Assistantships are one way you can help finance your MIDP degree while gaining valuable experience and working alongside Duke's expert faculty. Learn about some of our fellows' TA and RA experiences below.
Imad Alhajj MIDP '24
Imad is a Teaching Assistant (TA) for Public Policy Course 763 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies with Dr. Maureen Moriarity-Lempke at the Sanford School of Public Policy and a Research Assistant (RA) to Prof. Mara Redlich Revkin at Duke Law School.
Why were these positions of interest to you?
Because I am very passionate about Peace and Conflict Research Studies, particularly peace-building, conflict transformation, transitional justice, and human rights, my work positions align perfectly with my skill set and experience as a humanitarian practitioner and peace and conflict scholar. Most importantly, both positions provide me an excellent opportunity to learn from and work with highly esteemed and "recognized globally" Peace and Conflict scholars and practitioners Prof. Mara Revkin and Dr. Maureen Moriarty-Lempke.
How are these positions helping to finance your studies at Sanford?
Thanks to Sanford School's invaluable support, both positions helped me learn new skills: financial independence, improving my social life, and paying my daily living expenses, including rent fees.
How do you balance your TA/RA positions with your coursework?
I balance my TA/RA positions with my coursework through effective time management, understanding my academic requirements, and planning. Most importantly, open and honest communication with my supervisors about workloads helps me navigate deadlines and balance my academic and work responsibilities.
What about either position is engaging or especially interesting?
Both positions are very transformative and insightful experiences. Both are very engaging and interesting because the RA/TA positions provide me with a great opportunity to learn and grow personally and professionally and develop practical skills and experience for future career opportunities after graduation.
What advice would you give to students considering a TA or RA position?
Time management, open and honest conversation with the supervisor, and applying for positions you are passionate about, and find purpose in your work.
Tashi Choden MIDP '24
Tashi is a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the Policy Analysis for Development class taught by Dr. Natalia Mirovitskaia.
Why was this position of interest to you?
I took the class in my first semester and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In particular, the class is structured in a way that allows fellows, who are mostly from different countries, to engage and lead class discussions based on their experiences. When I was taking the class, I learned a lot about what was going on in different countries in my cohort and was hoping for the same enrichment through the TA position.
How do you balance your TA position with your coursework?
I ensure that I set milestones on completing my deliverables. Since the TA role is not as demanding as my coursework, I ensure that I am on track with my coursework and start working on my deliverables right after class. I feel time-blocking while having the flexibility to prioritize and completing high priority task first really helps.
What do you find engaging or especially interesting about your TA experience?
Being able to listen to a varying range of issue in different countries has been the most enriching experience for me - it exposes you to think about the similarities and differences with your country. At the same time I am able to form friendships with the new MIDP cohort.
What advice would you give to students considering a TA position?
I feel a TA position brings out your organizational and time management skills. While it may be overwhelming at times, I would suggest strategically planning out the courses you will be taking that semester while you TA.