Grayson Shor is a graduate of the International Affairs Master’s program at the Elliott School of International Affairs where he studied as a China Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellow, Freeman Foundation grantee, and David L. Boren fellow. A native of Santa Barbara, California, he has spent three years living and working across Southeast and East Asia. Such experiences include managing an international Beijing real estate group, manufacturing consumer technology products in Guangdong province, ethnographic fieldwork investigating human trafficking in Thailand, and serving as a geospatial analyst and environmental risk consultant with The Asia Foundation in Myanmar. Grayson is an avid outdoorsman, having professionally guided over thirty trips into the California wilderness. He is also a blues guitarist and a licensed Massage Therapist.
Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I currently work at the U.S. Department of State in the Economic and Business Affairs Bureau on a Policy Analysis team. My team is tasked with managing the U.S. relationship with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In addition to this, I also am the lead organizer for an international conference on marine debris and the Circular Economy, which will take place in March 2020 in Taiwan. Lastly, I am also the point person for my office on China-related issues.
How does your current position compare to what you thought you would be doing when you first started your degree at the Elliott School?
I am glad to say I am doing what I hoped I would when I first moved to DC. It was a big risk for me to leave my immensely enjoyable and stable life working in China to an uncertain and demanding life characteristic of a graduate program. While I felt I had regrets at the point of transition, looking back I would not change a thing.
What part of your career do you find most rewarding and why?
I am a scientist. I feel incredibly fortunate and personally fulfilled to be able to put my scientific and interpersonal skills to task, working on finding and developing solutions to some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges. I love how demanding my job is and that it requires non-stop creativity, I regularly work 12+ hour days and love it.
In your experience, how has a graduate degree related to international affairs been valuable?
A graduate degree in International Affairs has helped me primarily in two general ways. First, by vastly improving my ability to synthesize large amounts of information (sometimes in a different language) and write my analysis in a way cognizant of and easily understood by my target audience. Secondly, through earnestly engaging myself in an open-minded study of different countries and overseas internships immersed in different cultures I’ve been able to expand my ability to empathize with “the other” and live a non-ethnocentric life- necessary for a career in diplomacy.
You can declare any day a holiday. What’s the holiday, what day is it on, and what is it for?
National Stretching, Meditation, and Massage Therapy day. Because we all need these three things every once in a while.
The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. The views expressed by alumni profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs. Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!
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