Third-year Economics & Political Science undergrad, Kristen Kelley, selected as 2018 recipient of the Diane C. Swonk Scholarship
Established by its double-alum-namesake (AB ’84 & AM ’85), the Diane C. Swonk Scholarship is awarded each year to an undergraduate student majoring in Economics. This year, the recipient is third-year Kristen Kelley.
In the summer following her first year at U-M, intending to major solely in Political Science, Kristen found herself drawn to Economics after taking the introductory course sequence (Econ 101 & 102). Having thought it would be important to gain a basic knowledge of economics to use towards her goals of working in public service, Kristen had not expected to fall in love with the unique set of skills practising economics requires.
Kristen appreciated how economists used calculus and other analytical approaches to solve problems, but did not discount innovation and creativity in those solutions. It excited her how useful and critical economics can be to a myriad of fields—from health to development to politics and more. As someone who already had an appreciation for math and a strong interest in tackling (and producing creative solutions to) “real-world” issues, Kristen decided majoring in Economics, in addition to Political Science, would provide her with the skills necessary to reach her goals—whatever they may develop into—because they are so overarching and applicable to virtually any area of work or study.
Receiving this scholarship gives Kristen the assurance that the Department of Economics and its alumnae are invested in the continued success of students
Looking forward, Kristen hopes to use her Economics and Political Science degrees to work towards easing inequalities experienced globally as well as lessen the concentration of extreme poverty found in some developing countries. She hopes to utilize her economics background to produce plans that aid countries with limited budgets as well as optimize the resources and assets they already possess.
A busy student, Kristen participates in several organizations on campus, including working as a manager for MTelefund, an organization that raises money for students at the University. Kristen is also involved in the Michigan Foreign Policy Executive Board, the Women’s Organization on Rights to Health (WORTH), and the honor fraternity Phi Sigma Pi. With the help of this scholarship, Kristen will be able to focus on her academics and extra-curriculars rather than how she can fund her education. It will also provide her the freedom to do an internship this upcoming summer without worrying about finding a paid job to support her through it.
Receiving this scholarship gives Kristen the assurance that the Department of Economics and its alumnae are invested in the continued success of students interested in Economics by providing support and guidance along the way. She is thankful for the opportunities it will provide her, and excited to get started.