Fellowship Spotlight: Ishana Ratan

Graduation Date: May 2017

Majors or Areas of Study: Double Major in  International Affairs and Economics, Minor in Spanish

Hometown: Chennai, India

Community & Campus Involvement: I wrote for the food column for UGA’s Ampersand Magazine, am a tutor for Economics classes at UGA, and have been part of the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program for a year.

Interesting fact about yourself? I was born in India, so technically I can never be President of the United States.

What interested you most about the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program? I am interested in the many ways that state and local level policy impacts the everyday lives of everyone in the Athens community, and am excited by the opportunity to make a lasting impact on Georgia policy working as a part of the Fellowship Team.

Do you have a job or internship for the summer? I’m currently working for the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., and I hope to continue working with them after I graduate. I haven’t figured out exactly what I’m doing yet this summer, but I hope to either stay on with CAP or take another position at a different think tank in D.C.

What are you most excited about? I’m very excited to be living in D.C. right now! I moved to the Capitol a week ago, and am loving it. I started work this week, and am really interested in gun control policy research at CAP. It’s incredible to have this opportunity, and be a part of the policymaking process in such a unique political climate.

How did the Fellowship Program help you with this position?  The Fellowship Program introduced me to the world of public policy, and gave me insight into legislative research. Through the Fellowship, I developed the skills to analyze legislation and its impacts on the local community. This experience will help me in my work with CAP as I research gun control policy issues throughout the spring.

What is your current role on the Spencer Frye team? I am a Senior Staff Legislative Fellow.

What have you learned so far as a fellow? I have learned that even as a legislative fellow, my work is important, whether it’s writing bill memos or going door knocking around the community. Through the Fellowship, my actions and ideas can actually have a lasting impact on public policy, and change my community for the better.

What has been your favorite experience as a fellow? My favorite experience was working on the Habitat for Humanity construction site, and helping build a roof with a few other Fellows. I enjoyed learning how to use a power drill, as well as getting to know everyone on the team much better.

What are your future goals? After my internship with the CAP, I hope to work in D.C. for two years at a think tank, and then plan on pursuing a PhD in Economics.

What do you love most about Athens? I love the strong sense of community and local pride that Athens residents have; it’s definitely more than just a college town.

Favorite place in Athens, Georgia? Walker’s Coffee! I do practically all of studying there.

Favorite movie? The House on Haunted Hill, a black and white dramatic comedy.

What are your hobbies outside of school and the Fellowship program? I practice yoga at Rubber Soul Yoga on Pulaski, and I model at Community Vintage and Thrift downtown.

What is the last book you read? I’m in the middle of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

Coffee or tea?  Tea, without a doubt.

Describe your dream job. I’d like to work as a data analyst in the research department of one of the twelve Federal Reserve district banks. I became interested in programs like R and STATA while doing a CURO Research project, and want to continue pursuing this interest after I complete my doctorate.

What has been your greatest experience during your college career? I really enjoyed studying abroad in Spain the summer after my freshman year. I lived in Sevilla for over a month, and fell in love with the city, especially the historic buildings and the food.

If you know that you would not fail, what would you do? I would take the GRE immediately, and apply to grad school at The University of Texas, Austin.

Why are you interested in politics? My mom is a political science professor, so from the time I was a kid, her in class lectures frequently became dinner table conversation. I enjoyed learning more about international relations as I travelled in Europe and Asia with my family, and naturally chose International Affairs as my major when I entered UGA.

Favorite quote.

“The truth will set you free, but not until it is finished with you.” – David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest