Appalachian alumni wins best dissertation award from the London School of Economics

Halie Hamilton

Caroline Federal, a 2012 Appalachian State anthropology alumna, was awarded Best Dissertation in the Masters of Science in Comparative Politics program at the London School of Economics.

Federal won the award for her thesis, “Mind the Gap: Gender in National Elections in Varieties of Capitalism.”

“I have been interested in politics most of my life, my parents always encouraged us to be civil participants,” Federal said. “Politics control our life, that encouraged me to get more involved in it.”

Tim Smith, App State’s Department of Anthropology chair, said Federal’s thesis was exciting in its ability to bring together political science and anthropology.

“What makes her dissertation topic unique is that she was bringing a sociocultural eye to the study of voting trends, patterns in electoral politics as they pertain to gender disparities in western nations,” Smith said.

After graduating from Appalachian state with an undergraduate degree in anthropology, Federal was selected as an Americas Program Intern at the Carter Center. Federal wrote briefings for Carter and senior staff, one of which was for the Colombian Peace Conference.

Federal then moved to New York where she was an intern for Clinton Global Initiative and was later hired on as a logistics coordinator. Federal said she was drawn to the Clinton Foundation because of her admiration for Hillary Clinton. She also volunteered for her presidential campaign.

From there she went on to graduate school at the London School of Economics.

“I knew I was going to do something with gender and political economy going into the program,” Federal said.

Now, Federal works at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Solve Initiative, where she works to make sure innovative solutions to global issues are met with the resources necessary to make them a reality.

Federal started off as an international business major at UNC Charlotte but decided to change her major and transfer to Appalachian due to an eye-opening experience in her freshman seminar.

“It is a huge success story that can demonstrate to students and future students that there are multiple pathways to measuring success and the degree to which students can make use of their undergraduate training,” Smith said.

Story by: Halie Hamilton, News reporter