Urbashee Paul, a second-year economics Ph.D. student has been awarded a career mentoring grant by the William T. Grant Foundation in the amount of $59,493. Her mentor will be Dr. Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Professor and a William T. Grant Scholar, with appointments in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics at Northeastern University.
The purpose of the grant is two-fold – First, it seeks to promote mentorship of junior researchers of color so that they have protected time and training to focus on developing their research skills, expertise, and publication records. Second, it helps the principal investigator develop a stronger understanding of the career development issues facing their junior colleagues of color as well as fostering a strong mentorship relationship and a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive academic environment for the mentee.
Urbashee was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and witnessed from an early age the crippling effects of poverty and inequality. In pursuit of a life with more economic opportunities, her parents migrated with her to Sydney, Australia and later to the United States. For many years, even after migrating, her family grappled to make ends meet. Motivated by the struggles of her upbringing, Urbashee pursued economics as her field of study as an undergraduate at Boston University and subsequently as a master’s student at the George Washington University. Currently, as a doctoral student at Northeastern, Urbashee wishes to investigate the barriers to opportunities faced by youth in the U.S. and find ways to mitigate the economic inequality they may face later in life.
The foundation’s generous support will enable Urbashee to attend academic conferences, purchase relevant datasets for her dissertation, and partake in research training programs such as the upcoming J-PAL U.S. Research Staff Training in New Hampshire (October 2019) and the William T. Grant Foundation Reducing Inequality Convention in Washington, DC (December 2019). This summer, Urbashee has been working with Dr. Modestino on a multi-year evaluation, in partnership with the Boston Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD), assessing how summer job programs can help reduce inequality among youth in Boston. In the latest branch of their research project, she is investigating whether students placed in private, as opposed to public, sector summer jobs are likely to have better employment and academic outcomes.
Urbashee has a strong desire to work as a leading scholar at the forefront of economics research – specifically, one who studies and finds viable solutions to the deepening issues of poverty and inequality plaguing the youth in America. Having guidance from a knowledgeable and accomplished mentor like Dr. Modestino, and with the support of the William T. Grant Foundation, she is confident that she can make that goal a reality.