St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf graduate named Gaither Junior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Portrait of Hana Anderson in front of a gray background.
Hana Anderson ’20 has been named a Gaither Fellow.

St. Olaf College graduate Hana Anderson ’20 has been named a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow for the 2021–22 class. 

The Gaither Junior Fellows program provides selected applicants with the opportunity to further a career interest in international affairs through a year of work experience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank in Washington, D.C. focused on global engagement and peace. Fellows work as research assistants to Carnegie’s senior scholars and are paired with scholars that align with their specific research interests. 

Each year 12 to 14 graduating seniors or individuals who have graduated in the past academic year are selected for the yearlong fellowship. Fellows are nominated by several hundred participating colleges and universities, and approximately 5 percent of applicants are selected for positions. 

Having come to St. Olaf bilingual in Japanese and English, Anderson added a third language at St. Olaf by majoring in Chinese. She also majored in political science and studied abroad at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China, during the fall semester of her senior year. While at St. Olaf she played violin in the St. Olaf Orchestra for all four years and toured domestically to Texas, New York, and New Mexico. She also participated in Asian Studies in Action, a student-run Asian affairs club, and tutored students in Japanese. Within the fellowship, Anderson was accepted into the Asia Program and will further explore her interest in Asian-U.S. relations. 

Here, Anderson shares about the application process, her research interests, and how St. Olaf influenced her career aspirations. 

Why did you decide to apply for the Gaither Fellowship?
The Gaither Fellows program stood out to me as an opportunity to explore themes such as governance, international cooperation, strategic competition, and human rights within the regional context of East Asia. There are about 12 to 14 fellows in the cohort, and each is assigned to work on different thematic areas, so I was also excited at the prospect of learning from my peers and getting to know other people my age who are passionate about international affairs.

What opportunities will you gain this year by being a Gaither Fellow? How does the fellowship support your future career aspirations?
I will be working with incredible scholars such as Evan Feigenbaum, Yukon Huang, and James Schoff, who are experts in their respective fields. By being in the heart of Washington, D.C., I will also learn more about the policy making process. I want to work in public service, particularly in diplomacy, to better strengthen U.S. relations with Asia. I would also love to live and work in Japan, China, or elsewhere at some point in my career in order to cultivate ties with local stakeholders and to better understand domestic politics and trends.

Hana Anderson (right) and a friend stand on a stone bridge with a building, trees, cell towers, and blue sky in the background.
During their semester abroad at East China Normal University, Hana Anderson ’20 (right) and Ling O’Donoghue ’21 traveled to Purple Mountain (Zijin Shan) in Nanjing during the Golden Week holiday in October.

What are some of your academic/research interests that the fellowship will allow you to explore?
I have always been interested in how Japan’s imperial history continues to shape its relationship with its neighbors and impact foreign policy today. More broadly speaking, I am interested in looking at Japan-China-U.S. relations from different angles.

What was most rewarding about your time at St. Olaf?
The most rewarding thing about St. Olaf has definitely been forming meaningful relationships with my peers and professors. My professors, especially in the Asian Studies and Political Science departments, have been supportive of me even after graduating. The mentorship I received from professors such as Professor of Political Science and Asian Studies Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies Hsiang-Lin Shih, Associate Professor of Asian Studies Ying Zhou, and others made me realize that pursuing a career relating to Asian affairs would be not only possible, but exciting and meaningful.

How did St. Olaf prepare you for this fellowship?
I think that the interdisciplinary nature of the St. Olaf curriculum has made me more comfortable thinking and working using a combination of academic areas, such as history, political science, and sociology. St. Olaf also stressed taking advantage of study abroad and internship opportunities. The Piper Center provided financial support for my internship at the Political-Economic Section at U.S. Consulate in Osaka, Japan, and through the St. Olaf Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program, I participated in a research trip to Yilan, Taiwan with Hsiang-Lin Shih and three other students. Tegtmeyer Pak and Associate Professor of Philosophy Jason Marsh also played key roles in advising me throughout this application process and I am so grateful for their guidance.