Alexis completed her MA in International Relations in May of 2019. She is from Harlem in New York City and graduated from Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature.
Why did you choose the IR program at NYU?
Although I applied and was accepted into a few different MA programs across the country, it wasn’t until I met with Professor Williams, the head of the MA program, that I decided NYU was for me. As someone who was leaving her career, it was important to find a program that understood what I was looking for — support to get to the next phase of my career. After spending almost two hours with Professor Williams, I left feeling that I had found a home at NYU. In undergrad, I was also accustomed to smaller class sizes and I was looking for a program that offered that type of learning environment.
Which has been the class you most enjoyed? And the one in which you learned the most?
NYU really is lucky to have Professor Joe Helman as part of the program. He only teaches classes on Saturday afternoons, which really tells a lot about the students that he attracts to his class. I took him the Fall and Spring semesters of my first year, and both classes (the U.S. and the Middle East and U.S. National Security) allowed me to reframe how I viewed U.S. involvement in the Middle East and the evolution of America’s National Security practices. Without taking both of his classes, I would not be as prepared as I am working as a research analyst at a Think Tank in D.C. focused on countering violent extremism. His classes were about more than just the reading, it was about thoughtful and informed conversations about these topics in a non-biased and apolitical manner with a true professional. As much as I detested spending Friday night reading and my Saturday mornings doing final rounds of edits on papers, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What advice would you give to future students of the program?
In the first semester, take one or two classes on topics that you find interesting. I came into the program focused on Human Rights Law, but after taking an introductory class, I ended up moving towards National Security. The amazing thing about this program is that faculty are available to help you navigate where you want to end up career-wise and what you want to learn.
What is your favorite place on campus? What do you like best about student life at NYU?
Because our program is so small, the International Relations and Politics Association provides many on-and-off-campus opportunities to connect and just relax. As a grad student, it’s so important to have that community and NYU does a really great job at creating space for those communities to live and thrive. For NYU, I look at all of the West Village as the campus — tons of great coffee shops, restaurants, and live music venues to choose from.
What is the best thing about living in NYC?
There are a plethora of things to do in the city every day of the week and so many discounts for students. My favorite student benefits are free tickets at the MET and Whitney Museums and discounted tickets for students at the American Ballet Theatre.
What are your plans after you graduate? How has this program prepared you for that?
I am lucky enough to have continued my work in politics and see myself working in the nexus between national security and politics with a focus on the Middle East. Having access to both national security and seasoned politico’s in the classroom has prepared me for this next phase of my career.
Last updated March 9th, 2019