Alumni Spotlight: Jack Crawford
Jack Crawford is a recent graduate of the Nunn School, having received his B.S. in International Affairs in May 2021. After graduating, he headed across the pond to pursue his graduate studies.
He told us more about his work and life as a Georgia Tech alumnus.
What are you up to post-graduation? What led you there?
I’m currently pursuing an MSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I’m also a research assistant at the Royal United Services Institute with the U.K. Project on Nuclear Issues (UK PONI).
I decided to complete a master’s degree outside of the U.S. because I wanted a more global perspective on international relations. Both the program structure and my fellow students have challenged me to think about issues that pique my interest the most — transatlantic security, nuclear politics, and European affairs — from more critical angles. Additionally, I applied for the research assistant position with UK PONI because I’m inspired by the project’s mission of making the nuclear field more accessible and diverse, particularly at a time when the challenges facing nuclear security could stand to benefit from yet-untapped bold and innovative perspectives and ideas.
How do you think your Georgia Tech international affairs education prepared you to succeed where you are now?
My degree from the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs equipped me with a pragmatic, policy-oriented problem-solving framework that also appreciates the role of science and technology in foreign affairs — a unique asset of a Georgia Tech international affairs education. By enrolling in courses that prioritized critical analysis, policy memos, and multi-method approaches, I am better equipped to engage with discussions and projects in the workplace and the classroom from a more interdisciplinary, holistic perspective.
What’s something that surprised you about post-graduation life?
The flexibility! It’s equal parts daunting and exciting that the relatively structured roadmap that guides many people through the completion of their undergraduate education suddenly opens up to a world of possibilities after graduation. I’m still figuring out how to navigate “what’s next,” but it’s exciting in the sense that I’m able to pursue what interests me without feeling like I’m making a misstep or “going the wrong direction” in decisions that shape my education and career.
What accomplishments make you particularly proud?
I’m currently in the beginning stages of spearheading an initiative with UK PONI that will result in a toolkit for understanding and engaging with the nuclear field in the UK. Nuclear issues can sometimes feel inaccessible to students and early professionals trying to break into the space, so this project will create a living resource for members of these two communities as they seek a deeper understanding of different facets of the nuclear field. This could include anything from procurement and financing, to the roles of industry, academia, and civil society, to the influence of relevant policymakers and governance structures.
What’s something you miss about Georgia Tech?
I definitely miss the people. Georgia Tech is a community as much as it is an academic institution, and that was an important theme for me throughout my time at Tech. I met some of my closest friends at Georgia Tech, and I was also lucky to have an amazing network of professors, mentors, and peers who supported me and pushed me to constantly better myself and broaden my aspirations.
What’s one piece of advice that you have for students who are graduating this semester?
Don’t let stress about “what comes next” keep you from celebrating where you are and what you’ve done as a student at Georgia Tech — you’ll miss it when you’re gone! Tech does a fantastic job preparing its graduates for postgraduate degrees, entering the workforce, or taking some time to pursue passions or other interests. Yellow Jackets are well-positioned for our next chapters, no matter what they entail. Someone once told me that you shouldn’t approach your career path as a staircase where there’s only one direction towards “success.” Picture it as a pond full of lily pads — instead of there being one linear “right” direction, there are dozens of exciting possibilities for where you go next, so don’t narrow your horizons by telling yourself only one or two options are the only ways for you to move forward.
Can students interested in pursuing a similar field reach out to you?
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