Insider Interviews with META lab GAs


Interview with Ash Hammad IPD & ITED ‘20 

By Salome Pachkoria, Anna Phillips and Jasmine Wang

Ash is pursuing a joint degree in International Policy and Development & International Trade and Economic Diplomacy. He has been working at the META Lab for one year as a graduate assistant. The major projects he has been involved in are with Fair Trade USA and Impact Monterey County where he has worked on survey design, data cleanup, and analysis. He’ll be taking over for Grant as co-manager at the META lab this fall (congratulations!)

During his time working at the META Lab, Ash has gained a lot of hard skills related to quantitative analysis in R, Excel, and Tableau.  

When talking about how those skills would give him an advantage in the job market, he pointed out that “now anything related to data analysis is of high demand across different sectors.” The application of data in the professional world is now more important than ever: people who are able to take the results, analyze them, explain what they mean, and generate policies based on them are in great demand. 

The META Lab provides practice and exposure to real-life projects that Ash wouldn’t have had just by taking classes. The skills gained at the META Lab are always on the top of his resume because they allow the employer to see that he is able to use his skills confidently. He has also included projects he has been working on at the META lab in order to showcase his professional experience.

The aforementioned skills are helpful in the fields of development and trade, especially in the case of the project Ash worked on with United Way Monterey County. In describing the importance of data analysis in policy decisions, he stated the following: “People want to know with the help of data that their interventions are working, and they’re working in a way they want it to”. 

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