In winter quarter 2022, over 100 international studies and global and regional studies seniors and several juniors completed the Jackson School’s Donald C. Hellmann Task Force Program, a capstone course that involves 10-weeks of research, writing and group collaboration on a current global issue. Student-led and guided by faculty, the program culminates during Task Force Evaluation Week, when each Task Force presents to an external, senior-level foreign policymaker.
Name: Yelyzaveta Ismatullayeva
Expected to graduate: Spring 2022
Degree: International Studies
Task Force: Global Trends in Energy and Emissions: Key Points for Policy Decision-Making
What has been your favorite Task Force experience?
Y.I.:My favorite part about any learning process is to be exposed to new ideas and challenge my perspectives. The Task Force was the best place to do exactly that. I had an opportunity to deconstruct the myths around subject matter, to analyze the problem from multiple angles and, the most exciting part, put myself in the shoes of a real policymaker.
What key skills do you think the Task Force program gives you?
Y.I.: Task Force program is a real-life opportunity to see how the policy world operates. It combines both research-collecting skills that all the International Studies students have cultivated for years, with an ability to compact and relay that information in a comprehensible way. It is an opportunity to meet driven, passionate and extremely talented peers and work hand-in-hand with professional experts (both TF professor and evaluator).
What impressed you about the Task Force Evaluation Day itself?
Y.I.: Personally, for me the Evaluation Day itself was bittersweet. First, it was an exciting time that wrapped up our hard work, but it also meant saying goodbye to a close group of talented peers. Also, the topic of our Task Force overlapped with the dramatic events that unfolded in my native country just a few weeks before our presentation. Both the research and the Evaluator’s opinion were unanimous – the conflict in Ukraine would shift the energy dynamics in the world and would prolong the fossil fuel dependency even further. As a person directly affected by this war and a person who is deeply concerned for the environment, I was torn by the reality of things and took it close to heart. However, it is not the only reason why I will not forget the Evaluation Day. It might have been a painful reality to grasp, but it provided me with a strong sense of how the world worked. The discontent I felt made me realize how important it is to be well-informed and to be able to compromise in the ever-changing world.