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M.S. Student Claire Sleigh

QA with MS Student Claire Sleigh

A connection “around a shared motivation for social justice and the importance of the labor movement in achieving better outcomes” is shared by students in the cohort, Sleigh said.

Claire Sleigh is a student in the ILR School MS degree program, which is focused on labor research and policy analysis. Recently, she shared her background, motivation for joining the program, career aspirations and tips for people considering the MS program.

What were your educational and career experiences leading up to your time at ILR?

I worked for the last seven years – I spent three years in D.C. as an assistant analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, and four years in Jordan as a monitoring and data analytics officer with the International Labor Organization. I worked with the ILO’s Better Work program, which focuses on improving working conditions in the global garment sector. I graduated from Tufts University in 2016 with a BA and double majored in economics and international relations.

What motivated you to join the MS program?

My experiences in Jordan gave me an in-depth understanding of the various challenges faced by workers in highly globalized industries. I wanted to have a more informed framework for analyzing these problems and weighing solutions. In addition to the theoretical grounding, I wanted to improve my research skills, especially in terms of more advanced quantitative methods.

What courses have been especially impactful so far?

I am really enjoying “Labor Solidarity and Union Campaigns” with Professor Ginny Doellgast. The course weaves together theoretical approaches with case studies drawn from different countries and contexts. We have had super interesting guest speakers and lively class discussions.

What about the MS experience has been surprising?

There are seven MS students in my year, and we all have very different prior experiences and research interests. All those differences are super interesting, and I think we have really been able to learn from each other and the topics that each of us is passionate about. We also all have connected around a shared motivation for social justice and the importance of the labor movement in achieving better outcomes.

Where do you hope it takes you in your career?

I want to continue working on the issue of working conditions in global supply chains at the intersection of research and policy.

Do you have advice for people considering the MS program?

It’s great to come in with research topics and interests, but those can also change during your time in the program.

The program offers some structure and guidance on classes, themes and research tasks, but it is also very flexible! Sometimes, with the flexibility, you need to take the initiative to find classes and advocate for your research.

In your free time, what do you do for fun?

I play ultimate frisbee with the Cornell women’s team and with an Ithaca club team – between the two teams, I play three to four times a week! Other than that, I love reading, cooking, going on hikes with my dogs and seeing live music.