Student Spotlight: Akshat Gautam
1. What is your year and major at UT?
I am a sophomore and Economics and Mathematics double major.
2. How long have you been in IPD and how did you hear about the organization? Are you part of a specific team within IPD?
I joined IPD my freshman year, and have been here for the past 3 semesters. Being extremely interested in getting a research opportunity, I was actively looking for avenues for getting involved. That is when I heard about IPD from one of my professors. I am in the Governance and Development team, as well as the Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia (CEPSA) team.
3. What is the most rewarding part of contributing and being an active member of IPD? Have you faced any challenges while working in IPD?
Being able to work closely with such motivated students and professors is definitely the most rewarding part of IPD. That has expanded my knowledge about the developmental work being done around the world. The most challenging part at first was finding the right balance between IPD and studies. But the benefits and the amount I learn at IPD provide something that a classroom education can never provide, which makes it worth the effort.
4. How does your work with IPD relate to your career goals?
I wish to go to graduate school and eventually work in the developmental economics field. Thus it is essential that I make good use of my time at UT and gain as much knowledge and experience as I can about the field. Fortunately, IPD has given me the perfect opportunity to do so.
Working with the Governance team, collecting and analyzing data to find the existence of clientelism in Honduras, has expanded my knowledge about developmental politics. Meanwhile the CEPSA team gives me an important insight into the realm of global aid tracking and analysis, and also the limitations that come with it.
5. What are your hopes for the rest of this school year?
The hope is definitely to come up with a publication-worthy article for the Governance team, now that we have gone through the hard part of finding and cleaning up the data!
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