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2018 Gaither Junior Fellows Program Nominees

February 5, 2018

Congratulations to Drexel's nominees for the 2018 Gaither Junior Fellows Program - Dakota Peterson and Vincent O'Leary!

Dakota Peterson image Dakota Storm Peterson (BA Political Science '18) is a senior interested in studying U.S. foreign policy and strengthening diplomatic strategies to tackle contemporary global challenges. Throughout his academic career at Drexel, Dakota has demonstrated a keen interest in research and policy centered around marginalized communities. As a research assistant to Dr. Zoltan Buzas, Dakota explored the intricacies of the World Wars to help contextualize present day marginalization and criminalization of the Roma population in Eastern Europe. He then gained practical experience at the U.S. Department of Labor working to ensure compliance with Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity policies. Dakota is currently part of the Asia team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tank and Civil Societies Program, researching, writing, and editing a manuscript on think tanks and their effect on government policy.

With his background in research and passion for policy development, Dakota is seeking to employ his research skills as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment’s U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Program. He looks forward to the opportunity to work with top scholars in the field and formulate new strategies to promote U.S. interests abroad. After gaining more research experience, Dakota plans to pursue a career at the United Nations, concentrating on post-conflict transitions around the globe.


Vincent O'Leary (BS Environmental Science '18, Honors) is a senior interested in connecting policy to his research in climate change and biodiversity. At Drexel, Vincent has done research in several labs at the Academy of Natural Sciences, including all three co-ops. During these opportunities, Vincent developed new ways for the public to gain access to the museum's many collections. He has also conducted research with NOAA developing a new map of the planet through the NOAA Hollings Scholarship. Vincent is currently volunteering through the Lindy Center to develop a high school science fair mentorship program. Immediately after graduation, Vincent will be working in Washington, DC thanks to support from the Truman Scholarship.

Vincent is hoping to apply his background in communicating science and visualizing data as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment's Energy and Climate Program. He is excited to continue bridging the gap between policy and science while in this position if selected. Eventually, Vincent plans to pursue a graduate degree that combines his interest in policy and environmental science.

Best of luck, Dakota and Vincent! 


Special thanks to faculty and staff who participated on the Gaither Campus Committee, working with the Center for Scholar Development during the fall and winter terms to review applications, conduct interviews, and advise nominees on their applications:

  • Erin Graham, Assistant Professor, Politics
  • Christian Hunold, Associate Professor, Politics
  • Kevin Egan, Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry
  • Joel Oestreich, Director, Global Studies Major; Professor, Global Studies and Modern Languages


The Gaither Junior Fellows Program is a highly competitive award that enables recent graduates to work for a year with a senior fellow in one of the program areas of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. For more information please review the Carnegie folder on our Blackboard Site or email Meredith Wooten, Director, Center for Scholar Development.