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Nina Tophoff ’21

Nina Tophoff ’21

Nina Tophoff decided that she wanted to study at Hopkins because of the flexible curriculum, allowing her to explore her own interests. She loved how many people at Hopkins were able to pursue more than one major. “When I visited campus for the first time, I thought it was absolutely beautiful and the students I met were so friendly! Lastly, I really wanted to attend university in a city, and I have loved being in Baltimore and being close to DC.” Nina majored in international studies and economics with a minor in history.

Why economics? “In the spring of my freshman year, one of my best friends convinced me to take the Introductory Microeconomics course with her. I did not have any prior background in economics, so I was really surprised at how much I ended up enjoying the class. I officially decided to make economics my major after seeing how much it complemented international studies, and how relevant it is to policy.”

Nina took several policy-related economics classes at Hopkins, applying theoretical models to the real world. “One of my favorite classes was Professor Papageorge’s class, “Social Policy Implications of Behavioral Economics.” In that class I looked at economics from an entirely new perspective and was exposed to interesting new research in the field of behavioral economics. More generally, I was able to significantly improve my math and analytical skills by majoring in economics, especially through classes such as Econometrics. I gained a lot of insight about the far-reaching economic impact of policy decisions at both a national and international level.”

Nina was head of the Financial Committee for the Economics Club, planning initiatives to bring the Hopkins economics community closer together. She was also involved in international studies-related extracurricular activities, such as the Alexander Hamilton Society and European Horizons.

Nina has explored several different internship opportunities. In fall 2019, she interned at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, researching transatlantic economic and trade policy.  In spring 2021, she completed a virtual internship with the State Department at the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, focusing on money laundering and labor trafficking in the Caribbean region. Immediately after graduation, Nina will be working at the House of Representatives, where she hopes to gain hands-on experience in the legislative process. In the fall she will pursue a Master’s in International Relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. 

Ultimately, Nina plans to pursue a career in the foreign service, as an economic officer with the Department of State. Nina moved from the Netherlands to New York with her family when she was seven years old. “As an immigrant, I am eager to serve my country as a diplomat and I am really excited for the chance to travel in my career!”  

Nina suggests that economics majors participate in PILOT (Peer-Led Team Learning) when taking the Introductory Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses. “It will give you a great opportunity to meet other people taking the class and to really understand the concepts you are learning.  I also really enjoyed the lunch series Reality Roundtable in the spring of sophomore year. It was a great experience to discuss current economic policy with faculty in an informal environment, with free food!”