Amal Rass, F22

School: The Fletcher School 

Degree: Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy

Home: My family. I have four younger sisters, two college-aged, one eight, and one six, and I miss them all the time. 

The one adjective that best describes you? 

Curious. I’m interested in learning new things; that’s why I decided to go to grad school in the first place—I wanted to expand my knowledge. I’ve always been that way. I think it comes partly from having spent so much time reading as a kid. I love tackling unfamiliar material, asking questions, drawing connections.  

Why was the Fletcher School the right place for you? 

When I was applying to graduate programs, I was living in Washington D.C. I wasn’t really interested in the Boston area, because I didn’t see it as a center for international relations. But, around that time, while I was working as a legislative intern in a senator’s office, I kept encountering Fletcher alumni. Several of them turned into mentors for me. They gave me so much advice, and they were always willing to answer my questions, on anything: careers, graduate applications, navigating life after college. I was struck by the excellent guidance they offered and the generosity of it. Then, when it came time to apply, I had conversations with other Fletcher alumni my mentors put me in touch with. Every single one of them was willing to give me their time, even if it was just an hour. Some met me for coffee, others got on video calls with me, many followed up to ask how my decision-making was going. They let me talk through my vision, especially once I realized that I’d be going to school during the pandemic, and that was incredibly helpful. I just didn’t get that from other schools.  

What will you always remember about your time at Fletcher? 

How engaged everyone is, both students and faculty. People tend to enroll full-time, and they socialize and know their classmates and take advantage of the resources their professors and the university have to offer. That was exactly what I was looking for, a full student experience, and it meant a lot to me. Also, the courses. There’s a real balance between theory and substantive skills. Many offerings at Fletcher offer broad exposure to aspects of international relations I’m particularly interested in—accountability for human rights violations, conflict resolution—but there’s also a wide range of other subjects.  

And I have to mention the Ginn Library. I’m the biggest fan of the librarians there. There isn’t a lot of literature on the subject I’m covering in my capstone project, and the librarians have been a huge support for me. They’ve sat with me for long hours, helping me locate resources, and they’re always willing to order books for me or help in whatever ways they can.  

Finally, while doing my first year online and away from campus was difficult, my classmates made it so much easier. We have been, and we continue to be, ready to support each other in whatever ways we can. I’ve had discussions with fellow students about a paper they're writing for a class I’m not even taking, and others have offered the same help to me. I didn’t feel lonely online, as I had expected to. I’ll always remember the bonds we made. 

This profile originally appeared as part of the series “Profiles in Inspiration: Commencement 2022 Spotlights."

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