisco State University
  • BA, Psychology, State University of NY at Fredonia

Experience before Fletcher

  • Educational Psychologist, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
  • Mental Health Consultant, Self-employed, Tripoli, Libya
  • Mental Health Counselor, Volunteer, Port au Prince, Haiti

Languages

  • Spanish
  • English