Elizabeth Sandoval Simán ’22

FUSADES: Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development, El Salvador

I spent my summer working at the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES)—an apolitical think tank and research center that aims to provide evidence-based public policy recommendations with the goal of advancing development in El Salvador. It was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania’s Go-To Think Tank Index as the best think tank in Central America.

When something major happens in El Salvador, many (including the United States Embassy in El Salvador) look to FUSADES for guidance on what’s happening, what to do, and how to react. The institution believes that whichever government is in power, it should ensure the well-being of the country and its citizens, and the respect of individual freedoms and laws outlined in the Salvadoran constitution. This is what first drew me to FUSADES.

I completed an internship at FUSADES last summer as a research assistant for the Department of Economic Studies. I Elizabeth Sandoval Siman '22 at a desk with laptopmaintained close contact with the organization and had the opportunity to return as a second-year intern. This summer, I was able to elaborate my own project, and I chose to focus on boosting access to information. In fact, I realized that most information regarding the country’s situation (reports, joint analysis, etc.) in El Salvador was only available to an educated elite who could understand these documents. I wanted to change this: by democratizing this information, I hoped that El Salvador’s citizens would be able to understand what is going on in the country and be able to make informed decisions as active citizens.

Taking part in the mentorship program at FUSADES allowed me to learn so much, not only as a researcher, but also as an active citizen of my country. In addition, in El Salvador the field of academia is almost non-existent, all experts that wish to pursue academic research do so through institutions like FUSADES. Being mentored and groomed professionally by one of the few potential employers in academia in El Salvador has been extremely helpful since it allowed me not only to gain further insight into the organization and the field, but also to create an invaluable network of people who will help me during my professional career.

There is no doubt that this experience has played a key role in my academic and professional career and development, and this could not have happened without the Kershaw Internship, which enabled me to work at FUSADES and also help my country in a time of political and public health crises. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.

Finally, I would like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration: it is because of their amazing work and support that students like me are able to pursue and realize our professional dreams. Thank you for allowing me to “climb high, and climb far” this summer.