The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Hannah Pruitt '19

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Hannah Pruitt '19 during her internship with the Brookings Institution.

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Hannah Pruitt '19 interned at the Brookings Institution for the Winter 2018 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

The Brookings Institution is a nonpartisan think tank in Washington DC that conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and global economy and development. At Brookings, I worked in the Economic Policy department, specifically in the Center for Regulation and Markets, where I did research and analysis on financial regulation, payment systems, the future of fintech (financial technology), and federal infrastructure initiatives. 

During my time at Brookings, I researched and contributed to publications concerning Bank of America’s decision to end free checking accounts and the financial implications for low income Americans and how the current payment systems used in the United States contributes to, and perpetuates, income inequality. I gathered data and created visuations for a piece on the changed tax treatment of endowments for certain colleges in the US, one of which was Dartmouth, and how this policy could have been better implemented as an incentive for equality enhancing practices.

Additionally, I created a presentation and helped plan a panel event on the state of infrastructure in America and how our solutions can be encapsulated in three words: invest more wisely. I also helped research and edit a piece concerning S.2155, the biggest reform to Dodd-Frank since it was put in place in 2010. 

Overall, my time at Brookings allowed me to work on a diverse set of projects and gain exposure to some of the most pressing issues as well as their most influential scholars in our country today. Brookings introduced me to a complex way of thought, one which considers both efficiency, equity, and political feasibility and the compromises we can be willing to make in order to have meaningful legislative change. It also opened my mind to the complexity of our financial system and how sometimes the most mundane and routine things, such as if you pull out an Amex or cash at the register in a grocery store can affects things as large as income inequality within the US.  

I am extremely grateful to the Rockefeller Center for allowing me to have this incredible opportunity. I have learned and grown so much during my time in DC and Brookings. This internship has changed me and my career aspirations, and it would not have been possible without their support. I also want to extend a specific thank you to the Portman family, whose contributions to the Rockefeller Center and the Portman fund have helped me and several other students pursue their interests in public policy.

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