Student Stories

UChicago College student awarded Carnegie fellowship to conduct U.S. foreign policy research in Washington, D.C.

Adele Malle to get hands-on research and policy experience working alongside senior scholars as a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow in the prestigious Carnegie Endowment program

Adele Malle first began thinking about a career in U.S. foreign policy in 2010, when the Islamic State terror organization had captured much of Syria and Iraq. She wanted to learn Arabic to better understand the conflict but it wasn’t offered at her high school—so she elected to study abroad in Jordan during her sophomore year. 

Now fluent in Arabic, the University of Chicago College student is ready to seize another unique opportunity, helped by a prestigious fellowship that will enable her to work with experts in Washington, D.C.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently selected the fourth-year political science major to be a part of the James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship Program, a one-year research fellowship awarded to twelve students annually that gives high-achieving students a chance to work alongside senior scholars.

Malle is uniquely qualified for the role. In addition to her strong academic background in Political Science, History, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Malle speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish. She also brings extensive research and writing experience to the appointment, along with an academic focus in international affairs.

Following graduation, Malle will work as a research assistant at the Carnegie Endowment’s American Statecraft program in Washington, D.C. She will assist senior fellows with research for books, articles and papers, and participate in meetings and briefings with government officials, scholars and journalists. As a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow, Malle will enhance her knowledge of U.S. foreign policy, gain research mentorship, and broaden her professional networks.  

“My goal is to eventually prepare and support congressional testimony and meet high-level government officials and scholars, and the mentorship experiences this summer will go a long way in helping me achieve that,” she said. 

Malle’s work in the nation’s capital will build on the journey she began years ago in Jordan. While attending King’s Academy in the ancient town of Madaba, she took intensive Arabic courses and learned as much as she could about the security issues facing the Middle East. 

The following summer, she was selected as an American delegate to Seeds of Peace, a peacebuilding and leadership development organization. Back home in New York City, Malle participated in peaceful political dialogue with teenagers from across the Middle East in an effort to foster better relationships in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She then spent the next two summers volunteering at Ritsona Refugee Camp in Greece, where she worked alongside refugees and gained valuable insights into their lived experiences.

“At Seeds of Peace, I saw firsthand how important it is for Americans to listen to local perspectives before shaping policy views,” she said. “Similarly, at Ritsona, I saw again that local perspectives are invaluable in addressing the needs of a population through policy. Participating and listening to in-person dialogue and seeing how it can be used to drive effective policy decisions is what drew me initially to Carnegie, a think tank that emphasizes peaceful conflict resolution.”

Malle has taken on several leadership roles as a student in the College that have reaffirmed her enthusiasm for both academic and policy research. Over the last three years, she has worked at UChicago’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats, where she has contributed to research on topics ranging from the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda propaganda to the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. 

She is writing her political science thesis on campaigns of sexual violence in wars in an effort to understand what motivates group leaders to impose policies of sexual violence. 

“Adele is a curious, motivated student with a deep interest in questions surrounding political violence and foreign policy,” said Assoc. Prof. Paul Staniland, who advises Malle’s senior thesis and serves as a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. “Her intellectual drive and work ethic will serve her well at the Carnegie Endowment and beyond.”

After completing her fellowship, Malle hopes to pursue further  opportunities in international relations and eventually work in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. She said she is grateful for the chance to gain a unique understanding of the role of both think tanks and governments in shaping U.S. foreign policy, as a part of the Carnegie Endowment. 

“I owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who helped proofread essays, practice interviews, and to those who took the time to write recommendations on my behalf that helped me earn this fellowship,” Malle said. “There are so many classmates, coworkers, professors, and teaching assistants who have shaped my time at UChicago, and who have inspired me to keep pushing myself. I hope to carry that cerebral energy and ambition with me after graduation.”

Malle secured University nomination and received application support from the College Center for Research and Fellowships, which facilitates annual nomination processes and guides candidates through rigorous applications for nationally competitive fellowships.