Belise Rutagengwa, 2018, United States & Rwanda

On the faculty: Fletcher is one of the most renowned schools for international affairs in the world and as I considered a graduate education in the IR space, Fletcher had to be part of that conversation. Ultimately one could pinpoint many reasons to choose Fletcher (multi-disciplinary approach, course offerings, range of fields of study, and makeup of the student body to name a few), but for me, it ultimately came down to the faculty. From my open house visit, I had the opportunity to sit in on a few courses and I could tell something special was happening at Fletcher in the way classes were structured and taught. I am truly glad I followed my instinct. The faculty members at Fletcher, regardless of field, are truly remarkable. They have work experience that is noteworthy in every sense of the word, and many faculty members are at the top of their chosen careers. What I am constantly excited about, however, is their readiness to transplant these experiences (good and bad) in the classroom. What also sets the faculty apart is their willingness to interact, teach, and immerse themselves in the student experience. The opportunity to have one-on-one interactions about personal interests in the field of International Negotiation with Professor Rob Wilkinson and seek his advice, to attend an intimate guest speaker series on key security issues sponsored by Professor Eileen Babbit at lunch, or to be in class lectures with Professor Alnoor Ebrahim all in the same day is truly invigorating. You never want to miss classes, lecture series, or opportunities for office hours because the interaction and exchanges with the professors are engaging, challenging, and thought-provoking, and they are the key differentiators in having a good experience or a great one here at Fletcher.

On the flexibility of the curriculum: Since joining the Fletcher community I continuously hear the phrase "no two students in the same field of study have taken the same exact courses by the time they graduate," and I have come to see why. The exciting and daunting part of being a Fletcher student (especially a MALD candidate) is the multi-disciplinary approach which allows you to customize your course offerings to fill out your fields of study requirements. There are so many courses you can choose from, including from partner institutions such as Tufts and Harvard. This presents a fun and challenging experience of taking courses in areas that I am truly interested in or in areas I have never taken before but would be open to exploring. This customization ensures that every course I take is intentional and I am never bored with my course selection. If anything, the struggle is figuring out how and when you can fit in all the courses you are interested in taking within the short time you are here. On any given semester, I have been stuck between choosing courses in Women in National Security, Role of Force, Transitional Justice, and leadership and organization behavior. This leads to some key negotiations with myself on what skills I would like to gain, what these courses will help me achieve, and how they add value before I settle on my semester schedule.

Favorite author

C.S. Lewis

Favorite food

Home-cooked Rwandan food

Favorite landmark

Gisozi Genocide Memorial

Most rewarding trip

Alternative Student Break as an Undergraduate at Casa Guatemala

Favorite location on campus

Above Tisch library overlooking the greater Boston area

Fields of Study

International Security Studies

International Business Relations

Activities involved in at Fletcher

Africana Club

Fletcher Political Risk Group

Admissions Ambassador

Women in International Security

Education before Fletcher

BA, Political Science, Northwestern University

BA, International Studies, Northwestern University

Experience before Fletcher

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

Account Executive, AbelsonTaylor, Chicago, Illinois

Communications Director, Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace, Kigali, Rwanda