Duke Alumni Magazine-Quad Quotes-Jul/Aug 2002

Address Change

1. Pop Quiz
2. Ask the Expert
3. Reading List

Pop Quiz

Investors are skittish, stocks are sliding, and jobs are fewer. We asked several students: Are the current economic woes causing you to rethink your post-graduate plans?

The shoulder shrug was common parlance. Rising senior Kari Hess did this and smiled, saying she hadn't "really planned that far ahead yet."

Sean Huang '03 has been ready all along. "Not really. My major is Japanese so it's going to be tough anyway, here and [in Japan]. I have an economics minor and markets and management certificate, but I doubt those are going to help much at all." Rising senior Atif Qureshi half-shrugged. "Not really, just because I feel like I don't have much of a choice. I'm an engineering major, and I don't want to go to grad school right away. I'm going to try to get a job even though I know it's really tough out there." Sierra Stults, a senior psychology major, is planning on grad school for sure. "I don't know which one, but I'm going. First, I'm going to take a year off, go to Boston, have fun, then apply."

Levels of concern didn't vary by major either. Math major Nicole Czukan '04 said that if anything, "September 11 probably gave me more job options, math and physics being defense-oriented." Another junior, Chris Evans, an economics major, just wants to get his foot in the door. "What I plan to do is get an internship, try to ride this out until the economy gets better."

For Ricky Johnson '03, recession has opportunity written all over it. "I'm going to take a year off to learn Spanish. I've always wanted to and since I want to go into international law, it would definitely benefit me. I've heard it's really bad out there, and I think now, more than ever, a graduate degree is the way to go. So, I'm going to do an Americorps program and then go to law school."

Chris Duhon '04, who tends to be front and center among students during Final Four season, did not shoulder-shrug at all. He shook his head and smiled. "No," he said. "I have my mind pretty much set on what I want to do."

Ask the Expert

What does Russia's new junior-partner status in NATO signal about NATO's relevance today?

We are in a transition from NATO II to NATO III, leaving NATO I as a distant memory. NATO I was the defensive alliance that successfully rehabilitated German power, ended a century of Franco-German military conflict, ended U.S. isolationism, and defeated the Warsaw Pact in the Cold War. When the Soviet threat went away, so did the mission for NATO I, and it morphed into NATO II: the "happy medium" of international institutions.

It has been inclusive enough to provide the legitimacy that comes from multilateral military operations. But it has been exclusive enough (unlike the UN) to provide the effectiveness that comes from unity of command and an unambiguous institutional leader (the United States). Thus, NATO was able to act decisively in the Balkans, for instance, when the larger UN was paralyzed. But NATO's historic effectiveness has a paradoxical self-limiting feature: More and more people want to join this exclusive club. The more people that join, the less exclusive the club becomes and, potentially, the less useful it becomes.

Arguably, the difficulties NATO had in waging the Kosovo war signaled the end of NATO II. It should not surprise, therefore, that we are seeing the emergence of NATO III, an organization that could not do many of the things that the other two incarnations did but can nevertheless serve European security by doing other things well. If it succeeds as a vehicle for involving Russia in constructive ways while still preserving the essential engine of American leadership, then NATO III will remain very relevant. Just don't expect NATO III to fight and win many traditional wars.

--Peter Feaver, associate professor of political science and an expert on American foreign policy and national security

Reading List

For the first time ever, Duke's incoming freshmen have been given a summer reading assignment, albeit a small one. A committee was charged with finding a single book for one of the most eclectic assortments of people living in one place--East Campus.

The committee decided that if there was one story that the entire Class of 2006 should read, its theme should be integrity. It settled on "The Palace Thief" by Ethan Canin, from a collection of award-winning short stories, about a history teacher at a private boys' school, his dealings with a troubled student, and the irrevocable changes that result from our conduct and interactions. The story will be discussed in conjunction with the students' introduction to the Honor Code.

By the time freshmen arrive in August, they will be prepared for changes of all kinds. So as bags are packed and trunks are loaded, we asked faculty and administrators what one book they'd recommend as a must-read before coming to Duke.

"If you have never read Homer's Odyssey, you should, for two reasons," says Maureen Quilligan, English department chair. "First, in Robert Fitzgerald's brilliant translation, it is true beach reading. And second, it is one of the twin pillars of Western literature, the other being the Illiad. But, because the Illiad is mostly about war, the Odyssey is much more useful. It's about a young man who goes off in search of his father to save his mother from having to marry someone else, and that father's coming home to his wife after twenty years."

Ryan Lombardi, who oversees orientation as assistant dean of student development, recommends that freshmen pick up a copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, "a wonderful fable about pursuing your dreams, something that all new students should embrace."

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag gives advice he's given for years: find a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style before "starting out on an experience that will demand a lot of writing." To really drive that point home, he recommends as another essential for beginning writers The New Fowler's Modern English Usage by R.W. Burchfield and Henry Watson Fowler, considered by many to be to proper English structure and conventions what Webster's is to definitions.

--compiled by Patrick Adams


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