A Graduate’s Journey from Chapel Hill to New Zealand

Graduate Emma Cohn poses in front of the Well.

Despite an unconventional college experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, December 2023 graduate Emma Cohn excelled with a 4.0 GPA in public policy and global studies at Carolina. She also was a Carolina Covenant scholar and engaged in impactful social science research, leveraging internships to address societal issues.

“I like social science research because it allows me to explore how the systems that we have created work together and set up the world that we live in, on both a local scale and in the broader global context,” Cohn said.

While interning for the North Carolina Justice Center, she helped assemble the annual “State of Working North Carolina” report. She analyzed data that exposed her to the economic realities of the state, such as the widening of the wealth gap that occurred during the pandemic.

Because of the pandemic and Cohn studying abroad as a junior, her time on Carolina’s campus was rather short lived. She only spent 2½ semesters in Chapel Hill.

“I had a very interesting college experience and not a traditional one. It’s not what I expected, but I got out of it what I wanted.”

The atypicality of her collegiate journey continued post-graduation as she made her way to Auckland, New Zealand, just a month after graduating. She is using a 12-month work visa to take a gap year to explore a new country and spend time studying for the GRE while applying to graduate programs.

Luckily, Cohn won’t take on New Zealand by herself — one of her friends at Carolina, Morehead-Cain Scholar Charlotte Dorn ’23moved to Auckland the summer after graduation to begin her career as a research and development engineer at Halter, a cattle technology company. Cohn is excited to have a friend in a new place.

Cohn is thinking of working in the coffee industry; New Zealand is highly regarded for its specialty coffee. Cohn is looking forward to learning more about coffee from a social science perspective, from a drinking perspective and from an academic perspective.

Written by Michael Lananna, University Communications

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