Skip to main content

Task Force Q&A: Kaden Kaeo

June 7, 2023

Kaden Kaeo in front of UNHQ in Geneva, Switzerland

Kaden Kaeo on a faculty-led research abroad program for the Council on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN in Geneva. Sept. 2022

In spring quarter 2023, 18 international studies and global and regional studies students plus a first-year graduate student and three 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: Kaden Kaeo
Expected to graduate: Spring 2023
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Global & Regional Studies with a minor in Law, Societies & Justice
Task Force Title: The Challenges of Defining Antisemitism Today: An Analysis of the IHRA Definition & its Applications
Hometown: Kirkland, WA

What has been your favorite Task Force experience?
Kaden Kaeo: Considering the experience as a whole, my favorite moment was the opportunity to interact with the team’s evaluator—asking questions and gaining a greater understating of our team’s role in assisting a subject matter expert in refining their opinion and adding to their thoughts on their field of authority. One particular thing that surprised me was the sheer proximity of the Task Force team to the evaluator, having the chance to both officially and informally interact with an accomplished scholar.

What key skills do you think the Task Force program gives you?
K.K.: Looking at the skills used by the Task Force program, few were as essential as project management and flexibility. Given teams of varying sizes, these skills were essential in ensuring baseline coordination and the general success of the team overall. Looking at how these skills translate to the professional world, the experience of the Task Force program should be universally applicable in the fields of team-based work, content creation, communication, and basic workplace flexibility, all of which serve to greatly benefit roles requiring cooperation in any capacity.

Jackson School: What impressed you about the Task Force Evaluation Day itself ?
K.K.: One particularly impactful moment from the Task Force Evaluation Day was the opportunity to engage with the evaluator on difficult questions surrounding the team’s field of research. Being confronted with salient and intense debates by experts as a professional party was a novel and deeply rewarding experience that allowed each team member to test the limits of their knowledge and encouraged the group as a whole to think on their feet.

Jackson School: Advice to students interested in becoming a Jackson School major?
K.K.: Unlike many programs offered by the university, the Jackson School’s International Studies Major does not offer a clear path to its students—infused by vestiges of law, history, anthropology, politics, health, etc. it offers freedom and diversity. While one graduate may pursue employment at Goldman Sachs, another may work in environmental protection in Southeast Asia. Regardless of the path chosen, the Jackson School offers the world and the desire to be a changemaker in some capacity within it. The Task Force program is yet another facet of diversity that the Jackson School offers, challenging its students to test their limits and expand their abilities to seek a future wherever and however, they choose.

Jackson School: What career are you interested in pursuing after graduation?
I aim to procure employment in the international nonprofit sector, dedicating my professional life to disaster risk management or vulnerable populations as a partner to grassroots organizations.