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Haverford College

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Spotlighted Student: Claire Perry '14

Haverford College’s Quaker roots appealed to Claire Perry ’14 because both her maternal and paternal grandparents are Quakers. When visiting the college she was especially drawn to Haverford’s focus on civic engagement, academic rigor, and community service as manifested through the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) and the College’s Honor Code.

Claire was raised on the New Jersey coast in Monmouth County, but when Claire left for college her family left for Seattle, Washington. She wasn’t sure how she was going to adjust to such a big move but Claire quickly became enamored with Washington State. She now takes full advantage of its beauty and all the outdoor activities it affords.

In high school Claire was partial to economics (AP Macro-economics), math, and environmental science. As such she opted to minor in Environmental Studies through the Tri-College Program. She is also majoring in Economics at Haverford. Claire enjoys the real world application of economics and its integration of mathematics, theories, and human behavior. Haverford Professor Shannon Mudd’s Micro-Finance course and the Econometrics class she took at Bryn Mawr College with Professor Renya Wasson emerge as high points. However, the Economic Integration of the European Union course that she took at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium during her junior semester abroad also shines through. Although there were 400 students in the class, the professor delivered mesmerizing lectures on how and why the European Union happened and how all their currencies were merged and aligned.

The summer following her freshmen year Claire served as an energy policy intern at the Michigan Land Use Institute in Traverse City through a CPGC partnership. Her primary role entailed investigating energy policies and the impact on renewable energy companies in Michigan. She also collected and organized data on energy efficiency in the surrounding ten county area.

With micro-finance being of particular interest to her, the summer following her sophomore year Claire was awarded a Whitehead Internship working for the Grameen Foundation, a spin-off of Grameen Bank, in their Seattle, WA office. Claire was able to go home to Seattle where she worked with the Development and Operations team learning the finesse of approaching donors and prospective backers. While there she worked to develop a program for donor research.

Through funding from the CPGC, this past summer Claire returned to Grameen’s Seattle location where she joined the Social Performance Management Team. She collaborated with the Progress out of Poverty Index, a program that helps organizations evaluate and track client poverty levels and well-being. The most rewarding component was having a chance to learn about social performance management and the other interesting areas where Grameen Foundation works.

For her thesis, Claire will be looking to see if there is a difference between vocational and educational programs in state prisons in terms of their impact on recidivism (return to the criminal justice system after release). Unlike other studies that look at this, she will be using a nationally representative data set from 1994 and will use econometric models to try and control for selection bias. It will be important to look at this as it is likely that people who choose to enroll in programs are more motivated and thus less likely to recede - or at least that is what the literature suggests. She will also look at "time until recidivism" to see if there are significant relationships between educational and vocational programs and how quickly one returns to prison.

A Haverford College project that she has been spearheading is the revamping of the former Microfinance Consulting Club. As Executive Director, she has refocused the mission of the newly named Carter Road Capital (named after the road on campus) to be more about lending in Philadelphia versus its prior mission of mapping and international research. The goal is to make successful loans to small businesses in the area by May 2014. To learn about the needs of small businesses, the club has been surveying (and mapping) in Philadelphia. They have been working with organizations in Philadelphia and New Brunswick to help learn from the experts.

She is also a member of the 180 Degrees Consulting Haverford College Chapter, a bi-college organization whose goal is to engage “undergraduates to create innovative, sustainable, and programmatic solutions for non-for-profit organizations dedicated to changing lives for the better”.

With so much of her work experience focusing on non-profits, Claire is interested in exploring for profit or government work after she graduates. Aspirations for a career include policy, consulting in economics and strategy, and perhaps business school.

Students cross in front of Founders Hall.

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