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Undergraduate Students in the News

Jasmine Taylor was honored with a Seed of Change award from the non-profit Community Shares. The Seed of Change award is presented to a young person (under age 25) who has shown leadership, vision and courage in addressing injustice. J.T. (as her friends know her) received the award at Community Shares in April.  Jasmine is a junior and plans to continue organizing, increasingly focusing on human rights and the international garment industry.

Diana Howell and Morgan Chance, two of our majors traveled to Boston in September to participate in a conference sponsored by Harvard University's Institute of Politics. The conference, "Bipartisan Advocacy: Finding Common Ground." Diana (from El Paso, Texas) and Morgan (of Memphis), both rising juniors, were two of fifty students invited to participate. Diana and Morgan are Baker Ambassadors at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and have led the voter registration drive committee and spearhead the Baker Center's efforts to encourage political participation in Knoxville.

Alina Clay, a member of the Chancellors Honors Program was selected as a recipient of the 2015 Undergraduate Summer Research Internship funded by UT's Office of Research & Engagement to advance her Honors Thesis project. Her research topic is a comparative analysis of subnational governments in Latin America and Eastern Europe to determine how decentralization affects women's political participation. Alina is examining three hypotheses that address issues of institutional political structure, representation, and participation. To test these hypotheses, she has been conducting in-depth analyses of this topic in Peru and Russia.

The internship has covered her stay in Lima, Peru for several weeks to gain a more holistic understanding of Peru's complex social and political system, as well as gain access to relevant data sources not available in the U.S. She has been able to visit several universities and organizations that have offered resources related to her thesis topic and have made contacts with people experienced in her research interests.

The internship has also afforded her the opportunity to assist Professor Jana Morgan of the Department of Political Science with her field research before and during her time in Lima. Her research project focuses on social inequality and political participation within Peru. Alina has assisted Professor Morgan in her research by accompanying her to interviews; attending meetings of women's and indigenous organizations; transcribing interviews and conducting other data management activities; collecting other primary and secondary sources, such as documents in archives maintained by newspapers, NGOs, and political parties; and making interview appointments and engaging in other administrative tasks. Professor Morgan's field research complements Alina's Honors Thesis project, enriching her knowledge and advancing research skills that are critical to her future academic and career goals. In addition to her research pursuits, Alina has had the opportunity to stay in a Spanish-speaking household and travel around Lima, both of which have solidified her Spanish proficiency and given her a greater understanding of Peruvian culture.  

Alina was also recognized for her work as co-director for the Student Government Association's Diversity Affairs Committee. She was featured in an article on the University's website.


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