Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Student Blogger: Meet Jahanara

We’re pleased to announce that we have three new student bloggers this fall.  Over the next week, each student blogger will introduce themselves here. Enjoy!

Hi! My name is Jahanara (but most people call me Jay) and I am a first year MA student at Johns Hopkins SAIS, concentrating in South Asia studies. Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, I graduated from Smith College with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Diploma in hand, I always knew graduate school was on the horizon--I just didn’t know when.

After graduating from Smith I spent a year at a nonprofit in DC that focused on advocacy and community involvement. This experience helped me appreciate the importance of community engagement in policymaking but also made me realize that I wanted to apply these concepts to a more international setting. I then transitioned to a Pakistani research institute where I worked in the field of education policy development. During my time there I focused on projects related to the conceptualization of citizenship in the Pakistani high school history curriculum, as well as public-private partnerships in education in Pakistan. I concentrated primarily on qualitative research, which was beneficial but left me realizing I needed a foundation in quantitative reasoning as well. I knew that a strong grounding in both economics and international relations was what was necessary to get me where I wanted to go. And SAIS was the key to that.

My time at SAIS, albeit short, has nonetheless been crucial in helping me anchor theory in political, economic, and social realities. I am valuing the opportunity to specialize in areas both regional and thematic, as it will ensure that I am best equipped to enter the policymaking world at home and abroad. The strong emphasis on both qualitative and quantitative rigor at SAIS are an integral component of what makes it an ideal fit for me and I’m confident in its impact on my future career aspirations. I’m excited to chronicle my experiences for you, and I hope you will enjoy hearing about them as much as I will enjoy sharing them!

–Jahanara, SAIS Admissions Student Blogger