Emilie Montgomery ’18
Emilie Montgomery ’18 arrived at Bowdoin fully intending to pursue the Pre-Med path. However, by the end of sophomore year, after taking a class in Government and another in Economics, she realized that she needed to abruptly change course. Now, she has almost completed her Government & Legal Studies/Economics double major and hopes to work with developing communities to empower women after she graduates.
Bowdoin has had a huge impact on Emilie’s educational trajectory, which has in turn affected her career pursuits. She came to Bowdoin searching for intellectual engagement, and says her hope was almost immediately fulfilled. Her first Government course was the real watershed moment. “My first government class was Politics of Development, and that was sort of when I thought ‘wow, this is what I want to do with my life,’” Emilie said.
With help from her professor, she began to engage with the topic of economic development outside of the classroom. Emilie received a funded internship grant from the Preston Public Interest Career Fund through Bowdoin Career Planning, which allowed her to work in Kenya last summer as an intern with the BOMA Project. The organization funds and trains groups of economically disadvantaged women so that after two years, they have the resources to start businesses. Emilie worked on monitoring and evaluating the program throughout its lifecycle, which included report writing and data analysis.
“Even if I don’t want to continue doing data, it was really cool to see the progress reports of the participants and see how much the program training actually changes lives,” Emily said. One particularly interesting piece of data was a survey taken by participants before and after the program. Emilie explained how the survey results changed from answers such as “husband makes every household decision” to “woman takes charge of a lot of decisions”, proving BOMA’s efforts to empower women successful.
She realized by going into the field this summer and talking to a variety of people, that she wants to pursue a career geared toward community advocacy after Bowdoin. She strives to have a direct impact on people’s lives. Emilie adds, “The experience reaffirmed the fact that I definitely want to go back to East Africa and work there.”
Emilie has found a career path that can combine her Bowdoin studies and interests, to make a difference in the world. Emilie said, “It’s great that Bowdoin’s liberal arts focus allows you to take so many different classes. Otherwise I would probably still be on the med school track.”