Nirali Vyas ‘16 is a research and program associate for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a law and policy institute that describes itself as “part think tank, part advocacy group, and part communications hub.” Vyas works within the organization’s Money in Politics team, where she leads and conducts a number of quantitative research projects looking at fundraising patterns in elections both national and in New York state. She is especially interested in how candidates appeal to and interact with certain classes of donors, as well as to what extent they engage constituents. “The research that me and my colleagues conduct inform the organization’s legal/legislative advocacy work and help shape public discourse around key democracy reforms related to campaign finance, voting, redistricting, election security, etc.”
Vyas was drawn to the Brennan Center because of its dual focus on law and academic research. Her role within the organization also aligns with her interest in becoming a public interest lawyer. She plans to use her current role as a launching pad into law school, where she can obtain the legal skills required to do direct-service work representing low-income clients.
An economics major, Vyas took a number of courses that helped her to develop a critical mindset and sound numeric judgment. “The statistical computing and analytical skills I gained as part of the Economics department are invaluable to the work I do on a daily basis.”
Vyas currently resides in Jersey City, NJ, where she enjoys vegan cooking, reading, and visiting art museums. Her advice to current students? “Try to cultivate close relationships with your professors and talk to them about your interest/understanding of the substantive aspects of the course. Besides being tremendously smart and hardworking, professors are a great resource for career and general advice.”