Today I post here a copy of a letter I sent to Professor Estrella-Luna. Some six months after defending my thesis and earning my doctorate in the Doctor of Law and Policy program at Northeastern University, I want to share with her why her teachings have made me a better policy maker and budding academic.
Feel free to metaphorically look over her shoulder and read my letter.
February 12, 2017
Neenah Estrella-Luna, PhD
Doctor of Law & Policy Program
College of Professional Studies
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Dear Professor Estrella-Luna:
It has been nearly six months since I defended my doctoral thesis before you and the other members of the examination committee. That is a great reason for me to reach out to you now to share with you some of my thoughts about you, your impact on me, and the DLP program.
When I entered the DLP program, I met you but didn’t quite know how to take you. Your clinical and critically honest assessment of each of us at that first Intensive Week entering the program was at once unexpected, enlightening, and—to be honest—a bit frightening. Yet, you made it clear from that very first contact that you expected us to excel if we were to achieve our goal to graduate from the program. You also made it equally clear that you would help and support us to reach that goal if we did our part to your very high but achievable expectations and standards.
Frankly, in all of my prior educational programs, whether undergraduate or graduate, I have never encountered a professor who published his or her expectations and goals as clearly and honestly as did you. All of us in Cohort VIII also learned that your clarity in expectations of and goals for each of us were coupled with your promise, on which you unwaveringly delivered, to support each of us to meet both.
You personally inspired me, and I can say with certainty all of the members of Cohort VIII, to push past our self-perceived limits to achieve the core goal of the DLP program. By this I do not mean earning the degree of Doctor of Law and Policy (although that was quite nice, thank you). Rather, I am talking about the program’s core goal of developing effective new policy entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and change agents. In my case, as someone with some prior public visibility in telecommunications law and policy, I know how I have already applied the many tools I learned in the program…tools you taught us…to help shift local, state and national telecom policy as it relates to a new regulatory framework for the deployment of the next generation of wireless facilities. In that regard, I am altogether much more effective today than I was the day I entered the DLP program.
Of all of the tools and elements I learned from you in the DLP program, I believe the most important, at least so far, has been for me to consciously apply critical thinking to enable me to connect seemingly disparate concepts to achieve important policy goals. Your multi-dimensional approach to problem identification and solving has helped me far better understand those who would otherwise be patent policy enemies and turn them into potential, if sometimes latent, policy allies. It has also made me, I hope, a better budding academic.
I often find myself inwardly smiling for a moment or two knowing that in real life I’m applying the policy tools you lead us to understand, respect, and own. In the end analysis, you are to me at the very center of the DLP program. You are the gravity chiefly responsible for drawing in, shaping and producing, and eventually flinging out fully-developed DLP program graduates who then may become their own policy gravity centers.
Warmly, your devoted policy disciple,
Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq., JD, LL.M, DLP
Member, NEU DLP Cohort VIII
PS: I hope you do not mind, but given your importance to me and the DLP program, I am going to post a copy of this letter at www.JonathanKramer.com, which has apparently become one of the more popular sites on Internet to learn about the DLP program. –jlk