Mohit Agrawal '11

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Name: Mohit Agrawal
Job: Economics graduate student at the National University of Ireland, Galway
Current City: Galway, Ireland
School: Princeton - Class of 2011
Major: Mathematics
Social Media:

LinkedIn Profile, Twitter

At Princeton

I was attracted to Princeton in part by the strong opportunities the University provides to students to undertake service. Thus, while tossing around hypothetical basketballs for Integrated Science problem sets freshman year, I was also working with Engineers Without Borders on starting up a new project in Ghana. That project formed the crux of my service experience at Princeton, and the crux of my learning experience. Leading the Ghana School Library Initiative taught me teamwork, leadership, and time management skills. It forced me to navigate bureaucracy and write fundraising appeals. I learned to calculate compressive forces on a wall, to read a rebar schedule, and to mix concrete. And perhaps most importantly, I learned about the needs and demands of development while on the ground, during two visits to Ghana. Indeed, Jane Yang '11 and I thought that the lessons learned in EWB were both unique and important enough that we should teach them directly to students; thus, as co-presidents of EWB, we started the Sustainability and Engineering Development Scholars program to help train EWB students.

Jane and I also both won Martin A. Dale '53 Summer Fellowships to pursue projects while spending our post-sophomore summer in Ghana. In my project, I worked with local high school students to produce twelve newsletters focused on local community issues. Later during my junior spring, I studied abroad at the National University of Singapore.

After Graduation

While EWB complemented my high school interest in engineering, it really forced me to reevaluate my interest in economics. I had always liked economics as a subject matter, but my experiences in EWB convinced me that I could and wanted to contribute to developmental economics. During my senior fall, then, I applied to fellowships and grad school with the aim of studying economics. I was lucky enough to win the Mitchell Scholarship, and I am studying economic policy in Ireland now. Next year, I will study economic development at Oxford on the Rhodes.


Advice for college seniors: Students interested in public service should take a serious look at applying to fellowships, including both experiential fellowships (PiA, PiAf, P55, etc.) and educational ones (Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Gates, Churchill, Fulbright, Sachs, etc.). These fellowships provide an opportunity of spending 1+ year abroad working or studying in your field of interest and are a great way to test out public service. Get an early start on the applications: March of junior year is not too early to start thinking about the application process. Although the rejections will outnumber the acceptances, simply working through the application process is worth it. You'll be forced to crystallize your own future goals, and often even if you don't get the fellowship you want, you'll know what you want to do post-graduation.


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