The St. Mary’s capstone project allows an you to focus one aspect of their what you have learned during your time at St. Mary’s. Faculty aids with the selection of a topic and then individually mentors you through the research process. Research may include internship experience and study abroad.
Political Science SMPs
A Political Science SMP is a yearlong, independent and sustained research endeavor individually supervised by faculty and presented publicly at year’s end. Political Science SMPs focus on a diverse range of topics and methodologies. You are encouraged to pursue both traditional research and interdisciplinary perspectives, combining political science with other academic interests.
All Political Science SMPs incorporate independent research, topic development, resource literacy, successful argumentation, writing proficiency, and integrated critical synthesis.
Neil Irwin ’00
Major: Political Science
Current Position: Senior Economic Correspondent for The New York Times; former columnist and economics editor of The Washington Post; Author, “The Alchemists: There Central Bankers and a World of Fire”
St. Mary’s Project: “Political economy of the international monetary fund actions in Russia, 1981-1999”
Mentor: Asif Dowla
Explain the connection/thread from SMP to where you are now.
I have always been deeply interested in economics but without quantitative skills to be a professional economist. I’m much better at being a storyteller and a translator of concepts in economics and economic policy for a broad audience…In my SMP. I was trying to explain the interplay of politics and economic in 1990s Russia through one multinational institution. In the last six years I have aimed to explain the interplay of politics and economics in the United States and Europe through a different set of institutions. In this case the central banks.
When you were a student working on you SMP, you told your economics professor Asif Dowla, that you wanted to be a journalist specializing in economics reporting and write books on current topics. Your book, “The Alchemists,” is a New York Times bestseller about the efforts of the world’s central banks to combat the financial crisis and its aftermath. It was shortlisted for the Financial Times – Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. Have you lived your dream?
Definitely. There were plenty of ways in which I was lucky, but I also had the benefit of a first-rate education from [Prof. Dowla] and other St. Mary’s professors, which gave me the intellectual tools to take advantage of the opportunities when they arose.