UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES  |  Meet our Alums

Ali Wyne '08
Political Science

Researcher, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Ali Wyne

After graduating from MIT, I completed a Junior Fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, researching the rise of China and trends in Sino-American relations. For the next three years, I worked at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, analyzing those two topics as well as North Korea's nuclear program and the war in Afghanistan. Since June, I have been a contributing analyst at Wikistrat.

While I came to MIT with a strong interest in international affairs, I didn't have a structured way of evaluating other people's commentary about events of the day, let alone of developing my own analysis. Majoring in Course 17 sharpened my thinking – for starters, by demonstrating the importance of using precise language to express one's arguments. For example, when one advises the United States to "engage" countries with which it has strained, even adversarial relationships, what concrete policies actually constitute that engagement?

My coursework also compelled me to think more strategically. While the U.S. has many national interests, it doesn't have the capacity to pursue them all, at least not to the same extent – especially in an age of austerity. Policymakers must accordingly distinguish those interests that are vital from those that are "merely" very important or important. My professors gave me tools for making such distinctions.

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