Andrew Keough graduated from NYU’s MA Program in International Relations in 2018. He is currently working in Vietnam as a Fulbright scholar.
Andrew is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and received his undergraduate degree in History from the University of Pittsburgh.
Why did you choose the IR program at NYU?
I think there are two main reasons. First, the program is evenly grounded in both theoretical and professional foundations. I had the opportunity to study under academics and practitioners, such as ambassadors and Foreign Service Officers—as well as those bridging the gap between the two. This opened my eyes to the various outcomes I could achieve with this degree. Second, there is wide latitude to pursue one’s own interests in international relations. For example, while there is no specific track for Southeast Asian studies, I was able to tailor research projects and course assignments to fit my own academic interests in this region.
Which has been the class you enjoyed? And the one which you learned the most?
This is quite a tough question. Having majored in history as an undergraduate, Global and International History with Professor Fousek allowed me to conduct research on historical questions that are of great importance to IR students engaged with contemporary issues. The work was rigorous but extremely rewarding. Diplomacy in Theory and Action with Professor Dry was also great because I got to hear about the practical application of diplomacy directly from a seasoned U.S. Foreign Service Officer. The lessons learned in that course have served me well in my current role as a “cultural ambassador.”
What advice would you give to the future students of the program?
Do not develop a concentration—thematic, regional, or otherwise—based on what you think is a “hot topic” or is “right” for a future career. The best work I produced, and the best work I saw from my peers, was always on the topics and questions that profoundly interested us. Your research and other deliverables will always speak volumes about you, so it is best to be deeply invested in them.
What is your favorite place on campus?
I am a big fan of the reading rooms in Bobst that overlook Washington Square Park. Even on a cold, wintry day they are usually warm and flooded with natural light. I also loved the coffee shops near 19 University Place. Everyone was tremendously friendly, and if you go in as often as I did you will probably get remembered for “the usual.”
What do you like best about student life at NYU?
As far as student life goes, I enjoyed getting involved with student organizations—IRPA and the Journal of Political Inquiry—to work on shared projects with my fellow students. I was able to make some of my best friends in New York while also working on some incredibly interesting projects, learning more about my friends’ areas of focus in the process.
What is the best thing about living in New York City?
Dollar pizza, always.
What are your plans after you graduate? How has this program prepared you for that?
I am currently a Fulbright ETA grantee living in Quang Binh province, Vietnam, where I teach and am a cultural ambassador engaging in citizen diplomacy on behalf of the United States. It’s been a tremendous opportunity to immerse myself in my community, learn more about central Vietnam, and apply my studies of diplomacy in the real world. Following this, I plan to continue developing my regional specialization and hope to continue working in both diplomacy and research. NYU’s MA Program in International Relations has given me the tools to analyze events at the local and regional level and place them into larger, global contexts. By seizing every opportunity I had at NYU to get involved and commit myself, I developed a resume that was robust and demonstrated a strong work ethic. Furthermore, my professors at NYU have influenced the way I conduct my own classes and the guidance I now give students in terms of their own research.
Last Updated February 11th, 2019