Gabriel sitting in a chair
Gabriel Barnett New York, NY College of Arts & Sciences
I do like having the range of schools and the range of students here because it makes things a lot more's great to have a little microcosm of the real world and not just be in one silo or one bubble.
Social Sciences

Gabriel’s interests are rooted in government and history. In high school inNew York, he was student body president and learned about domestic and foreign policy on the debate and Model United Nations teams. Gabriel enrolled in his first political science class during the fall semester of his freshman year at Penn. Professor Nancy Hirschmann’s course Contemporary Political Thought introduced him to the complex and deeply analytical work required for political science classes. In Dr. Hirschmann’s class, Gabriel grappled with the notion of freedom and engaged with readings by Isaiah Berlin, Michel Foucault, and Dorothy Roberts. Dr. Hirschmann’s class led Gabriel to declare a Political Science major and he went on to concentrate in American politics and international relations.


As part of his Political Science major, Gabriel is writing his honors thesis on economic interdependence and conflict. Gabriel’s research looks at the causal relationship between trade and war. Since existing scholarship on this topic is largely quantitative, Gabriel is working through a qualitative approach, using case studies to identify the mechanisms by which trade agreements may help prevent conflict and stabilize relations between previously disputatious countries.As he progresses in this work, Gabriel meets regularly with his advisor, Professor Edward Mansfield, the Director of Penn’s Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics and an expert on preferential trade agreements. Gabriel always leaves these discussions with new insight and a list of books and articles to read.

Public Policy

Gabriel chose The Penn in Washington Semester Program to apply his political science knowledge and make an impact in the nation’s capital. There, he interned at the Penn Biden Center and took classes with D.C.-based professionals. At the Center, Gabriel helped write speeches, policy memos, and briefings on global affairs for Vice President Joe Biden and his foreign policy team. Throughthe Penn in Washington program, Gabriel gained an inside look at the policymaking process and made connections with influential leaders with on-the-ground experience in the White House, the Department of Defense, and the State Department.Gabriel’s D.C. semester experience led him to his next summer internship at theBrennan Center for Justice and his volunteer work for Vice President Biden’s presidential campaign, which is headquartered in Philadelphia.


Gabriel’s on-campus leadership demonstrates his commitment to political engagement. On the board since freshman year, Gabriel is now Editor-In-Chief of Sound Politicks, the Undergraduate Journal of Political Science. Gabriel also employs his writing skills and political savvy for an entirely different medium, The Pennsylvania Punch Bowl, a campus satirical journal for which he writes a political satire column. Moreover, on Penn’s politically active campus, Gabriel and the Penn Dems board successfully expanded efforts to increase voter registration and encourage civic engagement following the 2016 election. Gabriel also stays involved in local and state elections through canvassing efforts on and off campus.

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