Internships Connect Students to Careers in Policy and Finance

Sunday, Jan 5, 2020

Since 2014 JRCPPF’s summer internship program has supported undergraduates who want to pursue an unpaid opportunity in the areas of financial markets and public policy either in the U.S. or abroad. In summer 2019, JRCPPF supported six students working in government agencies, think-tanks, and international development organizations. The summer internships helped students hone their economics and finance policy skills, grow their professional networks, and gain valuable professional experience. The opportunity is open to all of the Center’s undergraduate associates. We will be accepting applications for this year beginning in March 2020. The experience of students below shows that it is a great way to explore careers at the intersection of finance, economics, and public policy.

Bradley Spicher ’20 spent his summer in NYC at the Commerce Department’s division of International Trade Administration. He worked with small and medium-sized New York-based trading companies to match them with importers abroad and guide them through United Nations procurement processes and the licensing process of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. He also helped prepare briefs on how provisions in the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement would affect small companies’ intellectual property rights in international trade. This research was referenced in a speech given to New Yorkers by Commerce Secretary Ross and was referenced by the Department’s leadership in trade negotiations. As an Economics major, Spicher has a longstanding in trade, the topic of both his Junior independent work and his Senior thesis. After graduation, he plans to continue working on economic policy issues as a junior associate in Deloitte’s public agencies division.

Kyle Zelenitz ’21 also interned with the Commerce Department’s division of International Trade Administration but was based in the Export Assistance Center in Baltimore. He assisted the Global Markets team in formulating and executing export strategies for small- and medium-sized enterprises. He researched how to value and classify trade-barrier prevention and removal efforts and analyzed how to best allocate resources to support Global Markets’ international expansion strategy. He also assisted with Select USA’s Annual Investment Summit, which convenes hundreds of international and domestic firms to explore opportunities for foreign direct investment in the United States. Zelenitz, a Politics major, noted that several governors and cabinet secretaries were present at the summit, making it a uniquely rewarding event at the intersection of public policy and international finance. “The internship allowed me to experience government service, attend discussions with outside experts, and, more generally, to learn from trade experts at a time of systemic uncertainty,” he reflected.

Madeline Song ’21 interned in the SEC’s Student Honors Internship Program in the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA) under the Office of Corporate Finance. DERA is the SEC’s internal “think-tank” providing analysis and expertise on a variety of policy issues. Song contributed to multiple research projects from analyzing the effects of common ownership and its effect on financial markets, to charting the trends of analysts’ coverage of companies pre- and post-IPOs. She also worked on a DERA-wide economic analysis for the Commission’s new rule on shareholder voting rights and an independent research project on Chinese direct investment in the United States. During the program, Song said she observed Commission meetings and discussions around proposed rules that helped her better understand the policymaking process. The internship also gave her the opportunity to “learn from and collaborate with leading economists, analysts, and lawyers throughout the SEC.” She said, “I was able to delve deeper into policy- and finance-driven questions with the skills and knowledge I gained during my internship and apply my economics education at Princeton to projects with positive, real-world implications.”

Leland Domaratsky ‘22 was also accepted to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s the Student Honors Internship Program. He assisted staff in the Division of Trading and Markets’ 17H Broker-Dealer Risk Assessment Program, which monitors broker-dealers and identifies patterns of risk at both an industry and firm levels. Over the summer his responsibilities included looking over the financial disclosures of firms and notifying SEC staff of concerning patterns as well as pulling Bloomberg Terminal data on a variety of important market developments. Reflecting on his summer experience, Domaratsky noted “I might read something in the Wall Street Journal during my commute and later that day, I would assist staff in writing a memo about the matter. It showed me how active the role of a regulator is. I felt I was one of the “players” making up the news cycle that week.” While he has not yet declared his major, Domaratsky is interested in public policy and economics and is pursuing a certificate in finance.

Colin Moffet ‘21, an Economics major pursuing certificates in German and Finance, spent his summer at the ifo Institute of the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich. As a research assistant, he contributed to several economic research projects. One project looked at the effect of homeownership on credit access for individuals and families in south-eastern Europe. He also helped draft a paper investigating the democratic transition in Post-Soviet countries and created a series of charts and maps to visualize the shifts in various political indicators across time, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to its 30th anniversary in 2019. That paper was published in the quarterly, ifo DICE Report.

Pamella Sebeza ’21 interned at One Acre Fund Rwanda, an agricultural social enterprise working in several countries across Africa to help farmers achieve their full potential. In Rwanda, One Acre Fund provides farmers with education, finance, seed and fertilizer to increase yield and market access. In her position as an intern in the government relations team, Sebeza focused on enhancing the performance and value of One Acre Fund Rwanda vis-à-vis the Government of Rwanda. She supported the design and implementation of social media campaigns about the distribution of seeds and fertilizers to farmers, prepared reports and presentations for the organization, and helped organize an annual conference that brought together high-level domestic and international figures. A Politics major, Sebeza is pursuing a certificate in African Studies. Reflecting on the experience, she noted that she now has a deeper understanding of how the organization operates and the challenges it faces in boosting smallholder productivity.