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Task Force Q&A: Jack Grenda

April 10, 2024

Headshot Jack Grenda

Jack Grenda

In winter quarter 2024, 50 international studies and global and regional studies students plus two other Social Science majors completed the Jackson School’s Donald C. Hellmann Task Force Program, a capstone course that involves eight 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 Day, when each Task Force presents to an external, senior-level foreign policymaker.

Name: Jack Grenda
Expected to graduate in: Spring 2025
Major: Global and Regional Studies
Task Force Title: Partners, Prospects, and Allies: Global Perspectives on the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States
Task Force Instructor: Anand Yang
Hometown: Encinitas, CA

What has been your favorite Task Force experience?
My favorite Task Force experience by far has been having the opportunity to present 8 weeks of our hard work to an expert in our topic. We had the amazing opportunity to deliver a two-hour long presentation and subsequent question and answer session to former U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel, who had served as Ambassador to some of the same nations that we covered in our Task Force report and its policy recommendations.

Key skill you think the Task Force program gives you?
The Task Force program absolutely strengthens its students’ abilities in analytical and critical thinking, writing, research, and for some, public speaking. These are all skills that are not only important regardless of career path, but are even more important in some of the careers that the Global and Regional Studies major translates the best into. This program has solidified my plans for post-graduation and shown me what working for some of our government agencies may look like.

What impressed you about the Task Force Evaluation Day itself
The different lenses that our evaluator, Former US Ambassador Scot Marciel, gave us was what impressed me the most about our evaluation day. As somebody who was an Ambassador to the very countries we mentioned in our policy recommendations, his real life experiences not only in the country but also working for State and the US Government in general allowed him to give us valuable feedback about how effective our recommendations would actually be. Being able to think more critically about the way we wrote our report and policy recommendations and further solidifying our stance thanks to the Ambassador was the most rewarding part of our evaluation day.

In your own words, how would you promote the Task Force program?
Do it! The Global and Regional Studies program has aligned in the perfect way with my career ambitions, and the opportunities to take exciting and diverse coursework, such as Task Force, are ways that I know will make my resume stick out when it is time to apply for work post-grad. The Task Force program has been an extremely rewarding program to me and my peers, and I really could not recommend it enough.

What career are you interested in pursuing after graduation?
I hope to work in federal law enforcement, the intelligence community, or another related government agency or private firm.