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2 ASU honors students nominated for prestigious James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship

February 01, 2024

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement at Arizona State University has announced that two students have been nominated for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship.

The nominees are political science major Rishab Chatty and economics major Jordan Miller. Both nominees are seniors in Barrett, The Honors College.

With headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a nonpartisan international affairs think tank that was founded in 1910 by Andrew Carnegie with the purpose of advancing international engagement and cooperation between the United States and countries around the world.

Each year, through the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows program, the Carnegie Endowment selects 15 junior fellows from a national applicant pool. The junior fellows then work as paid research assistants to Carnegie’s senior scholars in Washington, D.C. Each participating college or university may nominate up to two students or recent graduates per year.

Portrait of ASU student Rishab Chatty.
Rishab Chatty

To earn the ASU nomination, Chatty and Miller both went through a rigorous process that required them to submit a resume, two application essays, an unofficial transcript and two letters of recommendation.

“Once they are selected as nominees, our candidates also write and revise numerous drafts of the application essays,” said Kyle Mox, associate dean for national scholarships and campus representative for the program. “The application process is no light task, given the incredible competitiveness for this prestigious opportunity.”

Approximately 5% of applicants are ultimately selected for positions. Applications are judged on the quality of the written essay, related academic study and work experience, grades, recommendations and personal interviews.

The James C. Gaither Junior Fellows program is intended for students who aspire to high-level careers in international affairs. Applicants identify one of 12 program areas in which they hope to work, including democracy, conflict and government; American statecraft, global order and institutions; and sustainability, climate and geopolitics.

While at the Carnegie Endowment headquarters, the fellows provide research assistance to scholars working within Carnegie’s programs and have the opportunity to conduct research, contribute to op-eds, papers, reports and books, edit documents, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony and organize briefings attended by scholars, activists, journalists and government officials.

In his career, Chatty, an experienced policy analyst and research assistant, hopes to help make academic literature and research easier for the public to access and understand.

Portrait of ASU student Jordan Miller.
Jordan Miller

“Think tanks like the Carnegie Endowment provide a valuable opportunity for policy practitioners and academics to collaborate and produce policy backed by research. It is this type of collaboration that I am interested in contributing to throughout my career,” he said.

Chatty said the research experiences he’s had at ASU led him to pursue the Gaither Fellowship.

“I found the numerous research opportunities for undergraduate students to be extremely helpful in driving my interest in academic and policy research,” he said, adding that he conducted research with faculty including Lenka Bustikova, Kathleen Vogel and Daniel Rothenberg while at ASU.

“I owe Dr. Rothenberg, in particular, thanks for facilitating an internship at New America over the summer of 2023. This experience helped me learn a lot about the think tank world and has contributed significantly to my interest in working at the Carnegie Endowment.”

Miller, who has worked as a research assistant at ASU and as a U.S. congressional intern, said he was drawn to the Gaither Fellows program because of its wide and far-reaching scope and research.

“I have worked in policy research at many levels of government, whether local or national, so I was excited to apply for a position which would allow me to think more globally,” he said.

“Gaither promises to give me access to some of the smartest policy minds in the world and the opportunity to actually work with them,” he added.

Miller said he’s especially interested in understanding systems for solving the climate change crisis and how they affect policy. If chosen for the Gaither Fellowship, he hopes to focus on these questions and take that knowledge forward into his future career.

“Getting a chance to step back and analyze the entire climate policy ecosystem will be fundamental to eventually making policy which impacts key elements of that policy ecosystem,” he said.

Miller said two undergraduate experiences have prepared him to be a Gaither Fellow.

“First were my economics classes with Fernando Bertran and Eddie Schlee, two professors who challenged and pushed both my reasoning and math abilities. I think I am the researcher I am today because of the lessons I learned in their classes,” he said.

“Second I would point to the Arizona Legislature Internship run by Tara Lennon. It was in this position that I found a love for shaping and understanding policy, and it was also the place where I developed my perspective on how states must push for more robust climate justice in policy,” he added.

If chosen as finalists, they will advance to interviews in late February, with final selections announced by the end of March. If selected as junior fellows, they will relocate to Washington, D.C., and begin work at the Carnegie Endowment on Sept. 1 for a period of 10 to 12 months.

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