Stories from Our Community

Commitment to Service

For Lukas Berg MA ‘15, joining the Army wasn’t always part of his plan.

“I stumbled into my calling,” explained Berg, an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, his alma mater. But when he arrived on campus, he knew it was the right choice. “It’s a community committed to serving the public interest, and I fell in love with it,” he said.

After graduating in 2005, Berg served as a Blackhawk pilot in a variety of command and staff positions. In 2011, he was offered a teaching position at the military academy, which meant going back to graduate school. He wanted a program that would allow him the flexibility to pursue his interest in U.S foreign policy, and Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs fit the bill.

“I’m so happy that I ended up there,” he said. Berg says he appreciated the academic rigor and the opportunity to learn from the “rock stars” of the political science field. He also liked Jackson’s emphasis on leadership and training practitioners.

Berg’s transcript reflects his interdisciplinary approach to learning; it included courses in grand strategy, global affairs, law, business, economics, classics and East Asian studies. “I took every class I wanted to take,” he said.

As an instructor, Berg draws heavily on the lessons learned in his MA studies. “The world’s most pressing problems are interdisciplinary,” he said. “We need leaders from a variety of fields to solve them.”

For Berg, the opportunity to prepare future leaders is incredibly rewarding. “It’s humbling to be back here. My role is not just to teach American politics. It’s to inspire them to serve.”

It’s also an opportunity to work with great people. “Public service attracts the very best people,” Berg says of his colleagues. “Instructors here are operationally credentialed but also academically accomplished,” he said.

“You can find talent like that in many organizations, but you’re not going to find talent that is so committed to serving a larger cause. There is no community quite like this.”