Maribeth Gainard

Class Year: 

Hometown: Medina, Ohio, USA


Medina Senior High School


My first-year roommate, a pentalingual Indian woman from Dubai, made Baigan Bharta while I explained K-Mart; she described Diwali—the festival of lights—while I recounted prom highlights… The lasting bonds I formed with fellow Huntsmanites are perhaps the most remarkable part of my experience: I attended my freshman year roommate’s wedding in Bombay last fall.

Through a Huntsman Summer Study Grant, Maribeth spent her sophomore college summer in Bamako, Mali, as a participant in Penn's Technology for Education project. She collaborated with others to install a computer lab and train teachers as well as professors so they, in turn, could teach their students to obtain educational materials through the Internet.  She came to love Francophone Africa and pursued research concerning the role of women in economic development. With a heightened interest in microfinance initiatives and how they can improve the lives of women, Maribeth visited one of the micro-banks and spoke with the president and managing director—both women. This research led her to spend one year in Bamako, Mali after graduation where, as a Fulbright Fellow, she worked with a local microfinance institution (Jigiyaso Ba) and pursued independent research on the role of organizational learning in economic development. 

In 2003, she moved to Paris to study at Sciences Po as a Rotary World Peace Fellow.  At Sciences Po, Maribeth completed a Master's in International Affairs with a certificate in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution as well as a Master Recherche in Economics of International Relations.  She has spoken at conferences in Maastricht (The Netherlands), Lille (France), and Libreville (Gabon) about her experiences in Mali, her work at Sciences Po, and the role of economic development in international security and the resolution of conflicts. In June 2005, she presented a paper on cotton subsidies at HEI's WTO Conference in Geneva. 

Following her Master's program, she worked at the French Center on the US of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and at UNESCO for the Secretary of the Executive Board.  She worked for two years as a financial auditor at Ernst & Young, Paris in the Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment division.  Last year, she received a Bosch Fellowship and lived in Berlin working first for the Auswaertiges Amt (German Federal Foreign Office) and then for the Global Public Policy Institute. Maribeth has now returned to the US and lives in Chicago where she is in the Northwestern JD/MBA program class of 2011.