Rachael Parrish, 2013, United States

Why I chose Fletcher:  When comparing graduate school programs in international relations, it seemed like each program was pretty much the same: well-respected faculty that are the leaders in their field of study, a brilliant and diverse student body, and an intensive academic atmosphere.  The reason that I ultimately chose Fletcher, however, was because of the sense of community that I felt when interacting with current and former Fletcher students and faculty.  During the entire application and decision-making process, members of the Fletcher community were consistently available to answer any of my questions and share their own experiences at Fletcher.  Even though I was living in Beijing while I was making my decision, I still managed to connect with many Fletcher alumni.  Knowing that these people were already willing to set time aside for me when I was merely considering attending their alma mater meant a lot to me.  Making those personal connections is one of the things that I was most looking forward to in coming to Fletcher, and after starting my first year, I have already experienced the strong community dynamic I was seeking.

On collaboration and teamwork: Graduate school involves a lot of reading, and I feel like that is amplified at Fletcher. This is where study groups come into play. This term, I have study groups for three out of my four classes. We meet once a week, which is time consuming, but completely worthwhile. Part of the Fletcher education is learning from our professors and through the readings and assignments, but an equally important part of our education is learning from our peers. Each student has such a diverse background and wealth of experience and knowledge that is vastly different from my own, and sharing these experiences is truly invigorating. Through these study groups, I have not only gained insight into our readings, but I have also broadened my view of the world.

Favorite Author:

Peter Hessler

Favorite Movie:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Favorite City:

Washington, DC

Favorite Landmark:

Potala Palace

Best Place to Study:

Harvard Square

Fields of Study

  • International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
    Pacific Asia

Summer Internship

U.S. Embassy political section intern - Hanoi, Vietnam  

Activities involved in at Fletcher

  • Diplomacy Club
    ASEAN Club
    Asia Club

Education before Fletcher

  • Advanced Mandarin Language Certificate, Mandarin Chinese, Inter-University Program at Tsinghua
    BA, Political Science, Asian Studies, Furman University
    Intermediate Mandarin Language Certificate, Mandarin Chinese, State Department Critical Language Scholarship Program, Suzhou University

Experience before Fletcher

  • House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Intern - Washington, DC
    Groupon International, Intern - Beijing, China
    U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Fellow - Washington, DC


  • German