CCT's Fall 2016 Open House

What's it like to be a CCT student? At our Fall 2016 Open House, CCT faculty, students and alumni described this unique interdisciplinary program in a series of panel sessions. The recordings are below. If you have any trouble viewing the videos, please try setting up a VPN (virtual private network) first.

All the panel sessions were moderated by Sarah Twose, CCT Director of Academic Programs. Here are just a few highlights:

“Over the last 20 years, we’ve been preparing people for whatever comes next. It’s a way of thinking, a way of developing questions, it’s a way of learning how to learn, learning how to pose your own questions. … The difference between CCT and other fields is that we’re studying a problem that’s evolving in real time. … We can bring that approach to almost any problem or question that might come up.” – Dr. Martin Irvine

“Everybody changes and evolves, and this is a program that allows you to do that, and supports that, helps you to grow. … Every day you’re learning something you never thought you were ever going to learn, or you’re exposed to a perspective that you never thought you would be exposed to, and that perspective changes the way you see the world and how you think about things.” – Dr. Jeanine Turner

“If you go to (another) Master’s degree, you’re going to be learning what is known. If you come here, you’re going to be learning maybe a little bit about what is not yet known. You’re going to be expected to come up with new ideas. … We want people who are visionary, who are willing to come up with that breaking idea at the intersection of different disciplines. … I was always eager to recommend my CCT students to the World Bank because I knew they would do me proud. Because they had been in this environment, I knew they would take initiative.” – Dr. Denise Bedford

“That’s what we really have here at CCT – connections to an incredibly interesting community in a lot of different disciplines and a lot of different industries, government agencies, non-profit organizations. They’ll lead you to some of these outside campus opportunities. I think if you come here and you spend 2 years getting a degree and you don’t plug into that, you’ve missed about 25-30% of the opportunity here at CCT.” – Dr. Michael Nelson.

“At job interviews, I would tell my potential employer that I did this amazing program at Georgetown that’s one of a kind, that really speaks to where we are today, and the way business works today, the way the economy works today. And that having somebody like me on their staff allows them to have a resource that’s adaptable, that can adjust, that’s not rigid, that’s not stuck in one frame of mind. … CCT teaches you how to think about things in multidimensional ways, always thinking about what’s next. The ability to see life as something that’s consistently changing and how do you prepare yourself for that and how do you get ahead of the curve.” – Elaine Mensah, CCT 2003

“One of the things that I learned at CCT was how to take a critical eye to technology and be able to place it into context about why it does what it’s doing. So that, to me, is a kind of differentiator and in the (consulting) business that we’re in, it’s everything. We have to be able to be very critical of what is happening in an organization to be able to get to the root of the business problem.” Jonathan Bruskin, CCT 1999

“CCT is unique. It forces you in very specific and very rigorous ways not to consider just one subject matter or one possibility or one problem area, but rather to consider an ecosystem of subject matters and how they relate to and interact with and impose upon one another.” – Josh Hubanks, CCT 2012

“There are a lot of people who come into CCT knowing what they are interested in but don’t know how to go about studying it. That’s the greatness of this program - that we can learn so much from our classmates and professors and find out what methodologies can be used to achieve our goals.” – Madhavi Reddi

 “One piece of advice that I got from an alumna was each semester, if you can, try to take at least one class that is outside of your comfort zone … You’re going to find that it challenges you, it helps you expand your horizons and skill-set and you might be wildly surprised in what you’re actually interested in. … Even if you’re not amazing at it, you’re going to learn so much and you’re going to be shepherded by your professor and your classmates to be successful. Be adventurous, take responsibility for your classes, and you’re going to have an incredible experience at CCT.” Adrianne Griffith, CCT first-year

“I think people come in (to CCT) sometimes with some anxiety around technology, feeling like they don’t have the skills. But it’s something you can learn and you can pick up, so I think the idea (of Car Barn Labs) was to help people feel more confident that they can use and make and build things on their own.” – Linda Huber, CCT second-year

“It’s amazing to see how much I’ve learned … it’s been amazing to be with classmates who have totally different backgrounds and somehow we’ve all come together and just learned so much. The CCT community is so supportive. All of my classmates I would consider my friends. Everyone’s there for you. If you have questions, your faculty are there for you. Just email them and they will respond.” Amanda Morris, CCT first-year

“Here at CCT, the professors really care about the students and want them to be involved, and that’s something I didn’t see anywhere else when I was applying to graduate programs and it was why I came here.” – Elizabeth Jaye, CCT first-year.


1. How is CCT different from other graduate programs?

Speakers: Profs. David Lightfoot, Martin Irvine, Jeanine Turner, Leticia Bode, and Denise Bedford. CCT students Anna TenBroek, Elizabeth Jaye, Madhavi Reddi.

2. How do CCTers build their individualized curricula?

Speakers: Profs. David Lightfoot, Martin Irvine, Jeanine Turner, and Matthew Schruers. CCT students Anna TenBroek, Elizabeth Jaye, Amanda Morris, Becky White, Tara Jabbari, Katherine Chow, Katherine Hild, Madhavi Reddi, Adrianne Griffith.

Related links: Building Your Own Curriculum. CCT M.A. Degree Requirements. Current Courses. Certificate Programs. CCT Learning Goals.

3. How do CCTers maximize their time in grad school?

Speakers: Profs. Michael Macovski, Evan Barba, and Michael Nelson. CCT students Tara Jabbari, Linda Huber, Katherine Hild, Rebecca Tantillo. Attendees introduced themselves at the start of this session.

Related links: Student Projects. Thesis Projects. Car Barn Labs. Media Fest. Tech Tour. gnovis. A Week in the Life of a CCTer.

4. Where do grads go with a CCT degree?

Speakers: Alumni Antonio Rodriguez, Jamal LeBlanc, Elaine Mensah, Jonathan Bruskin, Josh Hubanks, Tara Hadron, Deron Hogans.

Related links: Alumni Profiles.

5. Who has the “right” background for CCT? How do I apply?

Speakers: Alumni Lucas Regnér, Antonio Rodriguez. CCT students Katherine Hild, Rebecca Tantillo, Anna TenBroek. Graduate School Admissions officer: Kelsey Boyce.

Related links: Application Timelines. How to Apply. Video Statement Instructions. Graduate School Admissions instructions. Cost of Attendance. CCT Merit-based Scholarship. gnovis and CNDLS fellowships. External funding sources.

6. Prof. J.R. Osborn

Dr J.R. Osborn is on sabbatical this semester so he sent this video to welcome prospective students.

Next steps:

If you have questions or would like to connect with a student or faculty member, feel free to contact Ai-Hui Tan, Director of Admissions and Communications. If you are in DC, we may be able to arrange for you to visit CCT and perhaps sit in on a class.

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