Joanna Chen graduated from the MA in IR Program in May 2019. She is from Anaheim, CA, and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkely in 2014.
Where are you currently and what do you do there?
Currently, I am a U.S. diplomat/Foreign Service Officer for the State Department. I will be working on fraud issues at the embassy in Doha, Qatar. I am also a business development consultant for start-ups.
How did the IR Program prepare you for what you're doing now?
The program provided me with a strong academic background in IR theory, and the capstone allowed me to apply that knowledge by working with a third-party organization to craft policy recommendations. The capstone project is an effective way to strengthen collaborative and analytical skills.
What advice do you have for current students who may be looking for a career in your field?
My advice is to get started on the process now, and do not wait until after graduation to take the FSOT or FSOA. It's helpful to form study groups for the FSOA. The State Department also offers internships at embassies and consulates all over the world, and this is a great way to experience the Foreign Service lifestyle.
Why did you choose the IR program at NYU?
I chose the IR program at NYU because of its connections to global policy institutions and the joint business concentration at NYU’s Stern School of Business. I was able to learn about international relations through a multi-disciplinary lens and challenging myself to think outside the traditional policy framework.
Which was the class you most enjoyed? And the one in which you learned the most?
I took the transitional justice class in Buenos Aires, and I was able to immerse myself in the very country that I was studying. It was my first time exploring this topic and studying this region in depth, which made the hands-on curriculum that much more impactful. When I wasn't in the classroom, I was still meeting and talking to people affected by these policies and learning through field trips.
What advice would you give to future students of the program?
My advice is to get involved with the International Relations and Politics Association (IRPA) as a way to build community within your cohort and network. Your peers will eventually become your colleagues, so get to know them now. It's also a great opportunity to become involved in shaping the program.
What was your favorite place on campus? What did you like best about student life at NYU?
My favorite place is Washington Square Park because there are always TV shows and movies being filmed there! Our campus is embedded within the city, and there is always something going on. You will never be bored.
What was the best thing about living in NYC?
There is diversity and a true sense of community everywhere. It's also fun eating at all the amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The fun part is finding them!
Last Updated November 21, 2019