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MAERES Graduate Bryan Furman Learned Multidisciplinary Approach to World Problems at SFS

What made you choose SFS for your graduate education?

When I received the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, I knew I wanted a program that would give me the tools I need to succeed in the U.S. Foreign Service. The area studies training I acquired through the Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies program, as well as the communication and analytical skills I developed through my classes across SFS, will be invaluable in a career that requires you to dive deeply and quickly into the politics, culture, economy, and society of different countries.

Do you have any mentors or advisors at SFS who made a big impact on you?

The list is endless: each person I met at Georgetown had an impact on my life. However, SFS stands out against other programs due to the caliber of its students. I had classmates from a greater variety of personal and professional backgrounds than I ever had before, and I often learned just as much from them as I did in the classroom. In many cases, my peers were my greatest mentors and advisors.

How has SFS prepared you for your career path?

SFS taught me how to examine world events from a multidisciplinary perspective and communicate my thoughts effectively both verbally and in written form. These skills will help me make more holistic decisions as a Foreign Service Officer, no matter where I serve.

What has been your favorite course at Georgetown and why?

All of them! But the course that had the greatest impact on me was “Extremist Propaganda and Government Responses” with Daniel Kimmage and Anastasia Norton. I had been exploring ways to marry my interests in strategic communications and national security, and it was in this class that the pieces of the puzzle finally came together. The concepts I learned from Professors Kimmage and Norton strongly informed my capstone project, which I wrote on Islamic State recruitment in the post-Soviet space. Now, as I prepare to enter the U.S. Foreign Service as a Public Diplomacy Officer, I feel well versed in governmental and non-governmental communication strategies.

What will you miss the most about Georgetown?

The sense of community. Our graduating class has an impressive group of future leaders, but we all survived the papers, presentations, and exams together. I made lifelong friends here at Georgetown, and I will miss having everyone so close.