July 25, 2023

5 Questions for a CHaSS Grad

Five Questions with Brontë Forsgren

Brontë Forsgren, class of 2019, is currently completing her Master of Public Affairs at Princeton University. She spent three years in Washington, D.C. as an evidence-based policy analyst at the philanthropy Arnold Ventures. This summer, she is completing an internship in Kampala, Uganda, with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a research and policy organization focused on building rigorous evidence for alleviating global poverty. She hails from Richmond, Utah and attended Sky View High School. While at Utah State University, Brontë majored in economics and political science with minors in international studies and religious studies. We asked Brontë to give us an update for a new series we’re calling 5 Questions for a CHaSS Grad

The best decision I ever made was to pursue my dream of moving to Washington, D.C. I'd completed an internship the summer between my junior and senior years and absolutely loved it there and knew I wanted to return. Despite not hearing back on any of my job applications by the time graduation happened, my mom and I took a leap of faith, packed up a car, and began the move. I got a call offering me my first job in the middle of Kansas! I was later able to convince two of my best friends and fellow CHaSS alumni, Brigitte Hugh and Whitney Johnson, to move to D.C. and be my roommates.

My favorite Aggie Ice Cream flavor is True Aggie Night. No competition. 

Although I learned a lot in my classes, I think the most useful things I learned were from conversations with the friends I made at USU. I learned so much about myself, how to understand and articulate my values, and also, how to learn from my own mistakes! It really motivated me to both pursue a career aligned with my values of justice and equality and to make sure I live my life in line with those values. I'm thankful for each of the people I met at USU and in CHaSS who helped me on that journey.

My favorite thing about my current role is using evidence and analytically rigorous research to discover how to help improve the lives and welfare of people around the world. I know a lot of political science students dislike their research methods courses, but I think it's one of the most important courses you can take! It can be easy to think of stats as boring, but for me, statistics and analytical research open such a rich world of understanding when used correctly. Knowing whether different programs, policies, and ideas are making an actual impact (or not) is essential for designing good policy that makes a difference in people's lives and is a good use of funding.

People are really willing to help you out, so I would tell my younger self to go ahead and ask for it! There's no shame in admitting when things are hard and asking people around you for support, including friends and professors. Additionally, networking and reaching out to alumni used to feel so intimidating to me, but now that I'm on the other end, I see how eager fellow alumni are to be a source of support and advice for current USU students.


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