Senior Fellow Sophia Wang Takes on the German Political Crisis
Over her four years at Hamilton, Sophia Wang has done it all. With classes in math, history, languages, economics, and art, Wang’s liberal arts education sparked her passion for independent research and eventually led her down the path toward a Senior Fellowship.
“I’m a very independent worker and I love to immerse myself in everything that I do,” she said. “With the freedom and flexibility of a senior fellowship, I knew I could pursue what I was really excited about.”
Majors: Mathematics and World Politics
Hometown: Beijing City, China
And also: Mathletics team, QSR tutor, Hamilton Program in Washington , D.C., Ashoka U.
Although Wang has a broad background in her studies, she has a particular interest in world politics. Her love for German language, politics, literature, and culture led her to take on a project examining Germany’s unstable political and economic relationship with the United States and China.
“I’m originally from China and I’ve taken German for two years, so my interest in how these regions interact came naturally to me. The fellowship was a great opportunity to go deeper in this area,” she said.
Her fellowship, “Sino German Relationships: Economic Interests or Ideological Differences,” began as an Emerson project, but she soon realized that what she wanted to explore went beyond the scope of a regular senior thesis.
“I pursued a fellowship because of the depth of the topic,” she explained. “I started out by thinking about the U.S., European Union, and China, but they’re all complicated political entities with different national interests. I love having the time to take on a complicated project and go deeper than I would with just a class.”
Despite its primacy within the European Union, Germany is facing an economic dilemma. The trade conflict between the U.S. and China—two of Germany’s largest trade partners—is just one part of the growing political crisis.
With the help of her advisors Henry Platt Bristol Professor of International Affairs Alan Cafruny and Assistant Professor of Government Alexsia Chan, Wang aims to write a paper examining Germany’s role in a global context. Her project seeks to shed light on the nature of German power and revisit the “German question:” What does a rise of German power mean for the E.U. and the world, especially in this changing political landscape?
When Wang isn’t grappling with the complexities of Germany’s political and economic policies, she turns to her other passion to relax. As a double major in world politics and math, she considers mathematics a lifelong hobby and an important part of her life. “Whenever I’m stressed out or overwhelmed with my work, I know I can always do some math problems to relax myself,” she said.
After graduation, Wang is considering graduate school, as well as possibly teaching at a university. “Regardless of what I do, I’d like to go to the U.K. for a while and get closer to Europe,” she said. “I want to be closer to my research and immerse myself in the culture.”
When it comes to her experience, Wang encourages students with their own strong passion and motivation to take the opportunity to deepen their knowledge with a senior fellowship. “I was fascinated by this idea that you can pursue something for yourself, not for your class or a thesis or a requirement. Ultimately, it’s for yourself and your own interests.”