Tara Grillos

Class Year: 

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York, USA


Stuyvesant High School



During college, Tara completed two summer internships with NGOs dedicated to gender equity and spent three years tutoring low-income Philadelphia public high school students through the Upward Bound Program. Her Huntsman semester abroad in Havana was her first exposure to life in a developing country, and the experience helped spark her interest in international development. The unique Huntsman curriculum allowed Tara to study development through a variety of lenses - her Wharton classes taught her a lot about economic growth and the factors that affect it, while the international studies curriculum gave her an understanding of the factors of human development that traditional macroeconomic indicators obscure. She was also a two-time Wharton research assistant, and wrote her senior thesis on gender and development in Kerala, India.

Upon graduation, Tara joined the United States Peace Corps as a Business Development Volunteer, hoping to see how the development strategies she studied in school would play out at a grassroots level. Tara spent a little over two years in Danlí, Honduras and found that her Huntsman education was the ideal preparation for her work there. Because she was already fluent in Spanish, she was able to immediately begin work on community projects, and she shared her love for international studies with students at a school for street children, where she taught world geography classes. She also put her Wharton business skills to good use. Tara provided financial advising to micro-lending groups, evaluated the development practices of a potable water project and wrote a business training manual for future volunteers. She also worked closely with the board of directors of a newly formed grassroots organization, helping them with strategic planning, grant-writing and proper administrative procedures.

After completing her Peace Corps service, Tara spent four months backpacking through South America. Her experiences with small rural communities in Honduras and elsewhere in Latin America opened her eyes to the urgency of addressing the environmental impact of economic growth. Her next stop is Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where she has been admitted as a PhD candidate in Public Policy. Her research will focus on strategies for achieving sustainable development. She also looks forward to backpacking once more and visiting some fellow Huntsman alumni before beginning her doctoral studies.