Alumni News

Dear all,

We are excited to send our second annual Political Economy Alumni Advisory Board newsletter to update you. In what follows, we report on the tremendous progress we have made in the 18 months since our inception. We currently have 20 alumni board members, spanning four decades of graduates, spread from London to Singapore, who are actively engaged in creating the best Political Economy major globally.   This past year we have made significant strides in both raising funding to enhance the major as well as successfully engaging undergraduate Political Economy students and alumni in networking and career-building events.

Our mission is to continually improve the viability and long-term health of Political Economy at UC Berkeley and increase UC Berkeley Political Economy brand awareness globally.  We aim to achieve this through both informing curricular innovation, as well as increasing connectivity between Political Economy students, Political Economy alumni, the University, and the greater global community.

We would love to enhance and improve the overall Political Economy student experience, as well as and their career outcomes, making sure that they are positioned for success in whatever field they enter.

Below are some exciting highlights from this past year. 


Steve Vogel, Chair of Political Economy, and Alan Karras, Associate Director of Interdisciplinary Social Science Programs, successfully secured a $70,000 grant for two years from the Hewlett Foundation to launch a network comprised of an interdisciplinary group of scholars at the University of California, Berkeley to contribute to the Hewlett Foundation’s goal of rethinking political economy and developing a new intellectual paradigm as an alternative to neoliberalism.


The brand-new website for Political Economy is a resource for our students and a hub for our incredible alumni. Please take a look at the Alumni Resources Section to join our volunteer network LinkedIn alumni group, and our Charter Hill Society for Political Economy, and check out some of our exciting upcoming events!
We also encourage you to explore our career resources section, where alumni can post internship opportunities and job openings. Stay tuned for more improvements.

(Spring and Fall 2019)

In spring 2019 and fall 2019, we held our first two Political Economy Advisory Board Student Career Forums.  The spring event brought 100 students together with panelists from a variety of industries. We expanded for the fall iteration, including resume and interview workshops in addition to the career panel.

This October event brought together 70 students and 20 alumni , who flew in from Singapore, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and New Orleans to offer networking and resume workshops to our students. A former student who graduated last year returned to campus for the career forum as a panelist. She said that the event “was so memorable and such a fruitful event, and based on the communications I have had with students who attended the panel since the event, I can promise you that it will have lasting, positive effects for all parties involved!” A current student who attended the event emailed to tell us that “it was a great success. I enjoyed hearing from several alums who have taken varying paths, and it was so nice to see people with busy lives taking an evening to give back to the department.”

This past October, Washington DC area PE alumni were invited to a networking reception featuring remarks by Heather Podesta ’93, Founder & CEO of Invariant.  Our next Bay Area event will be held in February, hosted by McDermott Will & Emery at the top of the new Salesforce tower in San Francisco, featuring John Gross Professor of Political Science Paul Pierson.  It will be followed by a Los Angeles salon featuring advisory board member and Political Economy alumnus Mark Rosenberg ’02, ’12 PhD, founder of GeoQuant.  Please stay tuned for the invitations, as we’d love to have you join us.


We have developed new concentrations that are more closely linked to current issues and career opportunities and that incorporate more econometrics and data science.

·  International Trade with Economic Analysis

·  International Development with Economic Analysis

·  Technology and the Economy with Data

·  ScienceFinancial Economics


As interdisciplinary majors, Political Economy students have always had difficulty getting into popular classes in the Economics, Political Science, and Sociology departments among others.  The Political Economy faculty has conducted research on PE students’ inability to take certain classes and has presented this data to the other departments to change the process to ensure Political Economy students are able to take the electives they require and desire.  Our enhanced fundraising means we are also able to guarantee blocks of seats for Political Economy students in impacted courses, by providing additional graduate student and teaching assistant support.


We believe in measuring the impact of our work, and are thrilled to share that we have had very positive results from our surveys and measurement tools:

·  Student feedback on events (very positive)

·  Student attendance at events (very well-attended)

·   Student feedback on improved department services (strong)

·  Website activity (strong)

We continue to seek feedback in order to make our work even more impactful for our students as well as our alumni.


Academic Year 2019 saw our highest annual fund total ever, growing 5X year over year to $33,000. Our goal for 2020 is to raise $100,000 for the Political Economy Annual Fund, giving Program Chair Steven Vogel flexible resources to support our students.

Additionally, we raised $50,000 to support teaching and student scholarships. Our goals for the current academic year, in addition to growing our annual fund, are to secure dedicated graduate student fellowship funding and faculty support for teaching and research. These dovetail with our long range fundraising goals of establishing an endowed chair in Political Economy with supporting endowed graduate student fellowships.

We hope you will consider giving a gift to Political Economy to support undergraduate research, curricular innovation, student networking events and our interactive online UC Berkeley Political Economy platform to help us further achieve our mission of making the Political Economy major at Cal the best globally.  Every donation large or small directly helps our PE students.


Please give Today to Political Economy

We wish you all the best for 2020 and hope to see you at a UCB Political Economy event soon!

With gratitude,

Katy Reynolds  ’88      Eric Davis ’93
Co Chair                      Co Chair



Join the Charter Hill Society for Political Economy!

We are proud to present The Charter Hill Society of Political Economy, as part of the broader program in the College of Letter & Science. Charter Hill members make a three-year pledge to the Political Economy program of $1,000 or more per year. Gifts directly support the program. Members will be invited to special programming for Political Economy, as well as to events with Charter Hill members from around the College.

To become a member of the Charter Hill Society, make a three-year commitment online (One-time gifts can also be made.) For more information or questions, contact Christian Gordon at or 510-666-2725.


Political Economy Major Map

How to Declare a Major

The Berkeley Network for a New Political Economy