When Nicholas Daly graduated from Temple University in 2009 with degrees in film studies and Spanish, his path to economics did not seem to be an obvious one. Now, working at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a think tank in Manhattan, he says that his experiences at Temple and beyond gave him the skills to reach his unique destination.

Daly works with the Young Scholars Initiative, a program run by the Institute of New Economic Thinking, that serves as a way to connect scholars from all over the world in conversations about what economics can look like without the pressure of academic conformity. The scholars, who hail from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, can utilize the network that the Initiative provides and engage in critical conversations about the economy.

"One of our goals is to bring intercultural dialogue, humanities, philosophy, into the discipline of economics," said Daly. "Economics is not my background or field, but I contribute by helping out with the philosophy, the intercultural dialogue, and effort towards making a difference across the world." 

The web platform, which currently has about 8,000 scholars, allows people to collaborate on projects and communicate for research. It is organized into different topics, such as gender and economics, sustainability, and behavior and society, as well as groups for different global regions. The Young Scholars Initiative also cultivates a community setting through workshops and conferences throughout the year.

"The whole idea is to build ... a personal professional network outside of academia," said Daly. "We're trying to get young budding economists career support and social and cultural capital outside of their normal area of operations."

Before he work for the Institute, Daly volunteered for them as the head of a reading group founded on ideas of radical uncertainty. Before even that, Daly spent a year in Brazil after he graduated from Temple, and then went to graduate school at a multi-country program in Spain, Scotland and Portugal.

"Coming off of that I had a lot of background with international education and intercultural exchange, and a film and anthropology background from undergrad allowed me to think outside the box about technology and ways to leverage different perspectives in a positive way."

Daly credits the support and mentorship he received during his time at Temple as a key reason for the path he took after graduating, citing several Klein College professors and the Office of International Studies advising office. 

From studying abroad in Argentina to being granted a Fulbright scholarship after graduation, he says none of it would be possible without the people he met at Temple.

"Temple was a blast and got me moving," he said. "They didn't hold my hand, but they were always there to say, hey, I know you're doubtful about applying, but just apply. So they literally and figuratively taught me to apply myself which has had a lot of positive payoff later on."

Daly said the preparation for his life and career has left him with appreciation for the university.

"Temple is is one of the most hopeful and beautiful places on the planet," he added. "It's true to its mission and educates without pretension. Say my best to the campus, I love that place."