Tired of working at summer camps and intrigued by his Macalester classes in security and defense studies, Jake Waxman ’14 (Boston) applied as a sophomore for a U.S. Army War College fellowship.
He didn’t win one of the competitive fellowships that year, but kept in touch with a staff member coordinating the program. Good move. Last year while Waxman was studying at King’s College in London, the staffer called to remind him that next fellowship deadline was the following week. “I was frantically filling out paperwork on line, making phone calls to [political science professor and academic adviser] Andrew Latham for recommendation letters,” says Waxman. “But in the end I got my application in on time.”
And shortly afterward he was named one of 22 fellows, chosen from throughout the country, to spend the summer working at a U.S. Army War College think tank called Peace Keeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), located in Carlisle, Penn.
The 15-year-old PKSOI is the organization that develops doctrines and concepts for peacekeeping for the U.S. military, allied nations’ militaries, and the United Nations Peacekeepers. Waxman’s job was to design and analyze doctrines and concepts for peacekeeping operations, specifically to write a background assessment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s ongoing crisis between rebels and UN peacekeeping troops. Ultimately that assessment was used in the final exam of a war games class at West Point.
The information gained in that particular project will come in handy this semester when Waxman leads the Peacebuilding Commission for France on Mac’s Model UN team. One of France’s issues is the Central African Republic, which suffers from some of the same problems the Congo faces. “In Model UN, we talk about peacekeeping going on throughout the world,” says Waxman, “ but it always seems very removed from actual situations. At the war college I worked with people who had been on actual peacekeeping missions, or knew people at UN headquarters who had. It makes it all so much more real.”
Waxman was able to bring a little bit of that real world experience to Macalester last fall, when he arranged for his PKSOI mentor to speak at the college about peacekeeping.
Now keeping busy with classes and as captain of Macalester’s crew team, Waxman is applying for jobs with think tanks and the government, with the ultimate goal of becoming an attorney. When he does enroll in law school, says Waxman, he has his sights set on becoming an officer in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps of the U.S. Army.