Mark Walker, a junior majoring in Russian studies, economics, and mathematics, has recently been awarded the prestigious Beinecke Scholarship, which he plans to put toward a graduate program in economics.
The Beinecke Scholarship is an award given to students with exceptional academic achievements who plan to enter a research-focused master’s or doctoral program in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Beinecke scholars receive $4,000 immediately before attending graduate school and another $30,000 while in attendance. After completing their undergraduate degree, the scholars are encouraged to seek graduate-level education as soon as possible and use their funds within five years.
Walker applied for an internal nomination and was selected as a finalist for the Beinecke scholarship. After getting selected, he completed an external application directly to the Beinecke Foundation and was later awarded the scholarship.
“I found out about Beinecke through Oberlin's Fellowships and Awards office, which is a very good resource for folks who are looking to get funding for graduate study or for doing after Oberlin abroad programs such as Fulbright.”
At Oberlin, Walker has participated in student research with several faculty members. He has worked alongside professors John Duca, Evan Kresch, and Henrique Veras in the economics department, and he has studied the politics of Russian labor alongside Professor of Politics Steven Crowley. Under the mentorship of Kresch, Walker is currently writing a development economics research paper about sanitation and taxation in Brazil.
“I really like international trade issues and international economics in general, but specifically I love trade issues. I did some trade-related consulting as part of Politics 411, which is basically a course that is also a small consulting group with the students working as analysts. For macro, I did some trade studies, and then this semester I'm also working on some trade-related research because it's what I really like.”
Walker wants to focus on international economics in graduate school, though he has yet to commit to a specific sub focus.
“I definitely want to do something with econometrics because I love statistical methods. I really like the idea of trying to find new ways to get better identification of what's happening in observational data that we observe. It makes me excited because this is the frontier of statistics, and the better the statistics the better knowledge we can get from this observational data mess that we work with in a lot of the social sciences and to an extent, some of the natural sciences.”
Walker is grateful to have won the scholarship and excited to see what the future holds.
“Knowing that I have external funding before actually applying to grad school is a big relief. It helps me feel reassured that I'll be able to afford grad school, and it sends a strong signal to the institutions that I'm a decent candidate. I think that scholarships are a good opportunity and I would recommend applying for folks who are really passionate about wanting to do something that requires graduate education.”
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