We recently talked with Kathryn Lundquist, SFWGS ’01, HS ’05, who has been working as an International Trade Analyst at the International Trade Commission (USITC) in Washington, DC since 2010. Her focus is trade of nonferrous metals, primarily aluminum, magnesium, and titanium and industrial materials, including cement and gypsum. Her work involves a lot of studies regarding trade issues – for instance, Congress might request a business competitiveness study to find out if another country is out-performing the United States in a particular industry. She also works on trade cases, where she helps determine if a product is being imported at less than fair value, and if the Department of Commerce needs to impose tariffs.
Kathryn really enjoys her job and feels very lucky that she was able to work so quickly in the exact field that she studied in graduate school. She loves that her work is constantly changing—that she is often asked to look into products that she had never even thought about before. “I recently worked on a trade case for steel-wire hangers, basically drycleaning hangers, and I had to find out all about them, how they were made, how hangers from different producers and different countries are different.” She is able to continuously satisfy her love of learning new things, something she developed early on in school.
The most important influence on her career that Kathryn cites was the Model United Nations club at San Francisco Waldorf High School. Participating in Model UN broadened her awareness of the larger world. It also piqued her interest in international economics—one of her first debates was about the Washington Consensus, a set of policy prescriptions for the stabilization of economically volatile developing countries. She loved the exposure to the world that Model UN provided and highly recommends it to high school students.
This interest in international studies led Kathryn to begin a degree in political science at UCLA. However, her first economics class really inspired her and she switched majors. Through her economics major she took a class in international trade and it resonated strongly with her. She was particularly intrigued by the economic models that show that trade is mutually beneficial to both partners, even if they have unequal means of production. “Something about this really appealed to me. If trade is something that you can understand as mutually beneficial, then trade can get countries to come together and the discussion brings the international community closer. This is a philosophy that I like.” A quarter in Washington DC with the UCDC internship program clinched her interest in economic policy and upon graduating from UCLA she returned to DC for graduate school at George Washington University in International Trade and Investment Policy, for which she received an MA in 2010.
When we asked Kathryn about her many years at San Francisco Waldorf School she noted that she always loved school and loved learning. This theme of learning continues to be present in her work today—her conversation is brimming with tidbits of information she has learned about trade products or government policy. She was always excited to return to school at the end of the summer and was able to take this love of learning with her through college and graduate school. It carried her through classes in college that were not as inspiring as her earlier classes at San Francisco Waldorf School, and she was always able to find something in a class that she liked.