Originally from southern Arizona, Evan Shallcross ’20 (M) came to Newport as part of his career in the U.S. Navy. He has been a surface warfare officer in the Navy since 2012, and he spent the first years of his career on ships near San Diego.
A few years ago, Shallcross transferred to Newport to teach ship handling to junior officers at the Surface Warfare Officers School. As part of the requirements for his position in the military, he needed to earn a master’s degree in international relations, and Shallcross decided on Salve Regina because it was close to home and he’d read very good things about the program.
“I was excited because it was a small program,” Shallcross said. “There’s only a handful of students in the master’s program, so we were kind of a small group going through it all together. There was a lot of comradery.”
There was also a lot of flexibility within the international relations program, which was important to Shallcross because of his military career. “There’s a pretty good relationship between the international relations program and the military … that was definitely a positive for me,” he said. “They cater to students who are military. There’s a good amount of cross pollination between the educational community and the military here.”
Because Shallcross holds an undergraduate degree in architecture, he worried it might be difficult to catch up on topics presented in class, such as history, philosophy and political theory. But he was impressed with how the faculty were able to provide background information to students entering the program from a variety of professions.
“I think they did a really good job of making sure that we weren’t just sort of thrown to the wolves,” Shallcross said. “The curriculum actually built that foundation or reinforced that foundation before we got into the deeper stuff, so that was really cool.”
He also appreciated that his critical thinking skills were challenged – both through the intellectual material he was reading and studying, and also in the papers he wrote to communicate his own thoughts. He said that his writing improved during the master’s program, helping him to articulate his thoughts and communicate more effectively for the future.
Shallcross has loved teaching what he’s learned to the junior officers at the Surface Warfare Officers School, and everything he learned through Salve Regina’s international relations program comes into play as he teaches his students about the role of the military and how the Navy plays a part in the complex arena of international affairs.
“I really can’t say enough about the staff, about the faculty,” he said. “We were given full support from everybody on the staff to pursue any sort of direction, any sort of specialty that we wanted. And we were never once told, ‘This is what you will believe, this is the conclusion that you will reach.’ We were really just given tools … to make better decisions, to interpret decisions and to maintain a broader perspective. And I feel like it’s really changed the way that I look at politics.”