Courses and tips from recent TU alum Jacob Doddy

By Hillary Giddings on November 6, 2018

A 2015 Towson University alum offers up his favorite courses and the strategy behind his elected coursework during his time on campus — and how it got him where he is today.

Jacob Doddy discusses his TU academic choices
Jacob Doddy '15 (center), joined by friends Andrea and Esra (left to right), shared some tips about his academic choices at TU.

When Jacob Doddy ’15 graduated from Towson University three and a half years ago, he never imagined where his education would lead him.

Doddy couldn’t know that he would find himself working as an analyst for an international risk analysis firm and enrolled in graduate school in Paris. He also never imagined that classes like his required TSEM freshman year, and lengthy research writing assignments, would have helped pour the foundation for his international career trajectory.

Doddy is currently pursuing a dual master’s degree in International Security and Middle Eastern Studies. He is spending the first year of this program studying International Security at SciencesPo in Paris, France and will then travel to King’s College in London, England to complete the second portion of his program in Middle Eastern Studies.

Doddy, an alum of the College of Liberal Arts, holds an interdisciplinary studies degree. He credits the flexibility of the individually designed thematic concentration, an option in which undergraduate students may complete a major that is available at other universities but not currently offered at TU, as one of the most helpful academic opportunities as an undergraduate student.

“Through this program I essentially crafted my own major, based off programs at other schools that really suited my academic needs. This choice offered tremendous customization of classes, with close supervision,” said Doddy, who also mentioned that this course of study has served as an interesting talking point during interviews and in application letters post-graduation.

While completing his undergraduate coursework, Doddy also studied abroad for a semester in Jordan, where he later returned to live for a year. “Spending a semester abroad in Jordan was not only one of the best experiences in my life…but also one which I’d say really helped open my eyes to a wider world, both intellectually and personally,” Doddy said.

In addition to these rewarding academic opportunities, Doddy credits his TSEM course freshman year for teaching him essential researching and writing skills. Doddy also added that the emphasis on research, deep reading, and writing within the College of Liberal Arts prepared him well for graduate coursework. It also increased his desire to challenge himself academically.

“I specifically chose courses and professors who I knew would assign longer papers, and more of them. The only way to get better at writing and researching is to do it, and I made sure I did a lot of it,” Doddy said.

Doddy’s strategy when selecting courses was to find a professor that he liked and take multiple classes with them.

“I took every Middle East class possible with Dr. Kimberly Katz, who always demanded the best in writing and encouraged my interest in areas I was previously uninterested, such as urban spaces. I also took several geography courses with Dr. Charles Schmitz who also helped me become a more capable writer and has mentored me both in and after college,” said Doddy, who still keeps in touch with both Drs. Katz and Schmitz.

When asked what advice he would offer to current students, Doddy said, “I would restate the advice of my mom which has served me well: ‘Go to every class and do every reading.’ I know it is easy for many students to skip some readings, but they are there for your benefit, and that is what we are all here to do.”

After completing his master’s degree, Doddy plans to continue working in risk analysis or risk consulting with a focus on the Middle East, in either Europe or the Middle East and North Africa region in addition to continuing his Arabic studies. However, he is also keeping his options open and is excited at the possibilities the future could hold.

“I did not think upon graduation that I would be in my current analysis job or studying in Paris,” Doddy said. “But I am here doing both of these things and I love it.”