This summer, Eric Sohn, SIS/CAS ’11, has migrated north.
The international relations and economics double major is spending seven all-expenses-paid weeks at University of Michigan for the Public Policy and International Affairs Program’s Junior Summer Institute. The program is sponsored by a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship, which will also fund a portion of Sohn’s graduate studies. While in Ann Arbor, Sohn will study quantitative methods, economics, and policy analysis.
Sohn has been at the program for a couple of weeks, and already he has taken hours of intensive classes, including the equivalent to a semester’s worth of economics courses. “I came here thinking I would take only policy-related classes, but we’re actually taking economics and calculus every day,” says Sohn. “Economics and math are crucial to graduate programs in public policy and I am glad I am getting a taste of it as an undergrad.”
In addition to the math and economics, he is taking courses on urban policy analysis, U.S. response to terrorism, and policy writing. The classes are intense, and his fellow students are extremely motivated when it comes to their studies. “It’s very inspiring,” says Sohn. “They’re driving me to study and do my best.”
PPIA participants also attend weekly guest lectures presented by important figures in the policy community, such as Sean Jones, director of USAID’s Office of Economic Growth in Iraq. The group is also taking short day trips, including a recent excursion to the nearby city of Flint, where students met with the town’s mayor to talk development and policy.
The program, which aims to prepare minority students for graduate study in public service, is an ideal match for Sohn’s research interests. He has held internships at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, the Korean Embassy, and the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins, and he has a profound interest in free trade agreements, North Korean human rights, and US-Korean relations.