You will learn to identify economic issues and problems, to form hypotheses and to gather and use data to test the hypotheses. You may get a chance to work as a research assistant with a faculty member and have collaborative work published in a professional journal.

Eren Shultz '15 in Tazania's Pare Mountains with board members of the Gonja Sub-Kume Water Cooperative.
Eren Shultz '15 in Tanzania's Pare Mountains with board members of the Gonja Sub-Kume Water Cooperative.

A student’s initiative: doing research in Africa

Eren Shultz ’15 spent part of a summer working with farmers in Tanzania for a project funded by a grant from Hamilton College. He is a double major in economics and geosciences who picked Hamilton in part for its flexible open curriculum. Through coursework, he zeroed in on economics, sustainable agricultural development and water.

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At the end of sophomore year, Shultz applied to Hamilton’s Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center for funding to do summer research. He wanted to study the potential for a scalable, cooperative agriculture model in Tanzania, where he once lived with his family. He was named a Levitt Research Fellow.

Before he got on a plane, Shultz found an initial contact online, through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. The farmer met him at the airport, introduced him to other farmers and acted as interpreter. In return, Shultz worked at his benefactor’s farm. All told, Shultz interviewed 82 farmers, visited 12 villages and studied eight cooperative organizations. He also met with businessmen, teachers, government workers and a secretariat at the World Bank.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but it turned out to be great,” Shultz says.

Byssainthe-Loubens Theork '06 working in Haiti.
Byssainthe-Loubens Theork '06 working in Haiti.

A graduate’s goal: making change back home

Byssainthe-Loubens Theork ’06 is a senior manager at Fidelity Investments who is working on a long-term plan – returning to his native Haiti to foster development and launch a political career. Theork majored in economics and world politics at Hamilton College with Haiti in mind.

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Theork says he dedicated himself to Haiti’s development at age 14, before he and his family moved to the U.S. He says he created a program to bring kids together across economic lines to study, build friendships and brainstorm about community issues.

After Hamilton, Theork earned a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Management.  He says his always-accessible Hamilton professors and the Posse Foundation helped him attain the knowledge and people skills he needed to pursue all his goals. The Posse Scholars Program identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by the traditional college selection process.

In 2010, Theork received the foundation’s Ainslie Alumni Achievement Award, given each year to a Posse alumna or alumnus “who has demonstrated incredible leadership and success while giving back to the world.”