Lindsay Smith, United States

On choosing a dual-degree: A unique dual degree opportunity drew me to pursue an MA degree at The Fletcher School. Toward the end of my undergraduate career I was trying to find ways to combine my passion for environmental issues with my lifelong pursuit of becoming a veterinarian. Then I learned about the One Health Initiative, on which Tufts Veterinary School is constantly advancing. One Health is the concept that animal, environmental, and human health are interconnected and must be promoted simultaneously. Specifically, within One Health, I am interested in the issue of environmental degradation leading to increased infectious disease emergence. Professionally as a veterinarian, I want to contribute to the monitoring and surveillance of emerging diseases in animal populations and prevent them from spreading into human populations. I am also interested in conserving biodiversity and natural environments as an ecological solution to this global health issue. As I explored these issues more and decided that policy and government were where I wanted to take my career, I discovered that Tufts Veterinary School offered a dual degree DVM/MA program with Fletcher. I immediately knew that this was the perfect opportunity for me. I chose Fletcher because I want to work in a policy-level position in the international sphere as a veterinarian at the intersection of conservation, environmental policy, and global health. While I will obtain my professional-level health education at veterinary school, I came to Fletcher to hone my skills in policy analysis, environmental policy, and sustainable development diplomacy.

On collaboration: As an undergraduate biology major, I was not frequently required to work with other students and very rarely collaborated on assignments. While I think this taught me to think critically and independently, at Fletcher I am continually realizing how valuable and important it is to learn how to work with multiple students and to effectively collaborate in a way that allows everyone to contribute to and understand the assignment at hand. Not only is this important at Fletcher where group work is a common occurrence, but it is an invaluable professional skill. In addition to building these collaborative skills, I am amazed by the diversity that exists within a study group made up of just a handful of students. I really enjoy seeing how different students with different backgrounds approach an assignment and problems within it. One of my study groups  consists of students from five different countries with backgrounds in development, international organizations, business, diplomacy, and divinity. Tackling a problem set for a Fletcher course, getting to know each other, and working together in a group with such diverse experiences, backgrounds, and approaches makes collaboration a thoroughly enriching experience. As someone who is very early in their career, learning about everyone’s incredibly diverse backgrounds and experiences is inspiring and fascinating. I never know what connection someone might have to my interests! Sharing different perspectives and experiences is another aspect of collaboration which not only draws the community closer together but helps all of us explore and advance our interests. Whether it involves calculating policy payoffs for a project or finding our way around a conference in Iceland, collaboration is constantly a major part of the Fletcher experience!

Favorite book
Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Favorite food
Clam chowder

Favorite landmark
Machu Picchu

Moment when you felt the furthest from home
Being out on a boat researching Great White Sharks in South Africa

Most pressing world issue
Climate change/ecological degradation

Activities at Fletcher

The Ambassachords

Science Diplomacy Club

Global Health Group

Center for International Environment and Resource Policy

Fletcher Arctic Conference

Education before Fletcher

BA, Biology, Boston University

Experience before Fletcher

Veterinary Assistant, Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital, Woburn, MA

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Intern, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Boston, MA

Oceans Research Intern, Oceans Research, Mossel Bay, Western Cape, South Africa