Undergraduate Academic Affairs

April 22, 2021

UW senior Maha Alhomoud named Carnegie Junior Fellow

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Maha AlhomoudMaha Alhomoud, a University of Washington senior majoring in political science, has been selected as a 2021-22 Junior Fellow by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A highly competitive award, only 5% of applicants are selected for the Carnegie Gaither Junior Fellows program each year.  The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a unique global network of policy research centers in Russia, China, Europe, the Middle East, India and the United States. Its mission is to advance the cause of peace through analysis and development of fresh policy ideas and direct engagement and collaboration with decision-makers in government, business and civil society. Alhomoud will join the Middle East program. 

Fellows work alongside the Carnegie Foundation’s senior researchers and also have the opportunity to join meetings with high-level officials and contribute to the Foundation’s publications. In addition, as a full-time employee of the Foundation, they receive an annual salary and a generous benefits package. For Alhomoud, who is passionate about turning research into meaningful public policy, this opportunity is a chance to see how research is used to form policy, and how that policy goes on to impact people’s lives. She hopes her work impacts the development of sustainable healthcare and employment policies, particularly those from groups that are disproportionately marginalized in the Middle East. 

Alhomoud is an international student from Saudi Arabia. She has always been interested in examining the contextual factors that create unique political systems in different countries, especially in the Middle Eastern context, leading her to focus on studying political economy. She is interested in studying resource reliance, authoritarianism and state-society relations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states as they relate to political economy and comparative studies. Alhomoud is currently working on her political science honors thesis, supervised by Professor Whiting. Alhomoud’s work explores the evolution of extractive and distributive institutions in Saudi Arabia, specifically as they relate to taxation, and how the introduction of extractive policies impacts state-society relations. As the country is undergoing rapid change per its economic diversification roadmap, VISION2030, employing a process-tracing methodology has helped her understand the intersection between politics and economics. 

Previously, as an undergraduate fellow for the Center for American Politics and Public Policy (CAPPP), Alhomoud designed a project concerning corruption, foreign direct investment and economic diversification in a panel study of 17 major oil exporters over time. She is also currently an undergraduate research assistant in the political science department to Kenya Amano, Ph.C., where she’s working on a project about central bank independence.

In addition to her academics, Alhomoud advocates for increased international student representation at the university level. This year, she earned a Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship to establish the first ASUW office dedicated to international student advocacy. For this project, she’s leading a team of 15 people to determine the new office’s mission, structure, budget and program. She is also a mentor for the International Student Mentorship Program (ISMP) at UW. 

In the next few years, and especially as venues for Saudi women in the political sphere are increasing, she wants to learn more about the conduct of foreign affairs at the government level in Saudi Arabia and the GCC. During this time, she also plans to explore and rely more on local archives and works produced in the region for independent research projects. Long term, Alhomoud’s goal is to pursue a dual-graduate degree in law and political science and attain a membership in the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, she hopes her work “contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the Middle East and more inclusive reform as countries diversify beyond oil to address the impacts of different policies on different segments of society, especially those who are disproportionately affected.” 

A feature story about Alhomoud will be coming soon. 


About the Carnegie Gaither Junior Fellows Program

The James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is designed to provide a substantive work experience for students who have a serious career interest in the area of international affairs. Approximately 12-14 students will be hired to work as employees at Carnegie in Washington, DC on a full-time basis for a period of one year. Gaither Junior Fellows provide research assistance to scholars working on Carnegie Endowment’s projects. They are matched with senior associates – academics, former government officials, lawyers and journalists from around the world – to work on a variety of international affairs issues. Junior Fellows have the opportunity to conduct research for Carnegie publications, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony and organize briefings attended by scholars, journalists and government officials.

About the Office of Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards

The Carnegie Gaither Junior Fellow application process is supported by the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards (OMSFA), a UAA program. OMSFA works with faculty, staff and students to identify and support promising students in developing the skills and personal insights necessary to become strong candidates for this and other prestigious awards. The UW campus application process for students interested in Carnegie Junior Fellowship (and other scholarships supporting graduate studies around the world) will get started this spring for 2022-23 awards.