Meet Arman Golrokhian: dual-degree graduate student - Master of Public Policy and Master of Science, Class of 2015
Fields of study: Sustainable Systems and Environmental Policy and Planning
What brought you to SEAS?
As an undergrad, I majored in mechanical engineering, where I deepened my understanding of energy, power and transportation systems. In the process I realized that although mechanical engineering provides me the strong basis for systematic and analytical thinking, it is not enough for satisfying my aspirations and career goals in the long term; I wanted to have a greater impact on a global scale through an interdisciplinary approach on the cutting edge topics such as climate change. So when it was time to choose a grad school, I found that SEAS has everything I want out of my experience as a grad student and even offers more. It is the best venue for me to achieve my long-term career goals.
What’s it like to be an international student at SEAS?
For me as Iranian student, it was a surprisingly smooth transition. SEAS is one of the most diverse schools on campus. It is very supportive of and welcoming to international students. I did have to get used to another language and a very different culture, but the faculty, staff, and other students all help international students mesh and understand what is expected. On top of all these, as a dual degree student, I always feel that SEAS is my home base.
What has been your most valuable SEAS experience?
Hands down, my most valuable experience was traveling to Peru for the 20th Conference of Parties. It was a brilliant experience for students to be in these high level meetings, where governments from all around the world convene every year to talk about and make decisions on climate change.
Environmental policy is one of the fields I really want to work in after I graduate. Being at the conference, I learned so much about that career path and the skills it requires. Then I determined how I could take the right courses to have the skill set that's aligned with what I want to do in the future.
What was your favorite SEAS class?
“Negotiation Skills” was my favorite and among the most useful SEAS classes for me. Negotiation is obviously the key element required in climate change negotiations, so it helps me truly understand what is going on behind each country’s climate change statement, like the ones I heard at the Conference of Parties in Peru. It’s really interesting to be able to analyze what each statement really means—for example, what the country’s position and interests are, and how they are compromising their interest and benefits—and this course gave me a very good insight about this process.
What are your post-graduation goals?
Long term, I’d like to be part of an international organization like the United Nations or the World Bank. But in the beginning I’ll start with companies or organizations in the United States who are working in the realm of energy and climate policy and gradually work toward an international organization.
What advice would you give incoming students?
Everything in SEAS is set up to help you succeed. There are plenty of resources for whatever field or topic you want to pursue. So bring you passion, bring your interests, and take advantage of all SEAS has to offer.