MJ Uzzi

MJ’s Journey


MJ Uzzi


Economics and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies


Scarborough, Maine

My dad and I flew here at the last minute in March of my senior year, and I did not expect to love Grinnell as much as I did. When I came to campus, I fell in love with the down-to-earth feeling I had at Grinnell. A large section of the lawn on campus had been torn up and there was a muddy tractor on it — they must have been re-seeding or something.

And I can’t pinpoint exactly what about that moment resonated with me so much, but it felt like such a regular, down-to-earth moment. Grinnell wasn’t trying to be fancy or dressed up, it was bringing together smart people in a great community. And I really loved that, so I decided to enroll.

Picture of me visiting campus as a senior in high school

I did not expect to love Grinnell as much as I did; the campus was beautiful and the people were down to earth!

Political Activism, First Year

My first year at Grinnell, I was on campus for about six months until COVID sent us home in March. However, within those six months, I got super involved in the caucus process here! I worked for the Pete Buttigieg campaign in Iowa and got to meet many different candidates who came to Grinnell to speak and hear the student voices.

Being in the caucuses here was an amazing experience that I can’t imagine missing.


Happy Memories!


Living Together with Friends

In my first year, I met my best friends — the friends I still live with now. One of my friends was in my New Student Orientation small group, a few lived on my floor, and all of them lived near me on East Campus. They are some of the kindest and smartest people I’ve ever known.

I missed them dearly when COVID hit. During the pandemic, though, we figured out a way to live together!


I spent the first quarter of the year living just outside Washington, D.C. with one of my friends, and the second and third quarters living in the suburbs of Chicago with my seven best friends. We had such a fun time living together, spending time by Lake Michigan, cooking and gathering together, and enjoying the Chicago snow/winter!

When we got together the last quarter of my second year in Grinnell, my friends and I went together to the Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa. There was live music and lots of fun fair food, and the tulips were so beautiful!

I was so lucky to be able to do this. Although I missed campus dearly, it was such a silver lining to be living with fellow Grinnellians and studying outside D.C. and Chicago, two amazing cities that I had never really explored on my own before.

My friend and I sitting in front of the tulips at the Tulip Festival
Me jumping excitedly at the Tulip Festival!
Beautiful tulips in front of a circular sculpture at the Tulip Festival

Choosing My Majors

I've known I wanted to be an economics major since high school. And when I came to Grinnell, my adviser and tutorial professor, knowing that I enjoyed learning about and discussing gender dynamics, encouraged me to take Introduction to Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies (GWSS).

I really appreciate how my adviser encouraged me to take a course in something that I was interested in! I've heard that not many colleges have the flexibility to just explore since they have a lot of general education requirements to get through on top of major requirements. I'm really grateful for Grinnell's flexibility in that regard — I was able to double major in both economics and GWSS.

The best part? They turned out to be great and unexpected complements to each other. Economics is the department that teaches you how to allocate resources efficiently, while GWSS is the department that teaches you how to allocate them equitably. I really appreciate how both of my majors inform me about creating positive impacts in the world.

Off-Campus Study

During my third year, I went abroad and lived in Stockholm, Sweden, doing a Women and Gender Studies program. I absolutely loved Sweden, and I miss it all the time! I got to live in an apartment in downtown Stockholm, take the Tunnelbana (underground metro) to school every day, and learn from some of the best art, photography, history, and social science museums in Scandinavia.

I also got to travel around a lot, seeing Sweden from top to bottom! We spent lots of time in the cities (Malmö, Uppsala, Stockholm, Umeå, and Kiruna), but I also spent lots of time hiking in Sweden’s many nature preserves and enjoying the beauty of the landscape in rural Sweden.

Beautiful castle in Sweden
MJ feating a small reindeer
Went to Uppsala, Sweden
MJ at table with two dishes in front
The original Ikea in Sweden

Summer Research at Grinnell

Summer after my junior year, I was a research assistant for Professor Tammy McGavock in the economics department. In this role, I worked on creating literature reviews, working with data in Stata (which is a statistical software that a lot of economists use), and I got to see a lot of different parts of the research process.

I would say it gave me my first real taste of economic research and definitely showed me what my life would be like as a research economist. It also showed me that economists can make important contributions to equity and gender, which was something that I was very pleasantly surprised by! I learned a lot about how to problem-solve on my own and worked hard to persevere through challenges.


Hopes and Plans for the Future

Hero Image with Text

I'm happy to announce that starting in July, I'm going to be a research associate in New York City at NERA! It's a big economic consulting company, and I'm going to be a part of their anti-trust practice.

I do think that the tasks and the type of work that I'll be doing is very much the kind of work that I have been doing as a research assistant at Grinnell. My classes at Grinnell have definitely prepared me well, especially heavily in the statistics and the economic theory parts of my education, which I'll take with me to NERA.

I want to thank my advisers for all the guidance they've offered during my time here. I always knew that economic consulting was a path that was available to me, but my advisers were the ones who really helped me realize it. My data and research experiences at Grinnell have prepared me well for this position, and my major adviser and Career, Life, and Services adviser have been with me every step of the way by helping me gain the necessary skills, identifying opportunities and companies that would be a great fit for me, and assisting me with the application process.


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