Last Friday, Hiram alumnus Evan Tachovsky ’08 stopped in at his alma mater to chat with a few students about his experiences post graduation from Hiram.
Tachovsky has been quite busy. After his Hiram study abroad trip in Turkey ended in 2008, he actually stayed in the country, living in Istanbul. There he researched at Sabanci University’s Istanbul Policy Center, studied at Bogazici University and worked for Ihlas News Agency.
Eventually, Tachovsky became interested in and applied for the prestigious Fulbright Scholars Program, through which he earned a research grant to study western democracy and promotion efforts in Baku, Azerbaijan.
“I chose Azerbaijan for several reasons,” Tachovsky said. “I was already familiar with Turkish, Azerbaijan’s native language, from the study abroad trip I took at Hiram. It’s also a small, resource-rich country, which means it’s very important for [the United States] to develop a strategic relationship with Azerbaijan.”
He went on to explain how, at the same time, it is also important to push Azerbaijan away from an authoritarian government which frequently results in the arrest of journalists and political leaders.
“It was interesting to me, thinking about how you balance these two things; and that’s what I devoted a lot of my research toward,” he said.
His time spent in Azerbaijan afforded Tachovsky several unique and awesome opportunities. He explains how, during the Fulbright Fellowship, he was not only doing research but also gathering living experience. He learned how to navigate a foreign country, how to put finer points on his research in general, and he reached out to embassy diplomats and other influential people, establishing a strong network of career connections.
“As long as you’re willing to be ambitious in your socializing, you can get great opportunities,” Tachovsky said.
Currently, Tachovsky lives in Washington, D.C., and he works as editorial support in media development for IREX, a nonprofit organization which promotes international education and academic research. His acquiring this job, he says, was directly related to his Fulbright Felowship. He also attends graduate school part-time to get his master’s degree in applied statistics.
“Applied statistics isn’t my field of study, per se, but if I was going to apply for a graduate program, I wanted to get a concrete and applicable skill in return,” he said. “It will be really useful for me to be able to go to a country and to get information – to break it down, crunch it into numbers.”
Tachovsky said that Hiram helped to get him where he is today in more ways than one. Studying abroad in Turkey introduced him to the idea of the Fulbright Fellowship in the first place; in Turkey, he established several connections which recommended the program to him. He also praises Hiram’s interdisciplinary approach, explaining that it has been very useful to him on his career path.
“When I was at Hiram, I had to be able to do a lot of different kinds of things, and during the Fulbright Fellowship, I also had to be able to do a lot of different kinds of things,” Tachovsky said. “The ability to click on and learn quickly in a new domain, an ability that a liberal arts program really helps you develop, is incredibly important.”