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: Yolanda Yang
Expected to graduate: Fall 2023
Degree: International Studies and History, minoring in Spanish
Task Force 2022: Abandonment or Engagement: Recalibrating US-Turkey Relations
Jackson School Task Force Faculty Adviser: Reşat Kasaba
External Evaluator: Jess Bailey, (former) Ambassador to North Macedonia
What has been your favorite Task Force experience?
Yolanda Yang: My favorite part of this experience was having the opportunity to serve as an editor for this Task Force and to finalize the report. It is particularly gratifying to work with people from rich backgrounds and with diverse perspectives to develop a coherent and articulated report that incorporates everyone’s views.
What key skills do you think the Task Force program gives you?
Y.Y.: Participating in the Task Force allows me to apply and translate those skills and other knowledge that I have learned in the classroom into solving real-world problems. By thinking realistically of real-world issues, it hones my research and analytical skills and stretches my understanding of international issues far beyond what other classes would have.
What impressed you about the Task Force Evaluation Day itself?
Y.Y.: Because our Task Force started with a different international environment, our evaluation day was after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I was impressed that people continue to engage in researching this topic and consistently modify their policy recommendations as the international situation evolves. It offers a real-world glimpse of the policy-making process with a dynamic international environment.