Thanks to the Jackson School’s Donald C. and Margery S. Hellmann Scholar Award to engage in a foreign policy experience, undergraduate Gabriel Collins is one step closer to his goal of a Foreign Service or international organization career dedicated to using finance to positively address many systemic issues around the world. In this Q&A below, he reports to us from Washington D.C., where he is spending five months in a global association for the financial industry and using his Jackson School education to approach assignments.
Name: Gabriel Collins
Studies: B.A. International Studies: International Political Economy
Year expected to graduate: 2020
Favorite quote: “He who wishes to serve his country must have not only the power to think, but the will to act.”—Plato
Tell us about your reaction on becoming the recipient of the Hellmann Scholarship. One of my long-term career ambitions is to work in economic development within emerging and frontier markets. Given this, one of my goals is to work with the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer and the Hellmann Award has given me the support to work towards that very objective. For that, I was honored and delighted to hear about receiving the Hellmann Scholar Award.
Where and what will you be doing with the Scholar Award? I have been interning at the Institute of International Finance, the global association of the financial industry in Washington D.C. There, I work on macroeconomic analysis with the executive staff and economists on a wide range of topics regarding emerging markets, global equity markets, sovereign debt and debt capital markets. With uncertain trade policies, heightened geopolitical tensions, and fears of a potential recession, I am grateful to engage with industry experts from who I can learn.
Tell us how you think this will help in your career path. Post-2008, the word finance has often carried a stigma. For long-term, prudent, and sustainable economic growth, finance can be wielded to address many systemic issues around the world. With the wealth of knowledge, perspectives and skills obtained from my experience with the IIF, I will be able to positively contribute to my duties wherever I may go, whether it be a U.S. governmental agency, an institutional bank, or a supranational organization. The Hellman Scholarship has provided me with an indispensable stepping stone as my future career takes shape.
How did you choose the Jackson School? Growing up with a French mother, the international arena always interested me. In high school I quickly took to reading about current events, but as I entered the University of Washington, I was not set on
a specific major. When I took my first economics class freshman year, I realized its pertinence within international affairs and decided I wanted to learn more. Spring quarter of my freshman year, I took “Making of the 21st Century” with Daniel Chirot, and quickly found my home within the Jackson school. The Jackson School provided me with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding global problems, something which I found to be imperative.
What do you like about the International Studies major? The Jackson School has provided me with a diverse and widely applicable set of skills that have well prepared me to tackle problems broad and complicated in their scope. I’ve always had a diverging and differing set of interests, and the Jackson School encapsulates these with its interdisciplinary degree. It has opened my eyes to a range of disciplines, from political science, sociology, economics, philosophy and history, all tools that I use to analyze problems on a holistic basis. As a result, the Jackson School has also helped me find my passion within economics and financial markets.
Favorite classes that have made a difference? Just about all my classes within the Jackson School have made a lasting impact on my (brief) professional career and especially on the research I am doing at the IIF. Some of the most notable ones have been Daniel Chirot’s “Making of the 21st Century” and Scott Montgomery’s class on “Geopolitics of energy,” Michelle Turnovsky’s “Economics of the European Union,” and Yong Chool-Ha’s “Late Industrialization and Social Change.” Not to forget Sara Curran’s “Claims & Evidence” class, which has given me skills in how to interpret qualitative and quantitative data and assess the validity of information in an academic research setting.
What advice do you have for prospective Jackson School majors? Question everything.