Julia Morriss, Research Assistant, Cato Institute Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives
Cato Intern Class Summer 2012
How did you decide to intern at the Cato Institute?
I wanted an experience that would help me better understand the foundations of libertarianism. I knew Cato would give me the chance to meet and hear from a wide variety of scholars on a big range of topics. I knew enough about Cato to know it was the best place to learn about public policy from a free market perspective.
How did the internship affect the way you think about public policy?
It gave me a framework to evaluate every kind of public policy. The internship seminars taught us about logic, economics, history, and philosophy. They created a background that supported libertarian policy. Cato focused not just on educating us on particular policies, but on making sure we understood the classical liberal reasoning behind all those policies. That foundation has helped me in every role I held since the internship.
What kind of work are you doing now?
I am the Research Assistant for Cato’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. I get to work with Cato scholars every day on the issues I started learning in the internship. The network I made and maintained during my internship was a huge part in getting this role. Not only did the internship give me an education, but it gave me the network I needed to succeed in the public policy world.
What advice can you offer to fellow alumni who want to secure a job like yours?
Keep up your network! The scholars and staff you meet at Cato will be some of the most helpful people in your career. Ask them for advice and help. Make sure to have some good projects to showcase on your resume that highlight your analytical skills.
What’s something important — policy, philosophy, or something else — that you’ve changed your mind about recently? Why?
I used to think that libertarians should not ever compromise and that we should only accept full libertarian policy solutions. I’ve since learned that this approach will get you almost nowhere. I’ve learned to embrace the idea of more incremental policy change and to learn to be more willing to consider ideas that aren’t exactly what I believe.