Graduate Student Reaps Rewards of Global Commerce and Policy Program

A young Black woman with her head turned smiles at the camera.
‘I can’t imagine spending my time any other way at this point.’

After studying international studies as an undergraduate, Amber Pittman was unsure about immediately pursuing a graduate degree. She soon realized that without additional education, finding a fulfilling job might prove elusive. She began exploring graduate programs near her hometown of Woodbridge, Virginia, and honed in on the Master of Global Commerce and Policy program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

“I do enjoy learning,” she said. “George Mason is right here in the area and the program seemed to be a perfect fusion of everything I wanted to learn about.”

One area Pittman knew she needed to investigate further was the economics portion of the program, she admits, initially not her favorite.

“I was willing to explore that a little bit more and I’m really proud that I did,” she said. “I enjoy it more than I thought I would.”

Pittman attributes her enjoyment of all of her courses to her professors, who make sure students truly understand the concepts they teach.

Several professors have made a positive impression, including Ken Reinert (“He was my first econ class where it just kind of clicked”); J.P. Singh (“His passion for what he teaches just makes his class really exciting and engaging”); and Valerie Rouxel-Laxton (“She just covers so much in her classes. You sit down and you’re like, ‘Wow, I never heard of this before’”).

Pittman has also taken advantage of networking opportunities available. She has attended numerous events and worked with the Career Development Office to polish her resume and interview skills. That, combined with recommendations from her professors, enabled her to secure an internship with the Federal Reserve Board, where she works with the Department of Supervision and Regulation assisting with administrative tasks and streamlining workflow.

“I am definitely learning a lot,” she said.

With one year of graduate school in the books, Pittman feels confident in her decision to enroll in the Global Commerce and Policy program.

“I joined this program because I wanted to know what I didn’t know,” she said. “I can’t imagine spending my time any other way at this point. It’s very rewarding and I’m excited for what I’ll gain from it and what comes after.”