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April 2, 2008
Contact: Elaine Beebe
(401) 863-2476

International Study Awards for Undergraduates Announced

Eight international study awards, which go to 14 Brown undergraduates, have been announced by the Office of the Dean of the College and the Office of International Affairs. This marks the first year that the Office of International Affairs has funded the program.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — From France to Ethiopia, Scotland to American Samoa, eight student-faculty teams will travel to a foreign country this summer. Their funded projects will span the humanities, social sciences, life sciences and physical sciences.

These international Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRAs), awarded to 14 students total, mark a new collaboration between the Office of the Dean of the College and the Office of International Affairs.

The international UTRAs, which carry stipends of $3,500, offer students an important means to strengthen their experience abroad through intensive research with faculty.

“These are all terrific projects, integrating work at Brown with engagement in the world,” said David Kennedy, vice president for international affairs and the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of International Relations. “I hope this will mark the start of many new opportunities for students to deepen their academic work with global perspectives and experiences.”

The Corporation of Brown University approved Kennedy’s appointment in October 2007. In this newly created position, Kennedy leads the University’s ongoing efforts to expand and enhance its international programs and institutional relationships. Katherine Bergeron, dean of the College, said that the collaboration with Kennedy’s office allowed the College to offer substantially more undergraduate teaching and research grants than in past years.

“The additional resources allowed us to bring the total number of awards granted this year to 238 projects – a 20 percent increase over last year,” Bergeron said.

The summer 2008 international UTRA projects are:

  • American Samoa: Stephen McGarvey, professor of community health and anthropology, and Michelle Lam, Sarah Raifman, and Samuel Urlacher, all currently juniors, will study the socio-economic and cultural implications of global health research, aiming to improve Type 2 diabetes management in the region. 
  • England: At the British Library in London, Vazira Zamindar, assistant professor of history, and Anastasia Aguiar, and David Frisof, both currently juniors, will study India Office Records, the documentary archives of India’s pre-1947 government. The group’s findings will support Zamindar’s research on the colonial and postcolonial history of Takht-e-Bahi, a third-century Gandharan Buddhist monastic complex in northern Pakistan.
  • Ethiopia: In Jimma, David Lindstrom, associate professor of sociology, and junior Saskia Devries will study the role of adolescent health and nutrition, socioeconomic background, and family and peer networks in placing at-risk youth into stable employment. The study is part of a three-year collaboration between faculty in the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown, the Jimma Longitudinal Family Survey of Youth, and Jimma University’s public health faculty.
  • France: Richard Schwartz, professor of mathematics, and Aaron Mazel-Gee, currently a junior, will study hyperbolic geometry at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in Paris, where Schwartz will be a visiting professor this summer.
  • Macedonia: Keith Brown, associate professor of international studies, and juniors Cornelia Wilkinson and Finn Yarbroug will conduct historical and ethnographic research on the impact of civil society programs on a transitioning country. At Brown this fall, senior Alison Fairbrother and current sophomore Sarah Gibson will transcribe interviews, edit videos and summarize the Macedonia fieldwork.
  • Scotland: Jessica Whiteside, assistant professor of geological sciences, and junior Jena Johnson will study the terrestrial ecosystem via chemical, fish, and plant fossils preserved in sedimentary rocks found in mainland Scotland and the Orkney Islands. 
  • Spain: At the University of Salamanca, Pura Nieto, senior lecturer in classics, and junior Benjamin Folit-Weinberg will complete six articles with annotated bibliographies for the Homeric Encyclopedia.
  • Turkey: Ömür Harmansah, assistant professor of archaeology, and junior Bochay Drum will travel to the village of Ayanis to examine the circulation of activity and motion that defined human habitation in the ancient Turkish countryside.

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