Three College Undergraduate Students Developing Career Skills Through Beeck Center Student Analyst Program

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Ethan Fan (C’24), Katie Hawkinson (C’23) and Zega Ras-Work (C’23) were three of the four College undergraduates selected as this year’s student analysts for the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation. The program is an immersive learning experience in social impact that provides paid fellowships to students. In addition to working at the Beeck Center, student analysts engage in a curriculum of workshops, dialogues and team-building activities.

“I strongly believe that the College and the Beeck Center are valuable environments to cultivate my diverse interests,” says Ras-Work. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I’m well-equipped to meet it after my time at the Beeck Center.”

Ethan Fan (C’24)

Ethan standing in a street smiling at the camera wearing a red shirt

Major: Biology of Global Health and Economics

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

What inspired you to apply to the Beeck Center?

I was inspired to apply to the Beeck Center because of its mission centered around social impact through technology. I believe the field of data has a lot of potential and can be used to help underserved communities. I am also interested in connecting technology to modernize policy work and research. 

What research are you working on while there?

I am a student analyst part of the State Chief Data Officers Network Project. For my role, I research different fundamental state open data sets, create assessment criteria for those data sets and analyze them based on those criteria. I will be researching these 11 foundational datasets highlighted in a previous Beeck publication, Open Data for Economic Recovery, for all fifty states and compiling an aggregated way to display the research I have done.

What career development skills do you hope to gain while there? How does the Beeck Center help you achieve your career goals?

I hope to learn more about what makes data so important, why governments are behind in modernizing their platforms and how I can apply data to any research I do on a daily basis. At the Beeck Center, I have learned how to access and find any level of state spatial map data or numerical datasets that are published for transparency purposes. I have also learned common skills used in Airtable and Tableau platforms. I have learned more about my interested career field of health care, its increasing costs and common issues underserved communities face regarding healthcare. 

“The Beeck Center has been an incredible experience for me and I highly recommend anyone who can apply for it to do so. My work for the center truly serves as a good break from the weekly academic stress and work. The people here have tons of experience they are willing to share and are amazingly friendly. I have learned so much and only look forward to more time here.”

Ethan Fan

How does this help you with your work for the Beeck Center?

The Beeck Center has been very helpful in helping guide me towards the right field of work and the impact I hope to create with my major. A part of the student analyst program involves career development and workshops. In these events, we are asked to research more about what interests us in social impact and for me it is health care. Some assignments have asked me to keep up with the news in the healthcare field, some of the major problems arising in the field and finding data that could help address those problems. I think the skills learned from these assignments will help me in any field related to my major, whether that be research, non-profit work, or healthcare insurance. 


Katie Hawkinson (C’23)

Katie standing in front of a tree wearing a white shirt smiling into the camera

Major: History, minor in Global Medieval Studies

Hometown: Spokane, Washington

What inspired you to apply to the Beeck Center?

I applied to the Beeck Center because I am passionate about making innovative thinking accessible to the public. As a Storytelling and Editorial Content Analyst, I will get the chance to learn more about the amazing work Beeck Center researchers are doing to evoke social change while making their findings digestible and interesting for the world.

What research are you working on while there?

I have a slightly different role than other students, as I am focused on communications rather than research. That means I take the amazing research that my coworkers have done and boil it down into parts that we can present to the public. I write blog posts for our website, craft Twitter and LinkedIn posts and I am even helping with the layout and design of reports. My job is really special to me because I get to engage with all the work done here at the Beeck Center.

What career development skills do you hope to gain while there? How does the Beeck Center help you achieve your career goals?

While working on communications at the Beeck Center, I hope to learn how to be a human-centered, ethical storyteller. No matter where I end up after graduation, being a strong writer with experience in storytelling will serve me well.

“I have had an amazing time working at the Beeck Center, and I am so grateful for the opportunities the organization has given me this semester.”

Katie Hawkinson

How does your major help you with your work for the Beeck Center?

As a humanities major, the bulk of my coursework and assessments are writing-based. Specifically, as a historian, I find myself studying the stories of civilizations, institutions and communities, trying to make sense of how each component of society worked together to create the historical record. In a way, I’m doing something very similar here at the Beeck Center — I take these amazing, technical reports written by our phenomenal staff and try to piece together how each step of their project matters to the larger picture, as well as how we can help the general public understand the significance of this work. In both my role as a student and as an analyst, I have the opportunity to find the most important pieces of complex processes and convey them clearly to others in an effort to spread knowledge and understanding.


Zega Ras- Work (C’23)

Zega standing in front of bamboo wearing a black and white paisley shirt smiling into the camera

Major: Political Economy, minor Environmental Studies

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

What inspired you to apply to the Beeck Center?

I often find that data and technology enthusiasts overlook the importance of public policy for achieving innovation, and public policy people underrate the importance of data and technology for achieving broader societal goals. The Beeck Center lies right at the intersection of these worlds. I applied to Beeck to get involved with the emerging field of public interest technology, and I now see that the potential for innovation to address public needs including disease, food systems, poverty and inequality, and more is limitless.

What research are you working on while there?

At the Beeck Center, I work on the Data Labs project, which focuses on helping state governments leverage data for the economic recovery from the pandemic. On that project I do qualitative research, identifying and sharing best practices on how states have already addressed key policy issues through data-informed decision making. I am also starting to do quantitative work on our Chief Data Officers Network, normalizing program data and presenting it through forms of visualization. As a technical assistant, I also do smaller, issue-specific research assignments to support our program managers.

What career development skills do you hope to gain while there? How does the Beeck Center help you achieve your career goals?

I’m gaining some hard skills that involve working with data, as well as hopefully soon getting experience with some legal aspects of our work including contract-making, data sharing, and inter-organizational collaboration. I hope to also build on my teamwork skills as well as growing as a leader and communicator. The Center offers student analysts abundant mentorship opportunities with our supervisors and the Fellows, in addition to regular career development workshops that nurture skill building. I am also creating a valuable network here.

“I strongly believe that the College and the Beeck Center are valuable environments to cultivate my diverse interests. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I’m well-equipped to meet it after my time at the Beeck Center.”

Zega Ras-Work

How has your major helped you with your work for the Beeck Center?

My economics major has been useful in a lot of my research pertaining to analyzing government interventions in different policy areas and some of the quantitative work I’m doing. I’m fortunate that the College has a top tier economics department, where a lot of the courses I’ve taken have shaped my way of thinking in one way or another. I find that I’m frequently able to draw from theoretical frameworks and concepts that I’ve learned in class and apply them to the work I do now.

In my time at Georgetown, through academics, extracurriculars, and some of my work experience, I’ve developed a passion for environmental issues, especially energy systems sustainability and climate change. My work at Beeck has really piqued my interest in applications of data in the global clean energy transition, particularly in relation to energy resource data and geographic information systems. I’m curious about how high quality data can be used with analytical methods and models to inform investment decisions and power sector planning in a way that is just and equitable.