Meet the Team: Jiakun 'Jack' Li

By RepresentWomen by on October 03, 2018

Hello! My name is Jiakun ‘Jack’ Li, the new research intern at RepresentWomen. I am a recent graduate from Johns Hopkins University Applied Economics Program, a teaching assistant at School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) for Macroeconomics, and a research assistant on STATA programming and code replication for Assistant Professor Ryan Kim at SAIS. I was born and raised in Shanghai, China, a city bursting with endless nightlife and countless entertainment. After work, I enjoy trying out new restaurants (I appreciate all types of cuisine, especially Chinese, Thai and Italian), working out, playing board games (Settler of Catan) and watching GoT/West World. In addition, I love learning new languages (Spanish in progress) and hope to achieve Italian or Portuguese next.

In January 2017, I landed in Washington, D.C. and I witnessed the historical outcome of the 2016 presidential election. I was deeply struck due to the subsequent influence of politics on people’s daily lives, such as the 2018 Tax Reform and the termination of DACA program, which strengthened my interest in politics and led to the research internship at RepresentWomen.

During my master’s program, I was determined to undertake the course Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) out of passion for policy impact evaluation, from which I learned different approaches to eliminate multiple sorts of biases coming from referendums and/or surveys. As of May 2018, I joined Argentinian NGO, Hecho Por Nosotros, as a volunteer economist and assisted them in addressing United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG5 ‘Gender Equality’ and SDG8 ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’. Working with the organization,I ran an analysis on ‘Minimum Wage Regulation’ in Latin American manufacturing industries, which has a far greater impact on women and children, as they’re constantly underpaid.

My interest in U.S. politics and passion for gender equality drove me to apply for RepresentWomen. I believe that recent events in American politics have shown everybody that there is still much to do in order to improve the quality of political representation across the country. As I am now living and working in the US, I believe it is a moral imperative for me to help improve the local situation and to contribute achieving RepresentWomen’s mission.

I aspire to gain more insights on the U.S. political system and voting system along the journey of this internship. And I would love to pass on what I’ve learned to the general public to improve the effectiveness of the voting system.

A core credo that I live by is to make something good out of what I have. I hope at the end of the internship, I could at least change one voter’s perception of the voting system. In the future, I will continue researching on gender equality and racial empowerment in international organizations, such as the World Bank Group (WBG), International Monetary Fund (IMF), or Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).