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Urban Research With Brookings


While abroad last academic year with Hamilton in France, Samuel Alderson ’21 experienced living in a city for the first time. He also had the chance to meet with many of the guests who visited the home of his host family. Among them was an urban planner, whose conversation piqued Alderson’s interest in urban research.

These two factors ultimately helped Alderson solidify his plans to pursue a summer internship in urban policy. After all, it would be a natural combination of his experience in Paris and his study of economics on College Hill. He applied and was accepted at the Brookings Institution, the prestigious Washington, D.C.-based organization that provides research, policy recommendations, and analysis on a range of public policy issues.   

About Samuel Alderson ’21

Majors: Economics and French  

Hometown: Ardmore, Pa.

High School: Haverford Senior High School  

read about other summer internships 

At Brookings, Alderson works within the Metropolitan Policy Program, a research division that focuses on analyzing how policies impact U.S. cities. Because Brookings is a non-profit, researchers must source funding to carry out their work, which is where Alderson comes in. He spends most his time researching prospective funders and editing grant reports, proposals, and agreements. For example, to assist one researcher studying racial equality, Alderson identified companies that have recently committed to promoting racial justice.

“I’ve been doing a lot of self-learning,” said Alderson, who acknowledges that understanding others’ research projects, and helping translate and connect them to potential funders, has taught him about both policy and communicating.

Moreover, Alderson appreciates the networking opportunities that his internship offers. “Because Brookings is such a huge organization, I have access to a lot of people who might have something to do with urban policy or even beyond that, foreign policy or government, which are tangentially interests of mine,” he said.

Although Alderson does not know what career path he will ultimately pursue after graduation, he knows that his interests lie in urban studies, and he’s eager to see where that takes him.

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