Samantha Carter ‘15

"Embrace economics! It is a challenging major, especially once you reach the higher-level classes like Microtheory, but it is entirely worth it. Economics will teach you how to understand the world in a completely new way, and that will set you up for a career in many different fields."

Samantha Carter recently graduated from Johns Hopkins with majors in Economics and International Studies, and a minor in Spanish Language and Culture. “Originally, I thought I would pursue an International Studies degree with a Math double major, but my first economics class completely changed my mind. I think economics is the best way to truly understand the world….. I’ve seen how flexible it is, and how it can be applied to areas far beyond money or finance.”
Samantha’s favorite classes have been the micro ones, especially Behavioral Economics and Game Theory. “In Behavioral Economics, we questioned classical utility-maximizing assumptions, read a variety of interesting studies, from the impact of soap operas on fertility rates to the optimal number of jams in a supermarket. Reading economics papers was one of the best skills I learned at Hopkins, and someday hope to be writing my own because of it! In Game Theory, we examined the huge negative impacts that can arise from incomplete information. One of the most important things I’ve started to learn is how to translate very specific economics jargon into words that are intelligible and interesting to the general population.”
At Hopkins, Samantha was a member of the Sirens all-female a cappella group, the Alpha Phi sorority, a Blue Key tour guide, and an Admissions Representative. She also taught inner-city high school students as a mentor in the non-profit initiative Thread.
Samantha is participating in the 5-year BA/MA SAIS program in D.C., and will graduate with a Master’s degree in International Economics, specializing in Development Microeconomics, and Latin American Studies. She used and extended her economics skills by interning at the renowned Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington D.C. She worked in the Migration, Remittances, and Development department of Inter-American Dialogue, a think-tank that promotes positive interaction throughout the Western Hemisphere. Her research included collecting and analyzing data to understand migration and remittance patterns, and providing policy solutions. She also had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant for the Applied Econometrics course at SAIS. Eventually, Samantha plans to purse a Ph.D in economics, and a career in development impact evaluation – directing resources to programs that will be most successful at eliminating poverty.
Samantha, do you have any advice for economics majors? “Embrace economics! It is a challenging major, especially once you reach the higher-level classes like Microtheory, but it is entirely worth it. Economics will teach you how to understand the world in a completely new way, and that will set you up for a career in many different fields. Review basic calculus before you take Micro and Macro Theory, and study with your friends, because discussion is the only way you’ll really understand the intuition behind the graphs and equations. Additionally, be aware of all the different paths you can take with your major; think about getting a PhD, going into finance, pursuing a consulting career, or working in development. Don’t let yourself get stuck on one path – see all the possible routes you can take in the future.”