Research Funding Awardees

(By Date, in Alphabetical Order according to Last Name)

 

Stephen at the Western Political Science Association Conference

Stephen at the Western Political Science Association Conference

2014-2015

Stephen Michael Christian, Delta Upsilon: Delta Gamma

Research Project Title: "Autism in International Relations"

"Autism in international relations literature has been used to evoke an array of metaphors and images to understand both the condition of international systems and the foreign policies of individual states. For example, prominent IR theorists like Barry Buzan and Alexander Wendt have appropriated the term from medical disciplines to describe international systems and abnormal state foreign policies. This essay critically assesses both how the term autism is used by IR’s scholarly community as a signifier and what it signifies. This essay analyzes a few notable works like Buzan’s “From International System to International Society,” Wendt’s Social Theory of International Politics, and Mark Laffey and Jutta Weldes’s “US Foreign Policy, Public Memory, and Autism.” The essay then concludes with a discussion of ethics for IR scholarship vis-à-vis harmful stereotypes of neurodivergent persons, the normative projects they bolster, and their broader social and political implications. "

 

 

2013-2014

Natalie Forde, Alpha Pi: Pepperdine University

Natalie Forde in Jerusalem, Israel

Natalie Forde in Jerusalem, Israel

Research Project Title: “Shifting the Power Balance: Responses to Sexual Violence during the Holocaust - The Oral Testimonies of Jewish Women in the Resistance”

"I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for enabling me to complete my dream internship at the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem, Israel. At Yad Vashem I gained invaluable experience in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies under the instruction of some of the world's leading researchers. I was able to participate in the 2013 International Educator's Seminar which allowed me to earn a certificate in Holocaust Studies, as well as conduct independent research focusing on the role of women in the resistance during the Holocaust. This experience was both personally and professionally life-changing and it would not have been possible without the generous support of the Sigma Iota Rho Crest Scholarship."

 

Emily Jones, Epsilon Beta: Heidelberg University

                            Emily Jones

                            Emily Jones

Research Project Title: "Furry Diplomacy: The Impacts of Rechov Sumsum and Shara'a Simsim as Multi-Track Diplomacy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

"For nearly half a century, Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and friends have influenced the lives of countless American children. In recent years, Sesame Workshop has expanded its market, with over 30 co-productions in more than 140 countries. Each show has its own distinctive qualities, with a unique streetscape, utilization of local kids and actors, and a variety of exclusive Muppets. In Israel, the creation of Rechov Sumsum has served to impact its youngest generation of television viewers, as has Shara’a Simsim in the Palestinian territories. Although conventional attempts at negotiation between these two groups have not proven successful in the past, new forms of multi-track diplomacy have entered into the sphere of possibilities. The youth who view these programs will be the future leaders of the region; could the messages they are receiving today from Rechov Sumsum and Shara’a Simsim lead to the change of mentality necessary for at long last reaching a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine in the years to come? Multi-track methods may be exactly the type of diplomacy—furry diplomacy—that this region has been in desperate need of for decades."

 

Catherine Molleno, Delta Iota: Oklahoma State University

Catherine Molleno in Kazakhstan

Catherine Molleno in Kazakhstan

"The Republic of Kazakhstan gained its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, which makes this country a very young one. Kazakhstan has changed a lot of its practices in business, opened its market to the world, and even discovered oil in the Caspian Sea. However, there are still a few things that could be classified as remnant from the Soviet Union era.

I am trying to see from the perspective of local English teachers whether there have been enough reform to increase the quality of education. I am also trying to see if the Soviet Union had left any of its old practices in education. I am positive that my study is unique since there haven’t been a lot of qualitative studies on education in Kazakhstan. This is a great time to start focusing on former Soviet countries such as Kazakhstan since they are starting to gain importance in the International community."

 

 

2012-2013

Christina Gunther, Gamma Epsilon: University of Bridgeport

Research Project Title: "The Need for Human Security of Women in Lebanon: Mitigating the Effects of Gender Based Violence through a Serious Game"

Christina Gunther in Beirut, Lebanon

Christina Gunther in Beirut, Lebanon

"I first became interested in gender based violence in the Middle East after researching the topic for a class in my master’s degree program.  I was alarmed by an apparent disparity of research on women who have been subjected to domestic violence and the region’s lack of intervention in alleviating this issue. History in some Middle East states shows that implementation of human security measures for women can be successful through grass-roots efforts.  With this in mind, I developed a practical therapeutic tool – a serious game- for these victims with the goal of self-empowerment.

The aims of my research are to describe the effects of gender based violence on a victim’s level of self-esteem and self-worth; to apply the aforementioned serious game intervention in an effort to further recovery; and to contribute to existing works on human security on a global basis by empowering women to fight for their own rights and security.

I chose to focus on Lebanon for a pilot study due to existing studies documenting evidence of endemic gender based violence in the country.  Initial data collected during May 2013 in Beirut indicated a trend toward increased feelings of accomplishment and perseverance after playing the serious game. SIR's award will allow me to return to Lebanon in July 2013 to gather additional data to compare against my preliminary findings in order to further develop this intervention."

"I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for enabling me to complete my dream internship at the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem, Israel. At Yad Vashem I gained invaluable experience in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies under the instruction of some of the world's leading researchers. I was able to participate in the 2013 International Educator's Seminar which allowed me to earn a certificate in Holocaust Studies, as well as conduct independent research focusing on the role of women in the resistance during the Holocaust. This experience was both personally and professionally life-changing and it would not have been possible without the generous support of the Sigma Iota Rho Crest Scholarship."

 

Ashlie Perry, Delta Xi: Rutgers University

Research Project Title: "From a Movement From Below to Terrorism: Finding a Common Thread in Collective Action in India"

Ashlie Perry

Ashlie Perry

"Attending the Midwest Political Science Association Conference was an opportunity to receive feedback on my research, which explores various possible connections linking social movements and terrorism in the Punjab region in India to the phenomenon of globalization. I was also afforded the opportunity to network with scholars in my field of expertise – South Asian security – and peers, whom I interacted with on panels as a discussant and presenter. I applied for the Sigma Iota Rho Travel Grant to help defray the cost of traveling and registration that was associated with the conference. As a student attending a conference, funding from SIR is a tremendous help in helping me become a better scholar."

Ashlie Perry is currently serving as Faculty Advisor to Endicott College's Gamma Nu Chapter

 

 

 

 

2011-2012

Benjamin Brockman, Epsilon: University of Pennsylvania

Research Project Title: "International Dimensions of Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Ben Brockman Graduating with his BA from Penn

Ben Brockman Graduating with his BA from Penn

"My senior thesis examined international dimensions of the violence that has tragically surrounded several recent disputed elections in Sub-Saharan Africa. Particularly, I was interested in investigating how the international community’s alleged preference for 'short-term stability' over other factors (respect for democratic processes, long term stability, etc.) affected the strategies of domestic political factors actors following flawed elections. The cases I examined included Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), Cote d’Ivoire (2010) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2011). As all of these cases have occurred in the last five years, there are very few academic publications on the topic. Thus, I relied mainly on extensive reports from civil society and various international and local press sources to piece together each case. Critically, I also interviewed several individuals from the State Department and civil society who either were in country for one or more of these elections or had worked on them professionally.

These interviews provided a window into some of the intricate details of both U.S. and international actors in the negotiations following each election that did not necessarily make their way into press accounts of the crises. The SIR travel fund made it financially possible for me to travel to D.C. twice to complete this series of interviews and added a level of sophistication and credibility to my research that would have otherwise been lacking. As a result, my thesis was honored as the runner-up to the Palmer Prize for Best Senior Thesis in International Relations at Penn this past May."

 

Caitlin Purdy, Delta Omicron: Rochester Institute of Technology

Research Project Title: "Remembering Violence in Peru: Memory within Artistic and Literary Spaces"

Caitlin Purdy in Ayacucho, Peru

Caitlin Purdy in Ayacucho, Peru

"I first arrived in Peru in February of 2011 and spent six months in the country studying Hispanic literature at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima.  While living and studying in the country I became interested in Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and Peru’s Internal Conflict. I decided to return to Lima to conduct my own investigation in the spring of 2012, examining the memory of violence within contemporary Peruvian art and literature. As part of my research process, I examined various pieces of contemporary Peruvian art and literature, conducted interviews with writers, artists, and politicians, examined archived victim testimony, and visited various memory sites in both Lima and Ayacucho.

Overall, this experience was incredibly rewarding. I enjoyed working as an independent researcher and I know I acquired valuable research skills. Furthermore, this research project not only intensified my academic interest in Peru, but it also deepened my personal bond to the country. I have a wonderful and supportive host family in Peru who helped me tremendously with this project, as well as a close network of friends. In the fall, I plan to study Comparative Literature at the graduate level at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  I eventually hope to obtain a PhD and I plan to continue to study literary and cultural production in the aftermath of violence. I hope that in the future I am able to continue conducting research in Peru."