By Donovan Hambley ‘17
Major: Applied Mathematics
Hometown: Albany, Oregon
On my flight from Portland, Oregon I couldn’t imagine what was in store for me in Washington, D.C. working as an intern at the economics consulting firm Nathan Associates Inc.
I had connected with some Pacific alumni, one of whom was a former Nathan Scholar intern, in D.C. and was invited to brunch. I had valuable conversations about what to expect, what activities there are in Washington and which museums to visit (the answer was all of them).
I settled in quickly with the staff at Nathan Associates in the International Development Department. There are several sectors in which to work, and I had arrived without leaning in any particular direction. As I explored my options, I got a taste of work in economic policy, trade and logistics, and infrastructure.
I prepared documents for the Panama Canal Authority for its demand study. My studies at Pacific in empirical methods and econometrics prepared me to understand and assist in forecasting for that study. I was able to recognize the processes and strategies that went into the analysis, which then became a cost-benefit analysis for the expansion of the Panama Canal. My work with Stata and Excel in my classes were especially helpful.
I also sifted through budget speeches and annual reports to collect information from Nepal’s Ministry of Finance about their historical data on revenue, expenditure, and audits to be presented for a dashboard. I also reviewed the Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) Dashboard that compared 12 countries’ economic data, including revenue and expenditure statistics, tax structure and corruption indices.
The other Nathan Scholar, Sarah Jenkins, worked with me to research African Growth and Opportunity Act-eligible products in Mozambique. We collected data on demand for them in the United States and drew comparisons on which products should be prioritized for increased production. We then looked at the constraints of the transportation logistics for these items, specifically in the Nacala corridor in the northern part of Mozambique, and wrote a report on our findings. Several of the Nathan senior staff are now abroad in the Nacala corridor putting our report to use.
While in D.C., I had a couple friends visit from Pacific and was able to show them around a bit. I spent the Fourth of July on the National Mall with another Pacific student, also here for an internship, and had a blast watching the fireworks over the Washington Monument.
I’ve been able to visit several of the Smithsonian museums and other galleries of art and history, and my favorite is the Natural History Museum. I also tried Ethiopian food for the first time while here, and now try to get it as much as I can.
I connected with a distant relative who helped me find a beautiful row house in Georgetown. I lived with a retired couple. The wife was a staffer of the Department of Agriculture and the husband was a policy adviser for the Federal Communications Commission. They also hosted a University of Florida finance student who was interning in DC. They helped broaden my network in Washington.
I have seen the limitless opportunity in economic consulting, especially international development, with evident impact in developing countries around the world. Its close partnerships with institutions such as World Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) create a healthy dynamic for elevating standards of living, infrastructure and policy. By working at Nathan on a wide-variety of projects, I’ve recognized these projects provide concrete and tangible results that affect the daily lives of others. I find this so invigorating, and this work gives me purpose.
I was urged to apply for positions in the international development and litigation departments to continue providing on a quantitative capacity for Nathan, and while my future is unclear, I know the past summer has been a rewarding experience. I want to thank the economics department at Pacific for nominating me for this internship and Dr. John Beyer for being a sponsor of the Nathan Scholar program which allowed me to come to D.C. and work with the brightest and best in economic consulting.