Princeton Students Visit Washington

April 30, 2024

On Monday, Apr 29, 2024 twenty-five JRCPPF undergraduates traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with a host of Princeton alumni and learn about the range of economic and finance policy careers in the Federal government and the public sector.

This was the first Washington, D.C. policy trip organized by the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy & Finance at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and co-sponsored by the Bendheim Center for Finance.

The day included insightful conversations with policymakers, both career civil servants and political appointees, from the Congressional Budget Office, Treasury Department, and Commerce Department, as well as alumni working on economic policy issues at think-tanks and foundations.

In preparation for this trip, students did background research on the organizations and speakers and developed extensive talking points for a day of substantive discussion and networking.

The first meeting with staff at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offered an overview of the office’s work and its role in developing independent, nonpartisan cost analyses to support the legislative process for both houses of Congress. Michael Falkenheim ‘93, the CBO’s senior advisor for financial studies, and Cornelia Hall ‘10, the principal analyst for Federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, were the speakers. Economics undergraduates Shirley Ren ‘24 and Sydney Pargman ‘24 moderated.

Following the CBO meeting, students convened for lunch at the SPIA office in D.C. and informal conversations with several Princeton alumni working in Treasury.  After lunch, the bus transported the group to the Herbert Hoover Building, home of the Department of Commerce.

The distinguished panel at the Commerce Department included international trade specialist Christine Gomes ‘10, John Cobau ‘89, lead attorney and chief counsel for international commerce, and Grant Harris *05, assistant secretary of commerce for industry and analysis, all at the International Trade Administration; and Thea Kendler ‘96, assistant secretary for export administration at the Bureau of Industry and Security. Economics undergraduate Benjamin Cai ‘24 moderated the discussion. The speakers described their individual career trajectories from Princeton to the public sector, as well as the multi-faceted activities of the Commerce Department in implementing national economic and trade policies.

Zach Vertin *13, director of initiatives for SPIA in Washington D.C. and lecturer in public and international affairs kicked off the final panel of the day about economic policy related careers at think-tanks and foundations. The panel featured three speakers: David Mitchell *12, senior fellow at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth; Bunmi Otegbade *19, social entrepreneur and senior director at Ashoka Foundation; and Mayu Takeuchi ‘23, research assistant at the Brookings Institution. JRCPPF associate director Pallavi Nuka *04 moderated the conversation. The day concluded with a dinner reception that gave students further opportunity to network and engage with Princeton alumni.


News Category