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Learning from practitioners: One student’s story

“Arthur”* recently transferred to IWP from a major university in the D.C. area. Here, he shares about his childhood traveling the world and learning from his father’s international work, his decision to study in a practitioner-focused M.A. program, and his goal of serving our country.

International affairs is in Arthur’s blood. His grandfather served in the Medical Corps for the United States Air Force, and his father is with DoD. As a result, Arthur says, “I was always captivated by international affairs.”

As a military dependent, Arthur was born abroad and spent much of his time living internationally as a child. He was often traveling between Europe and the United States. “We were constantly on the move,” he remembered.

Pursuing international affairs education

At the recommendation of his mentors, Arthur chose to pursue his undergraduate studies at a university in Europe, where he focused on international affairs. “It was a very unique opportunity,” said Arthur. “It gave me the American perspective, but I was able to be immersed in the European culture. I visited NATO headquarters, the various European Institutions, and more, all through my college program. Having that European perspective will help me – I can understand how European policies and American policies complement each other or create obstacles. This is especially important because the relationship we have with NATO is essential for global security.”

Arthur decided to pursue an M.A. to enhance his future professional career and the work that he is producing for his managers.

He spent one semester at a local university where he became uninspired to continue his master’s degree. After being surrounded by international affairs professionals his whole life, Arthur felt like he was wasting his time with his professor “reading off slides in class.” “It was disappointing,” he said.

A different style of education

In a discussion about the next steps in his career, a mentor mentioned that the IWP internship might be something to consider. This mentor put him in touch with Derrick Dortch, IWP’s Director of Career Services.

After being in touch with Derrick, Arthur ended up speaking with some IWP students about their experience at the Institute during an IWP event. He learned that IWP was filled with national security practitioners, “which was something I wasn’t getting at my previous institution… I was captivated by what IWP is doing.”

In January, he began studying in the M.A. program in Statecraft and National Security Affairs. “IWP reignited my interest in pursuing a master’s degree,” he said.

Studying with scholar-practitioners

When asked about his experience thus far, Arthur said, “You are not just a number at IWP. IWP seems much more like a family. The school wants to help its students develop, whether they are just starting out or are mid-career professionals. Students want to be here.”

Arthur has been taking an international relations course with Dr. John Lenczowski and Dr. James Robbins. “They have been phenomenal,” he said. “You are pulled in – it’s a fascinating subject. The professors do a good job of keeping students interested and catering to their needs. They share actual experiences mixed with theoretical material. It’s not mundane. They are practitioners who know what they are doing.”

A future in service to the country

When asked about his future plans, Arthur said, “I hope to support the overall national security mission that everyone strives so hard to protect and serve. We are all here at IWP for a reason – we all have an interest in contributing to the national security sector in some way, whether private or public.”

Arthur also aspires to assume a leadership position someday where he can mentor future leaders just as he was mentored.

*Name changed for security purposes.

John Lenczowski and Jim Robbins IR Class
Above: International Relations, Statecraft, and Integrated Strategy class with Dr. John Lenczowski and Dr. James Robbins.