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Nine Princeton undergraduates receive fellowships to fund international senior thesis research

Nine outstanding juniors have been named the 2018 cohort of PIIRS Undergraduate Fellows. Photo by Mark Czajkowski
Friday, March 9, 2018

By Pooja Makhijani

Nine outstanding juniors have been named the 2018 cohort of PIIRS Undergraduate Fellows.

The Undergraduate Fellows Program provides juniors with support to undertake international research for their senior theses. Those accepted into the program work with a PIIRS faculty member during the spring semester of their junior year to develop a proposal for summer research towards the senior thesis. Upon successful completion of the program — including attendance at required meetings in which students sharpen their research questions and methodology, learn more about various aspects of international research and develop a budget for their project — students are awarded funds for summer research.

“The PIIRS Undergraduate Fellows Program provides highly motivated undergraduates with the time, training and guidance to develop a sophisticated and successful senior thesis based on international research,” said Julia Elyachar, an associate professor of anthropology and adviser of the fellowship program. “The students work at a level that is more typically associated with graduate students. Their research shows that substantive theoretical and methodological contributions in the social sciences are often made through experiential knowledge of region and place.”

More about the new group of PIIRS Undergraduate Fellows and their proposed research:

David Exumé is majoring in sociology. He will travel to Quebec and places along the U.S.-Canada border to uncover the connections between radio as a mobilizer and virtual social network and the Haitian Canadian diaspora.

Mariachiara Ficarelli is majoring in anthropology and earning a certificate in values and public life. She will conduct fieldwork in Rome, gathering ethnographic data on the role of religion in the national identity formation of Eritrean migrants to Italy.

Majida Halawah is a history major. During her fellowship summer in Dana, Jordan, she will study natural resource management in the Middle East, and how colonialism, foreign intervention and regional war have influenced countries’ management choices.

Sebastian Holt is majoring in linguistics. He will travel to Uttarakhand, India to design and implement an English language learning program that emphasizes the similarities and differences in the grammatical structures of Hindi and English.

Alexandra Kersley is a history major. She will travel to Rio de Janeiro to interview Brazilians on their views of dictatorship, the impact of the post-military dictatorship amnesty process on Brazilian democracy and the current political situation.

David Kilpatrick is majoring in sociology. During his fellowship summer in Guatamala, Kilpatrick will conduct ethnographic research on reptriated Guatamalan American migrants.  

John Lohmann is an English major. During his fellowship summer in Nauru, an island country in Micronesia, northeast of Australia, Lohmann will examine the intersection of migration and climate change in the central Pacific Ocean. 

Matthew Parodi is majoring in politics and earning certificates in East Asian studies and ethnographic studies. He will conduct fieldwork in Guilin, Formosa and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, China to investigate how ethnic communities in tourist villages and attractions represent their culture and identity in order to craft a sellable, easily understood ethnic narrative.

GJ Sevillano is a politics major. During his fellowship summer in the Philippines, Sevillano will examine archival documents on education and colonialism on the archipelago and, specifically, Filipino pensionados, or government-funded scholars who pursued higher education in the United States.