Nicholas Helldorfer Cicchinelli

Nicholas Helldorfer Cicchinelli


Fields of study

  • Gender and Intersectional Analysis
  • Public International Law



My path to Fletcher

I was drawn to the MALD program because I was torn between pursuing a regionally- or thematically-focused Master of Arts (MA) program and a legal Juris Doctor (JD). In the MALD, I felt like I could get the best of both worlds (in fact, I spent a lot of time considering a joint MALD-JD degree program). When I initially enrolled, I didn’t expect to stay for the PhD, but in the course of writing my MALD capstone thesis, I kept running into questions that didn’t have answers. Professor Kimberly Theidon—then my advisor, now my PhD committee chair—suggested I use the PhD research to see whether I could find some of those answers myself.

On research

Fletcher's curricular flexibility has allowed me to research questions and perspectives that don't always fit neatly within the traditional boundaries of international relations. I know my scholarship has been enriched through the opportunity to incorporate multiple literatures and methods, ranging from comparative politics and legal theory to transitional justice and feminist jurisprudence. Having that interdisciplinary space and intellectual freedom has been critical.

Best experience so far

My favorite Fletcher experience was definitely organizing the 2019 Conference on Gender and International Affairs with a team of seven other students. While we were all immensely proud of the success of the conference itself, the solidarity and friendship shared with my co-organizers left a lasting impression. It was a joy to see how our disparate ideas, experiences, and identities came together around a set of shared values and ideals to realize an event involving over 450 attendees from all professional backgrounds and walks of life.

Activities at Fletcher

  • Pride at Fletcher
  • Conference on Gender and International Affairs (CGIA)
  • Fletcher LEADS
  • Committee on Admissions and Scholarships
  • Fletcher Student Council

Education before Fletcher

  • Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy, The Fletcher School
  • Bachelor of Arts, Russian Studies and International Relations, Wheaton College

Experience before Fletcher

  • Diverse Democracy Fellow, CIRCLE, Tisch College for Civic Life, Medford, MA
  • Public Affairs Graduate Intern, US Embassy, Riga, Latvia
  • Assistant Program Officer for Russia and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, DC
  • Program Assistant for Russia and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, DC
  • Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Edinet, Moldova