Student Experiences With RCGA
Middlebury College students find different ways to connect with the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs. Click on a student's name below to read about their experiences with RCGA. There are many ways to engage with RCGA, and students are always welcome to contact the Center to share their thoughts, questions, and ideas. Read about Rana Abdehlamid and Shabana Basij-Rasikh, two recipients of research grants, and their outstanding accomplishments.
Josh Berlowitz '16—Westchester, N.Y.
Josh Berlowitz is a Political Science and Classics double major from Westchester, N.Y., and the Rohatyn Center 2014 summer intern. Since May, Josh has worked closely with Max Ward (History), researching Communism in Japan during the 1920s, and with Allison Stanger (Political Science), transcribing interviews for her upcoming book on the history of whistleblowing. Josh’s remaining Rohatyn research projects will be with Leticia Arroyo Abad (Economics), Sarah Stroup (Political Science), and Jessica Teets (Political Science). Through his internship, Josh is pleased to be enhancing his critical thinking and research skills; he also notes that the interviews he’s transcribed, such as those Stanger held with employees of Facebook and the Sunlight Foundation, have fueled his future career interests. This coming fall, Josh will study abroad in Turkey. When her returns to Middlebury, he hopes to write a senior project on how key historical events are mirrored in modern society.
Douglas Gledhill '14—Phoenix, AR
Douglas Gledhill, an International Politics and Economics major from Phoenix, AZ, was an intern with the Rohatyn Center during the summer of 2012. Doug worked closely with Mario Higa of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, conducting research and translating from Portuguese into English Higa’s papers on the history of Communism. Enhanced research skills, learning to work independently while under direction and deadlines, and further developing his Portuguese are some of the benefits that Doug attributes to his time as an intern. Doug studied abroad in both China and Brazil before interning at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) this past summer. In September, Doug will join Amazon and spend two years at the company’s various domestic sites to learn its financial operations. He imagines this experience, along with the research and language skills he developed at Middlebury, will serve him well in a future return to China or Brazil. Before joining Amazon, however, Doug will travel briefly to North Korea with a British tour company, a trip he feels will be unlike anything he’s experienced before.
Anna Mack '13—Bristol, Rhode Island
A native of Bristol, Rhode Island, Anna Mack ’13 will travel to China in the fall of 2014 on a Fulbright Scholarship. Anna will research disability rights and advocacy in China at Wuhan University (Hubei), building upon research she started as an undergraduate with support by a Mellon Foundation grant. Anna, a Chinese and Sociology/Anthropology double-major, was also awarded a Critical Language Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State to study Chinese in summer 2014. For Anna, the work she started under her Mellon Foundation grant has been the basis for her post-graduation plans, and potentially even her career aspirations. She attributes her greater sense of cultural understanding and awareness of entering other communities to her experiences and research abroad, and feels she is much more reflective and critical of her own assumptions. “Ask yourself what you think you know already,” she says, when asked what advice she would give students considering their own research topics. This awareness, on top of her language skills, have prepared Anna well to return to China.
Napol Wills '14—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“How do you tell someone’s story when it’s not yours to tell?” asked Napol Wills ’14, an American Studies and German double-major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when reflecting on her Mellon-funded international research project. Titled “The Other Germans: Black Germans and their Connection to America from 1945 to Present,” Napol studied a population in Germany that has received little academic attention. As a result of her research and experiences abroad, Napol feels she has a gained greater cultural competency and an awareness for “thinking about who your audience is” when talking about her research and findings. Building on the language skills and interests she developed at Middlebury, Napol will return to Germany after graduation on a Fulbright Fellowship. She hopes to continue some of the research she carried out through the Mellon Foundation grant, and is excited about where it may lead her.
Frank Wyer '15—Arroyo Grande, CA
How do Middlebury College students shape their college careers? The answer is never straightforward, as exemplified by Frank Wyer ’15, an International Politics and Economics major and intern with the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs. From Arroyo Grande, California, Wyer chose Middlebury anticipating that the College’s strengths in international studies and languages would align with his interests, as well as hoping to explore programs offered at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Wyer’s curiosity quickly led him to the Rohatyn Center, which sponsors vibrant co-curricular programs and undergraduate research. As a Rohatyn intern, Wyer has worked closely with faculty on research projects that often call on German and French skills he’s perfecting at Middlebury. “I love the language classes at Midd,” states Wyer. “The professors are always so fun and engaged, and there are so many opportunities to practice, whether it’s as simple as going to language tables for lunch or even traveling up to Montreal for fall break.”
However, Wyer’s engagement with Middlebury’s international offerings goes well beyond the Vermont campus. Last summer, he was awarded an internship at the Monterey Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), where he worked on the Nuclear Threat Initiative to research lost and stolen nuclear material. The CNS internship allowed Wyer to attend lectures and conduct research with top diplomats and scholars in the field. Wyer’s Middlebury education has extended overseas during his junior year. In the fall, he was among a select group of students to compete in a prestigious debate tournament at Oxford University. This spring, he is studying at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School Abroad in Mainz, Germany, where he also hopes to pursue independent research that will inform his senior work.
The vast opportunities that Wyer has embraced are equipping him with concrete skills and global networks. As he says, “I’m still not sure exactly where I’ll end up, whether it’s in diplomacy, academics, or maybe something I haven’t even considered yet, but my experiences at Midd and Monterey have really opened up the world to me in a way I never would have imagined.”
Helen (Jialong) Wu '16—Chengdu, China
An International Politics and Economics major from Chengdu, China, Helen was an intern with the Rohatyn Center during the 2013-2014 academic year. Helen worked closely with Will Pyle of Economics, researching Chinese urbanization efforts, particularly through multi-media resources. Helen notes that her work at RCGA has helped her develop stronger research skills and has allowed her to explore issues related to the environment, migration, and labor inequality as a result of urbanization in China. Helen will be studying abroad in France this coming year, where she hopes to develop a research project that might tie into her work at RCGA, noting that a “comparative study of [Chinese] urbanization and that of European cities” would be of interest. Outside the classroom, Helen is active in the International Student Organization, and helped to organize the group’s first symposium titled, “Globalization and Food” this past spring. Apart from the concrete skills she has developed and expanded as an intern with RCGA, Helen notes that “the friendship and network that I’ve gained with my professors and others in the office,” have been equally valuable.
Tom (Hyeon-seok) Yu '16—Seoul, South Korea
Tom, an Economics major and Chinese/Political Science double minor from Seoul, South Korea, was an intern at the Rohatyn Center during the 2013-2014 academic year. Tom worked closely with Professor Jessica Teets of political science, editing reviews for books about modern political and economic issues in China; this research connects well with his academic interests. This summer, Tom will attend the Middlebury Chinese Summer Language School in preparation for studying at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in China (Kunming). While there, he will research social and political issues of labor movements and internal migration; his project is supported by a Mellon Foundation grant. Through his RCGA internship, Tom has sharpened his research skills, enhanced his understanding of politics and economics in China, and expanded his on-campus network. “I’m very appreciative of the help, support, and kindness that professors show,” Tom states. “The people [at RCGA] really make a difference.”