Julia Gleason is a research intern at the United States Studies Centre.
What is your educational background?
I am a rising junior at Cornell University studying Applied Economics and Management with a minor in Spanish. I was drawn to this degree because I wanted to study economics but in a less theoretical manner, which is why I enjoy the applied nature of my major. I am passionate about education reform, and aspire to work in the field. This stemmed from my realisation about the disparity of public school quality depending on zip codes. I hope to use my degree to study the intersection of US economic and education policies. As for my minor, I am Puerto Rican, and the US has a rapidly growing Hispanic population, so I wanted to study Spanish to be able to communicate effectively in two languages.
What have you been working on in your time here at the USSC?
At the USSC I have had the chance to research US trade and investment policies in respect to Southeast Asia, China and Australia. I have also researched the factors that influence innovation in the US and Australia. This has complemented my studies because I have furthered my understanding of how trade and investment can stimulate or hurt economies, and what inputs can lead to innovative outputs. I enjoy learning about how the economy functions from a government perspective. In school, my classes pertain mostly to the business realm, so it has been fantastic to have an opportunity to study the policy side.
What is it like living in Sydney?
Living in Sydney has been wonderful. Since I go to school in Ithaca, New York, I expected living in a city to feel cramped and busy. However, Sydney has lovely open spaces, such as Darling Harbour, and lots of nature to explore that is only a train ride away, like the Blue Mountains or Bondi Beach. I love the ease of public transportation and the walkability of the city.
During my internship, I’ve learned a lot about how Australia’s lifestyle dividends attract people from all over the world, and after living here for just a few short weeks, I can attest to that. Sydney is unique in its diversity; you can eat noodles on one corner and tacos at the next. As a friend told me before I arrived, there’s no “typical” Australian. The best thing about the experience is definitely the people. Australians are kind, down to earth, and have a great sense of humor. At the USSC, people have expressed a genuine interest in getting to know the interns, and they have been willing to talk about their research, career paths and give thoughtful advice.
What do you hope to do with your experience from the USSC?
The research experience I have gained from interning at a research institution will provide a great foundation for my studies as I pursue graduate school. I am considering getting a master’s degree in education policy or going to law school. Having international work experience is something I have leveraged to secure an internship for next summer, especially as companies stress the importance of having a globalised perspective. After graduating, I plan on working in finance or marketing before going back to graduate school.