Career Journey: What inspired you to pursue your current career path, and how has your journey unfolded over time?

My path into social science research was driven by a deep-rooted desire to support and uplift others. As a kid, I wanted to be a doctor to save lives, a lawyer to speak for the voiceless, and a philosopher to understand the world around me…all at the same time. As I searched for my path in college, I discovered that my strengths in writing and research could serve as powerful tools in this mission. This revelation steered me toward a career where I could employ these skills through qualitative storytelling grounded in ethical responsibility. Along the way, I’ve grappled with imposter syndrome, a common challenge that many face, but few talk about. Despite this, I’ve continually pushed myself out of my comfort zone, leading to profound personal and professional growth.

Professional Achievements: Can you share a specific accomplishment or project that you’re particularly proud of in your career? How did you overcome challenges and contribute to its success?

My career has been marked by several fulfilling experiences that have significantly shaped my journey. Outside of the practical skills I have gained in my current and previous research positions, interning for the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) exposed me to global diplomacy and the intricacies of international relations. As a Civic Leadership Fellow for ISBLI and a Peacebuilding Fellow for the Middlebury Institute, I’ve had the privilege of working on initiatives that promote peace and understanding. My time as a Bastiat Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University further honed my research skills, allowing me to contribute to important policy discussions. Teaching English in Korea and serving in the Peace Corps were not just professional assignments; they were life-changing experiences that overwhelmed me with growth, teaching me invaluable lessons about the world and myself.

Mentorship and Advice: Reflecting on your own experiences, what advice would you give to other women aspiring to excel in your field or industry? Have you had any mentors who played a significant role in your professional development?

To those aspiring to make a difference in the field of social science research, or any field for that matter, my advice is to approach every situation with an open mind and heart. When we are patient and kind with ourselves, we will naturally extend this to others. Also, I think it’s crucial to approach conflicts from a place of understanding rather than a desire to be “right.” We often default to picking “sides” without an adequate understanding of what’s happening, and this can blind us from finding common ground. Our interconnected world requires us to work collaboratively, recognizing that we have all the resources we need to create positive change when we come together. This philosophy of cooperation, mutual respect, and leading with empathy has been central to my life approach, both professionally and personally, and I believe it’s a fundamental principle that can guide us toward a more compassionate and inclusive world.