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International Political Economy


Katherine Schlinder ’15

Class Year



International Political Economy, Spanish, Economics

Current home

Geneva, Switzerland

Current position

Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Development Studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland

By the time Katherine Schlinder graduated from Carthage in 2015, she was already quite accomplished. She had successfully completed three majors: international political economy, economics, and Spanish. She had studied abroad during J-Terms in Guatemala, China, Nicaragua, and Peru. She had performed in the Carthage Wind Orchestra, and was the recipient of a Music Scholarship, Hay Scholarship, the Merle and Eunice Boyer Social Science Scholarship, and the Carthage College Faculty Honor Scholarship.

But for Ms. Schlinder, Carthage was just a great start. She is now living in Geneva, Switzerland, pursuing a master’s degree in development studies with the goal of working in international development. 

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“As a graduate student, I love challenging myself to expand my conceptualizations of different issues and to approach complex matters from a variety of perspectives. The Graduate Institute is truly an international environment, and I love that I am constantly learning new ideas from the other students at the Institute, even if it’s during a coffee break. Plus, being centrally located in Europe makes it that much easier to go out and experience the cultures and perspectives that we may talk about in class.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“Together with my study abroad experiences, the interdisciplinary nature of my studies at Carthage truly helped prepare me to tackle international development from a more nuanced perspective. My combination of international political economy, economics, and Spanish gave me the necessary quantitative and qualitative skills to further grow and expand my experiences through my academic and consulting projects in my current graduate program.

“I then was able to apply much of what I learned through study tours around the world and this helped solidify my interest in development and my current field.

“Additionally, the advising and recommendations from my faculty advisers, Art Cyr, Ed Montanaro and Ron Cronovich were invaluable as I made decisions concerning undergraduate projects and ultimately in my final decision regarding graduate school. In conjunction with my studies, these faculty advisers encouraged me to pursue my interest in international development through international travel and research projects, and supported me through my process of finding and getting accepted into the graduate schools of my choice.”

How has your liberal arts education helped you?

“During my first semester of graduate school, I participated in a consulting/innovation workshop series and worked on a challenge focused on channeling public and private investment to global water projects. The project involved a variety of dimensions such as financial considerations of costs and budgets, cultural impacts of different perspectives and values, and the logistical feasibility of different options. While we were working on the design of a platform to connect different partnerships and funding, I felt myself using a variety of the skills I learned through my academic and social experiences at Carthage.”

Tips for current Carthage students:

“Engage with the international community as often as you can. People with different opinions or backgrounds can be powerful teachers and give you a new perspectives on what constitutes normal or feasible. Pursue diverse experiences whenever possible because it helps you grow personally and academically.”

Favorite Carthage memories:

“Freshmen year I went on a month-long J-Term study tour to Guatemala to study sustainable development, and to improve my Spanish language skills. This trip completely changed the trajectory of my career as it sparked my interest and enthusiasm for international development.

“Other study tours to China, Nicaragua, and Peru were incredible experiences that solidified my love for new cultures and languages, and helped me create lifelong friendships and grow both personally and academically. I will always remember the people I met, the friendships I made, and the adventures that I had on these trips.

Christmas Festival was also one of my favorite experiences at Carthage. I played oboe/English horn in Wind Orchestra and for the performances of Christmas Festival, the entire Music Department came together and joined forces to create an incredible celebration of music. I will never forget the chills and sense of unity that I felt every time as the entire chapel full of people joined with the choirs and bands in singing the final carols at the end of each performance.”

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