Schar School Student Named Visiting Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum

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Sarah Erickson: ‘I've not only learned to ask, “What do I actually think about this?” but “How can I articulate what I think with conviction and clarity?’”

Sarah Erickson, a student in the Schar School’s Master’s in International Security program, has been named a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank. Erickson will be writing on technology policy.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-native credited the Schar School with the knowledge she is taking into the real world. After moving to the Washington, D.C., area to study politics at Catholic University, Erickson began looking for opportunities to further her education—and to work in her field.

She quickly found both: She’s a research intern at another D.C.-based think-tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Strategic Technologies Program, while pursuing her Schar School master’s degree.

“My work with both of these think-tanks has gifted me with the opportunity to apply the content of my classes to present global challenges, especially as it is related to how cyber is changing today's security landscape,” she said.

Erickson also noted that her studies have enriched her work just as much as her work has enriched her studies. “My classroom experience has been enhanced by these professional experiences, as I have been challenged to think critically and creatively about international security in practice,” she said.

“I think we find ourselves in a critical moment for the international system, which demands honest practitioners who are dedicated to their craft. With my first semester in the program behind me, I feel confident that I can one day meet that demand.”

Schar School professors helped Erickson by not only providing her with the inspiration to tackle major future policy issues, but by also helping her assert herself in class, and beyond.

“Before my first semester, I felt nervous to take a position on any of the complex issues we discuss in class,” she said, “but my professors have made the space for me to wrestle with—and think through—these issues.

“I've not only learned to ask, ‘What do I actually think about this?’ but ‘How can I articulate what I think with conviction and clarity?’”

In short, she said, “the Schar School is helping me reach my goals by shaping me into someone who ‘plants their flag somewhere,’ as [international security] Professor [Michael] Hunzeker says.”

Schar School fact: The highly ranked securities program faculty includes, among other notables, former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael V. Hayden, former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.