Maxwell celebrates undergraduate research

Celeb-Undergrad 2016Students and faculty at the Maxwell School gathered on May 4 to celebrate the accomplishments in undergraduate scholarship over the past year. The event included scholarly poster presentations and an awards ceremony for distinguished undergraduate research. The reception allowed for the entire Maxwell community to convene in celebration of undergraduate social science research that spans many research areas and varied academic disciplines.

Students had the opportunity to prepare posters, presentations, and submit research papers in preparation of the event. During the ceremony, students mingled and discussed their scholarly pursuits with attendees, which included faculty, staff, and administration. Six awards were granted during the ceremony for both the research and the poster presentations. Two of the awards were for exemplary student papers from the interdisciplinary MAX Courses — team-taught, issues driven courses available to undergraduates with an interest in public and international affairs.

Winners of the awards were:

Outstanding Student Research PaperSara McNamara, senior from Copenhagen, New York; majoring in anthropology and earth sciences with a minor in Native American studies; her paper was titled “Sourcing the Sherds: An Analysis of the Coarse Earthenware Ceramics of Trents Plantation in Barbados”

Student Research Paper Honorable MentionDavid Kimelman, senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; majoring in political science with a minor in Middle Eastern studies; his paper was titled “Welcoming the Stranger: African Refugees and Israel’s Asylum Regime”

Best Poster Award Yipin Zhang, senior from Beijing, China; majoring in international relations and political science; his poster’s topic was “Exit Ramps: Transportation Infrastructure and Internal Migration in India and China”

Student Research Poster Honorable MentionVirginia Giannini, senior from Syracuse, New York; majoring in international relations and public relations; the topic of her poster was “Nuclear Narratives: The Language of Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East”

MAX 123 Exemplary Paper Award – Andrew Caplan, freshman from Bellevue, Washington; majoring in television, radio, and film; his paper was titled “The Compassionate Obligations of Democratic Citizens”

MAX 132 Exemplary Paper AwardDylan Brzezinski, freshman from Hightstown, New Jersey; studying arts and sciences; his paper was titled “Climate Change: The Complexities of Environmental Challenges”

Mary Lovely, professor of economics and chair of the international relations program, noted the broad inclusion of students from across the social sciences. “You can clearly see the full range of their Maxwell training in these projects,” she observed. “What I am particularly amazed by is how the students combine insights from history, culture, politics, and economics in creating new knowledge on such a vast array of topics.” Also among the guests was Miriam Elman, associate professor of political science. Elman was thrilled by the work that she saw presented, saying that "It was a delight to see so many quality research projects addressing critical policy problems in our nation and across the globe. Each of these students undertook original research, and it was clear that while their faculty mentors assisted along the way, the projects were very much their own. The students presented their work and findings with innovative visuals and were able to clearly explain their methodologies and convey their work's central findings, and its policy-relevance. These students have much in which they can be proud."