Allison Gelman '18 awarded James C. Gaither Junior fellowship for policy research

by Alice Zhang | 4/27/18 2:25am

After a high school trip to Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., Allison Gelman ’18 said she wanted to study international relations and make an impact on the world. On her way to doing so, Gelman was recently named a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The fellowship will allow her to participate in the geoeconomics and strategy program, where she will be conducting policy research in Washington D.C. with Carnegie’s senior scholars.

“I really love working with other people and having a dialogue, and I guess I wanted to do something that was big and meaningful,” Gelman said. “I thought the way to do that was … working with other countries and trying to make things work globally.”

According to Gelman, she will also be working on a project with 13 other junior fellows, which could include attending policy conferences as well as conducting data analytics and background research.

“They’re still trying to figure out what [the geoeconomics] program is for Carnegie,” Gelman said. “How I like to think about it is, it’s like doing international economic strategy, but then looking at how that influences international policy and how that influences things that happen on our side domestically.”

Assistant dean for scholarship advising Jessica Smolin, who serves as the College’s nominating official for the Gaither program, noted that the fellowship is a valuable opportunity to work with Carnegie staff and researchers.

“You’re really doing groundbreaking work on international issues at the Carnegie Foundation and really having a voice and getting to really make an impact on how we understand some of the most pressing global issues today,” Smolin said.

While attending an alumni recruitment event on campus, Gelman met Sarah Geithner ’86, who has worked as an independent consultant for the United States Agency for International Development and the World Bank. Geithner then advised her to apply for the fellowship position, according to Gelman.

Geithner said she found that Gelman was “very open and showed impressive initiative.”

Now a double major in history and economics, Gelman said her previous internships in consulting and private equity led her to recognize that her interests lie in a more specialized field of economics.

“It took me a while to learn that economics doesn’t mean business,” she said. “Economics, the way it’s taught here at Dartmouth, is really more policy-oriented and big picture thinking.”

One source of her inspiration to pursue geoeconomics was a section of Economics 70, “The Transformation of Poland into a Market Economy,” in which she and her classmates traveled to Poland over the winter interim to study the effects of a market transition in Poland. The class gave her an understanding of how different policy solutions influenced different economic sectors, she said.

“My [application] essay was almost completely motivated by [the course],” she said. “We looked at education and labor markets, and so I used some of the research we did in the past, and then looked more into the relationship between universities and the labor market.”

Economics professor Elisabeth Curtis, who has had Gelman as a student in both Economics 70 and Economics 22, “Macroeconomics,” said that Gelman is an outgoing student whose enthusiasm shines through in teamwork.

“She will be well prepared for [the Fellowship’s research projects],” Curtis said.