PhD Candidate in Political Science, International Relations & Public Policy
Expected to Graduate in 2021
Summer’s research focuses on how philanthropic foundations influence governance institutions during global health emergencies. She holds specialities in global governance, international organizations, health security, and philanthropy. Her work on this topic began when she led a project on humanitarian response during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Prior to her time at Northeastern, Summer worked as a journalist and editor in Washington, D.C., held multiple research positions, and managed instructional development of online courses in Public Policy and Public Health at Harvard University. She is currently a predoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, where she contributes to a project examining cross-border measures states have taken in response to COVID-19 and prior disease outbreaks. She was drawn to Northeastern’s PhD program because of the unique combination of methodological expertise and policy relevance among the Political Science department faculty.
Related Research Centers
Summer received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics at the College of William & Mary in 2008
She worked as Associate Editor and Project Coordinator for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington, D.C.
She received her Masters in Law and Diplomacy, Security Studies and Political Economy at the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 2013.
She managed instructional development for online courses in Public Policy, Government, and Public Health at Harvard University from 2013-2016.
She participated as an editor for a case study and photo essay, titled “High Ground: Disaster, Risk, and Resilience in the Philippines" in 2017.
Summer engages in public commentary on her research as it relates to COVID-19. She has appeared on CNN International and published analysis on this topic in the Washington Post, among other outlets.
Summer's policy brief “How Funding the WHO Benefits US Foreign Policy,” was circulated on Capitol Hill by the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute for Global Health Law in 2020.
Later, she presented at the American Political Science Association ‘Lobbying is a dirty word,’ Advocacy is Not: Philanthropy and Policy Entrepreneurship in Global Health Emergencies" virtually in 2020.
Summer has multiple academic publications on her CV and is currently in the process of finalizing multiple peer reviewed papers.
She aims to pursue an academic career in a faculty role allowing her to continue conducting policy-relevant research.
“The interdisciplinary faculty both within and outside of my program have profoundly shaped my experience. I am particularly grateful to my dissertation committee, Professors Daniel Aldrich, Mai’a Cross, Emily Clough, and Richard Wamai, among many others, for their efforts beyond the scope of the classroom to support my development as a policy-relevant scholar.”
More Student Paths
- Savita is from Boston and is a graduate of the Boston Latin School.
- Originally a Cultural Anthropology major, Savita later became an English major with minors in Africana Studies and Writing Studies.
- Through the service-learning course, Boston in Literature, Savita volunteered with 826 Boston to tutor in English. She is now a service-learning teaching assistant.
- For her final project in Post-Colonial Women's Writers with Professor Aljoe, she researched Carnival and its cultural significance to Trinidad and Tobago.
- Inspired by Professor Aljoe, Savita joined the Early Caribbean Digital Archive, working on an exhibit about Caribbean Carnival and creating and gathering teaching materials.
- In 2020, she began a co-op with the Africana Studies program to learn more about the field of Black Studies.
- Savita wants to work to better her own community. In the future, she hopes to become a high school teacher or a college professor. ..
- Andrew grew up in Japan, and decided to pursue his undergraduate degree back in the U.S.
- Andrew applied to Northeastern as a Business major. As his high school career came to a close, he became more interested in Japanese politics, history, and social issues.
- When thinking about what truly engaged him, Andrew felt that Asian Studies and Political Science was a better fit and switched his major to Asian Studies.
- Andrew connected with Professor Daniel Aldrich after meeting him at a presentation of his book at the institute for social sciences at Tokyo University.
- From his first day of classes, Professor Aldrich encouraged and helped Andrew get involved in research projects.
- During his first semester, Professor Aldrich paired Andrew with Tim Fraser, a PhD candidate in Political Science with strong interests in disaster resilience in Japan.
- With Tim, Andrew collected biographical information on the committee members on all the reconstructional committees on municipal, prefectural, and national level. ..
- Emerson wanted a contextualized Political Science degree, and applied to Northeastern specifically for the PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) program.
- "Introduction to Economic Justice" with Professor Serena Parekh was one of Emerson's favorite courses, allowing her to study economic justice from a philosophical lens.
- Emerson was accepted by the Roosevelt Institute to do financialization research at Northeastern, examining economic priorities.
- Emerson also started a research thesis her freshman year to look at the link between modern dystopian literature and the the rise of female-led political movements.
- When Emerson found out about the HCL (History, Culture, and Law) major, she was immediately interested in adding the major to enhance her PPE studies.
- The Culture & Colonialism concentration allowed Emerson to double-credit and to develop the breadth of knowledge needed for someone who wants to work at the State Department.
- In January 2020, Emerson founded NU's Interdisciplinary Women's Collaborative (IWC) with the help of mentor and advisor Heather Hauck...
Charles T. Wallace-Thomas IV
- Charles chose to attend Northeastern because he was intrigued by the signature co-op program and wanted a curriculum that combined real-world experience without compromising thorough academic rigor.
- Initially an engineering student, Charles switched to a combined major in Economics and Mathematics to build upon his interest in economic and social justice work. He also has a minor in psychology.
- In his first year, Charles took Sustainable Renewable Energy Development in the Global South with Professor Shalanda Baker, which taught him to question systems as they exist, no matter how established.
- As part of the Ujima Global Leaders Program through the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, Charles did community service, working on the Timebank team which helped him give back to Boston.
- For his first co-op, Charles split his time between the Center for Economic Democracy and the Boston Ujima Project, where he analyzed studies on community needs, like infrastructure and childcare.
- As Campaign Coordinator and Director of Northeastern’s Students Advancing Intersectional Dreams, Charles had spoken to people like Patrisse Cullors, Richie Reseda, Michelle Alexander, and Angela Davis.
- Over the summer of 2020, Charles was one of the co-creators of the #BlackAtNU campaign where he advocated for racial literacy courses and for a restorative and transformative justice center on campus...