Betsy graduated from the MA International Relations Program in 2015. She is from Albany, NY. She went to Bentley University for her undergrad degree where she received a B.S. in Economics with a double minor in Accounting and American Studies.
Where do you currently work and what do you do there?
I am currently working at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Management and Program Analyst. I think the IR program prepared me in many ways for what I am doing now and in general life outside of academia. But the one thing I would say is I am prepared to do the research and analysis I know I will be doing in my job. I really learned how to look at issues from many perspectives and breakdown the issue in an objective way that is necessary when working in the national/homeland security arena.
Why did you choose the IR program at NYU?
I chose NYU because I knew I wanted to focus on security, so the course offerings and faculty fit my desired focus. It certainly was the right choice for many reasons but on the courses I was able to take amazing classes including country risk analysis, international security, U.S. national security, terrorism and counter terrorism, civil-military relations, U.S. intelligence, and U.S. foreign policy. I learned more than I could have ever imagined in all of these courses.
What was your favorite class during your MA in International Relations?
I took many great and insightful classes during my time in the IR program but my favorite and I believe most valuable was U.S. National Security with Professor Helman. This class became the foundation of my education at NYU. The class explored the U.S. national security system, looking how it is organized and key players (President, Congress, National Security Council, etc.) as well as the top threats to national security (terrorism, proliferation, cyber). Leaving this class I was well equipped to analyze any national security issue that I chose to research in my other classes as well as my thesis. Though the class is offered on a Saturday it is a must take.
Looking back, what were some of your favorite things about studying at NYU and about the IR Program?
My fellow classmates. There is such diverse population of students that are in the program with amazing perspectives on world issues, so I was able to learn from them every single day. We would have conversations day and night about everything from the U.S. role in the world, the future of the EU, realism v. liberalism, Russia and Putin, to the role of technology in emerging countries. These discussions were some of my favorite times and so important to my education in the IR program.
What advice would you give to current and future students of the program?
Beyond taking advantage of the knowledge your fellow classmates bring to the program, I would say read and write a lot. One thing I learned quickly was to read the news religiously. Every day there are such important IR current events taking place and being up to date brings great value to your time inside and outside of the classroom. Secondly write a lot, whether it be short news briefs, political analysis, or longer opinion pieces. There are so many opportunities to get your work out there, including in our own Journal of Political Inquiry, and it really is a great way to enhance your time in the IR program.