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Spotlighted Student: Sarah Gilarsky, 2010


In her final collegiate match, Economics major Sarah Gilarsky ‘10 secured a win at the number one position for Haverford’s squash team. She has played for the team since freshman year and spent the last year as a co-captain. Coach Damon Leedale-Brown, who was the squash coach at the time, made a big and lasting impression on her, as did the Haverford female students with whom she did an overnight when visiting the college. As an early decision applicant, Sarah selected Haverford because of the friendly, caring atmosphere, and the strong feeling of community. A Haverford highlight has been the Honor Code, which has thoroughly fulfilled her expectations, providing her with a platform from which to learn and grow academically and personally.

Sarah explored biology and political science before settling on Economics as her major with a minor in History of Art. Courses that stand out and influenced her decision to major in Economics include Introduction to Macroeconomics with Professor Ghosh and its connection and application to many everyday situations. Prof. Banerjee’s Economics of Transition & Euro Adoption in Central and Eastern Europe also offered a stimulating perspective on the thought process of the re-structuring of Eastern Europe. In the fall of 2009 Sarah spent the semester in Milan, Italy through the IES Abroad Program. There she took Political Economics at the Bocconi Universita that approached social aspects of economics in a refreshing and engaging manner.

Other courses that have left lasting impressions include a Bryn Mawr College (BMC) History of Art class on Contemporary Art with Dorothea Dietrich, and BMC Prof. Martha Easton’s course on Medieval Art. HC’s Prof. Anne McGuire’s religion course on Early Christianity delved into how religion has helped to shape civilizations across the world, a topic she didn’t know she would like so much.

Sarah has had interesting and diverse internship experiences. At the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland she assisted with case in-takes, answering the complaint phone-line, and researching disputes dealing with race discrimination. As a rising junior she supported Dan Rodrick’s Midday NPR radio show (WYPR) in Maryland, where she became acquainted with some exciting and famous people. For instance, she had the honor of meeting Olympia Dukakis and Lewis Black. An even more memorable day was Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s visit to Dan Rodrick’s studio, just days before her indictment for misappropriating gift cards intended for poor families. Sarah had a variety of tasks at this job including booking guests, writing guest introductions, researching topics and compiling notes and questions for the host. A highlight was Sarah’s own on-air show on factory tours and interesting museums. As nervous as she was doing it, it remains one of her most memorable experiences.

Last summer Sarah secured an internship at the Jim Kempner Fine Art gallery in Chelsea, New York, working with its collection of contemporary sculpture and master prints. Sarah learned about handling, hanging, displaying, packaging and shipping fine art. Sarah also assisted a free-lance curator in setting up an exhibition.

Having traveled through Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam she has witnessed explosive growth, breathtaking wealth and heartbreaking poverty. It was through travel that she became interested in Asian development, shaping her choice of a thesis. Her initial focus looked at the impact of Chinese growth on South East Asian low-technology manufacturing. But there were complications with obtaining data from some of the developing countries. The inspiration for her final topic came during a trip to Egypt over winter break this year. In speaking with Egyptian locals she found that one of the greatest changes in Egypt over the last ten years has been the age at which women get married. This change has led Egyptian families to have significantly fewer children. Sarah then began wondering if the same thing was happening in Asia. With the help of Professor Jilani she chose to do her thesis on the role of growth on this change in marital patterns in Asia.

Her thesis topic is an analysis of the impact of economic growth and structural change on the age of marriage for women in East, South, and Southeast Asia. She is analyzing how growth affects the social welfare of women and children as later marriage is associated with greater choice of spouse, improved health of women and children, better living conditions and higher levels of education.

Following graduation Sarah would like to find employment in policy, research or analysis so she can utilize her economics, public policy, and international relations education.  She plans to amass experience before applying to graduate schools for business, policy or economics.

The Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College houses 12-inch and 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which are actively used by students in Haverford astronomy classes.

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