Stories from Our Community

Public Diplomacy Dual Degree - A Potent Combination of International Relations & Public Relations

Alumni of our public diplomacy program are working around the globe, finding diplomatic solutions and strategically positioning their organizations.

Nicole Allem, Public Diplomacy Graduate, 2010 earned both the MA International Relations from SU's Maxwell School as well as the MS in Public Relations from SU's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications... in just two years - launching a career in US Department of State.

Current position? Senior advisor for public affairs in the Office of the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the Department of State. (In other words, my position entails a lot of acronyms!)  In this capacity, I develop and implement outreach strategies supporting policy objectives regarding the Disabilities Treaty.

Changes in the industry since graduation? The public diplomacy profession has grown leaps and bounds since I was a student in 2008. When I applied to the public diplomacy program, there were only two schools in the U.S. that offered graduate-level degrees in this field. Five years later, I constantly meet young professionals studying public diplomacy at a variety of schools throughout the U.S. (and some overseas)—the demand for higher education in this field has grown quickly. It’s exciting to see!

Most important skills you use today? Writing skills will always be critical—that much I could have predicted. But what I have been most surprised by is the use of my graphic design skills, which I developed at Newhouse. I worked for three years in a very creative area of the State Department, and still find myself working with graphic designers on a regular basis. It helped to have studied those basic principles (and lingo) while in the PD program.

Favorite memories of Newhouse/Maxwell? I had the great fortune of serving as the research assistant to Professor Barbara Fought while she was the director of the Tully Center for Free Speech. In this capacity, I served as an events manager and researcher for the center. I coordinated and promoted free speech and media law events for audiences of over 500—it was a fun job!  One event was an advance screening of the film “Nothing But the Truth.”  I had the honor of introducing the director, Rod Lurie, and actor Alan Alda at the event. Another highlight was the Tully Center Free Speech award, co-awarded in 2009 to Barry Bearak of the The New York Times and Frank Chikowore, a freelance journalism from Zimbabwe. We had a fantastic event featuring the work of these two journalists, honoring their sacrifices and courage in reporting the news.

Advice for current students? Take advantage of the resources you have at your fingertips while at both Maxwell and Newhouse: top-notch professors, numerous panels and events with experts in the field, internship opportunities and the network you are developing with your classmates. Give your time at Syracuse 110 percent, and you’ll get even more in return.