A conversation with Ishan Nath


If you could say anything to the current students of Darien District 61, what would that be?


Who were some of the memorable teachers you had and why?

How old are you?

24 (born in February 1990)

Where did you live when you attended school in District 61?


Where do you live now?

Oxford, England.

What grades did you attend in Darien District 61?

Kindergarten through eighth grade

What are some of your accomplishments and noteworthy activities since leaving District 61?

After eighth grade, my family moved to Atlanta where I attended high school at the Westminster Schools from 2004 to 2008. At Westminster, I was captain of the varsity basketball team, president of the school’s environmental student group, and during my senior year I was recognized with the Richard L. Hull Award for the Westminster boy who has contributed most to the school community.

After high school, I attended Stanford University where I graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in economics with Honors & Distinction and a B.S. in Earth Systems with Distinction. At Stanford, I was a member of the Stanford Daily newspaper editorial board, played on the club basketball team, and wrote an economics honors thesis about clean energy that was recognized with the John G. Sobieski Award for Creative Thinking in Economics. As an undergraduate, I was also recognized with the Harry S. Truman Scholarship for public service leadership, the Morris K. Udall Scholarship for environmental leadership, and the Stanford School of Earth Sciences Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement.

Outside of school, my professional experiences have focused primarily on economics research and policy. I have served as a research assistant for economics professors at Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley on a range of projects in energy and development economics. In government, I spent two summers as an economic policy intern at the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department as well as several months working as senior consultant to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. In addition, I have worked as an intern at the Carter Center, consulted for the Environmental Defense Fund, and spent a summer teaching 7th grade science at a program called Breakthrough Collaborative.

What are some of your current involvements (including jobs, activities and interests)?

I am currently in my second year of studying for a Master of Philosophy in Economics at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford, I have particularly enjoyed the wonderful friendships I have developed, my courses in development economics, and working on my master’s thesis assessing the degree to which bond markets convey warning signals of sovereign debt crises in advance. Outside of class, I am a member of the university’s Varsity Blues basketball team, participate in the Oxford hub of the World Economic Forum young global shapers community, and write articles about energy and economic policy for the online magazine Sense and Sustainability.

In the rainy darkness of the British winter, I keep my spirits up thanks to the cheery camaraderie of the seven wonderful Rhodes scholars with whom I live and the nights I spend waking up at 2 a.m. to watch my beloved Chicago Bulls take the court. In fact, you should check out my Jimmy Butler fan website at and Twitter account @JB21FanClub!

What are some of your plans/goals for the future?

After finishing my master’s degree at Oxford, I plan to return to the U.S. this fall to pursue a PhD in economics and a career in academic research and public service. If all goes well, I would love to spend time in the future working both as a professor and as a policymaker.

Are you single? Married? Have any kids? Pets?

This summer on July 5th, I will marry my fiancée, Julia Brownell, who I started dating five years ago during my freshman year at Stanford. Julia will be attending medical school next year and hopes to pursue a career in medicine and public health research and policy.

Along with mentioning that I’m very close with my parents, Harsh and Rekha Nath, it’s also important to note the pets that have held a very special place in my heart. When I was in school at Lace and Eisenhower, my family had a guinea pig, Patch, who I loved very much. In fact, when people asked me whether I was an only child growing up, I remember telling them that I wasn’t because I had a little brother who was a guinea pig. My family marveled over how, to our initial surprise, Patch was as intelligent, affectionate, loving and emotionally mature as any dog or other animal we had ever encountered. Today, my parents live in Atlanta with another guinea pig, Clem, who follows my mom all around the living room and kitchen like a little puppy, trains my parents how to respond to his various audio cues with the desired type of food or affection, and has even potty-trained himself so as not to despoil the living room where he is allowed to run free..

When Julia and I get married and move to a new city this summer, we plan to adopt a pair of guinea pigs to keep us company.