Q & A: 2014 Rhodes Scholar Jonathan Pedde ’14
Jonathan Pedde ’14, an economics and mathematics double major with a minor in engineering sciences, was recently named one of 83 Rhodes Scholars for 2014. He and fellow Canadian Joseph Singh ’14, a government major, were the two students selected from Dartmouth to receive full scholarships to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Oxford.
Pedde is the second Dartmouth engineering student to win a Rhodes Scholarship. The first was Ian Sue Wing ’93 Th’94, who majored in both engineering and environmental studies and is now an associate professor in Boston University’s Department of Earth & Environment.
Pedde says he hopes to earn a master’s in economics and then pursue a career at a public policy think tank. We asked him:
What led you to minor in engineering?
In high school, I enjoyed studying physics, and I particularly enjoyed solving some of the more applied problems in this subject. When I was choosing which university to attend, Professor Erland Schulson was kind enough to speak with me about the opportunities afforded by Thayer, and he made a pretty persuasive case in favor of engineering.
How does engineering dovetail with your interests in economics and math?
I am particularly interested in macroeconomics. While most macroeconomists today take a scientific and mathematical approach to studying the macroeconomy, the field originally arose as a result of the Great Depression, and many early practitioners viewed themselves as engineers who were trying to solve the problem of depression prevention. Given the events of the last few years, this early perspective is of great interest to me.
How do you think your engineering studies will aid your future work in public policy?
In ENGS 21, I really enjoyed learning the engineering problem-solving method. Since then I’ve realized that this method can be applied in all sorts of different situations—including public-policy problems.