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Zestadianna (Zesta) Adzel was first inspired to enrol in a Master of National Security Policy following a political rally during the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2017.
“It challenged my perspective on social cohesion and how the community could be influenced by the news and broadcast messages,” Zesta said.
At the time, Zesta was working as an assistant lecturer of operational psychology in Jakarta.
“My teaching plan leaned toward the application of psychology in national security,” she said. “The rally during the Jakarta governor’s election, pushed me to dig more into the realm of national security to enrich my social psychology perspective.”
Zesta chose to study her graduate degree at the ANU National Security College (NSC) because of its degree-structure and multi-disciplinary approach to learning.
“Crawford School also has an excellent reputation amongst Indonesian policymakers,” she said.
Since COVID-19 hit, Zesta has been living in Canberra with her five-year-old son, separated from her husband who remains at home in Jakarta.
Zesta said the shift to online learning last year was hands-down the most memorable experience of her graduate degree.
“The supportive lecturers, tutors, and fellow students made the adaptation process easy and bearable,” she said.
Now she has graduated, Zesta plans to keep her teaching post and “embark on a research journey looking into propaganda and disinformation in Indonesia.”
“I will continue to shine a light on the danger of disinformation in Indonesia, especially concerning social processes within the community,” she said.
“Addressing Indonesian vulnerabilities towards hostile information environments will become my priority, aiming for an integrated policy against the risk of information war.”
Reflecting on her study experiences at NSC, Zesta’s top tip for future students is to follow national security scholars on Twitter.
“They talk about the current situation with a timely analysis that is hard to find in a journal,” she said.
“Use this for brainstorming purposes to write your assignments or help you understand the unfolding security threat. While national security policy is a serious topic, we can make studying it fun.”