Carpenter to attend London School of Economics

Carpenter to attend London School of Economics

May 23, 2019 

Kalyn Carpenter ’19, a recent Maryville College graduate, has been accepted to the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), where she will pursue a Master of Science (MSc) in Gender, Development and Globalization.

LSE recently was ranked fourth in the world for politics and international relations and third in development studies, Carpenter said, adding that the program she’ll enter is competitive – only accepting 28 of 158 applicants for the 2017 year.

“By studying the MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization, I'll be able to excel in a variety of fields professionally, whether working in business, policy or non-profits, due to its broad but intensive coursework,” said Carpenter, a political science major from Granbury, Texas. “This means that I will not only be maximizing my work opportunities, but that I'll also be maximizing the ways that I can make a positive impact.” 

Studying Global Challenges

Carpenter said she has long been fascinated with gender studies and jumped at the chance to pursue the Gender and Women’s Studies minor at MC when it was launched in 2016. While taking classes related to her political science major and international studies minor, she “began to fall in love with” conflict and development politics.

“I loved that studying these subjects at Maryville gave me the opportunity to see multiple connections and bring insight from other courses to make better sense of some of the most pressing problems facing the world,” Carpenter said.

Her extracurricular activities on campus, particularly her involvement with the Hult Prize, furthered her interest. Founded in 2009 by Hult International Business School graduate Ahmad Ashkar and run by the Hult Prize Foundation, the Hult Prize competition challenges teams of students enrolled at colleges and universities around the world to develop business plans that address a global social challenge. Teams of three or four students develop innovative startup enterprises to solve the problem and then compete in multiple rounds over several months until a winner is announced. In addition to a $1 million prize, the winning team receives mentorship and advice from the international business community. Maryville College has participated in the competition since 2015, and Carpenter both competed and served as campus director.

“The Hult Prize program allowed me to view development issues from a more business-oriented stance, seeking to find solutions that can be done through a social enterprise, while still analyzing the problem using the skills and knowledge I learned in my political science, gender and international studies courses,” she said. 

Dr. John Gallagher, professor of management and faculty advisor for the Hult Prize at MC, said he was impressed by Carpenter’s passion, commitment and imagination.

“What impressed me about Kalyn from the beginning was her passion – for social enterprise – for the possibilities that social enterprise offered to address problems,” Gallagher said. “Second was her commitment. She was relentless in her encouragement of the competing teams, always pushing them to think more clearly, sell themselves more persuasively, and to believe in their solutions

“Passion and commitment sound like clichés (and they are) but these were evident not only in regard to the Hult Prize,” the professor continued. “Kalyn was also a student in my Contemporary Global Issues class at the same time that she was the campus coordinator for the Hult Prize competition. The Hult Prize challenge became a focal point for our class discussions, and Kalyn always provoked imaginative discussion – imaginative as in generative creativity, not illusion.”

Internship Abroad

 She was initially set on going to law school, but that changed during an internship abroad. Her international studies minor included a requirement to spend six weeks abroad, and with the help of MC’s Center for International Education, she applied for an internship in London. Dr. Lisa Cameron– a Member of Parliament (MP) – saw her resume and offered her a spot.

“I was expecting it to be similar to the horror stories I've heard from those who've interned on Capitol Hill in D.C. – a meaningless experience of getting coffees, being shouted at on the phone and rarely having any contact with the representative or senator you're working for,” Carpenter said. “My experience was the exact opposite. On my very first day, I was tasked with helping research and prepare a brief and speech on the historic Ivory Bill that Dr. Cameron was leading, just in time for her to deliver it that night.”

While at times she did have to field phone calls from angry constituents or take turns grabbing iced coffees during last summer’s London heatwave, the majority of her time was spent playing an active part helping with policy and the functions of the office. She researched problems and analyzed policy; helped prepare and compose briefs, speeches and press releases; wrote Written Questions and Early Day Motions; regularly attended the International Trade and International Development select committees to take notes on behalf of Cameron; and often acted as Cameron's surrogate at several All-Party Parliamentary Group events (the APPG events for Fashion and Pubs were her favorites). 

Graduate School Plans

It was during her London internship that her career aspirations became clear.

“In the midst of doing all this, on a rather sweaty tube ride on the Bakerloo line back to my flat from Westminster, I was reflecting on the day and how excited I was to start on the work I had voluntarily brought home with me, when it clicked – this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” she said. “I loved the daily excitement of researching policy, finding the gaps or ways in which it was faulty, then helping to propose solutions to fix them. I had completely fallen in love with the city of London at that time, so it only seemed like a natural next step to begin looking at master’s programs in the area.”

She said she was aware of London School of Economics and its prestige and decided to explore the programs offered. When she learned about the MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization, she said “it was meant to be.”

 “The program seemed like the perfect culmination of all my niche interests and all my favorite things that I had studied through undergrad,” she said. “As an added bonus, I had noticed from several of the International Development meetings that the UK government was looking to expand trade with developing countries and, in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, they were wanting to ensure sustainable and safe economic and political development in those areas while seeking to improve more substantive democratic goals, specifically gender equality.” 

MC Experience

Carpenter said she feels well-positioned to succeed and thrive in graduate school, partly due to MC’s intensive curriculum and course structure in the Political Science, Gender Studies and International Studies programs.

“The courses I took at MC were designed and structured to be provocative, to make students see things from different perspectives, and to examine the unexpected ways in which things are connected to help develop unexpected, innovative solutions to these pressing questions,” Carpenter said. “I was able to debate, discuss and have conversations about sensitive and complex issues in those classrooms, unpacking problems and hearing others' input in ways that I simply would not have been able to if I had chosen to go to a large state school for my undergrad. The intimacy of the classes at Maryville also put the pressure on students to be informed and aware of what was happening in the world and to be able to find connections and applications between our lectures and reality – a skill that is not only important to have for my master’s program and future work, but one that I find to be imperative to being a good world citizen.”

“All of these things, compounded with Maryville's encouragement of student lecture facilitation, liberal arts curriculum and the requirements for a senior thesis and a comprehensive exam – which are similar expectations for my master’s program – are all reasons why I'm primed to thrive in a competitive and highly academic environment like LSE,” she continued.

She also said her Senior Study helped improve her graduate school application. Her study focused on how the gender bias and phallo-centrality of the United Kingdom's Sexual Offences Act of 2003 negatively affects male victims' reporting patterns and experiences, especially in cases in which the perpetrator is female.

“Aside from showing that I'm capable of producing a written work of that length and researching at that level, I believe it showed my willingness to look at issues through this lens of feminist praxis,” she said. “I also believe it was helpful for me to be examining male victimization, as it's widely ignored in research, but especially in UK research.”

Carpenter’s advisor, Dr. Frances Henderson, describes her advisee as “an extraordinary student and person.”

“As a political science major and gender and women's studies minor, early on she demonstrated the ability to master the material,” said Henderson, associate professor of Political Science and coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies minor at MC. “But perhaps what stands out most about Kalyn as a student is her ability to cogently articulate the ideas that she encountered, and integrate her own ideas with those as well. She is thoughtful, determined, driven and compassionate inside and outside of the classroom. As her advisor, I witnessed her carve out her own path by researching opportunities for internships outside of the U.S., often ‘cold-calling’ organizations and people to manifest these opportunities. She is courageous and unafraid to be provocative, while simultaneously engaging people where they are. I am excited for her as she enters this next phase of life and scholarship at the London School of Economics."


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”