2015 Undergraduate Research Award Winners Announced

In celebration of International Education Week, The Forum on Education Abroad announces the recipients of its 2015 Undergraduate Research Awards.

Student: Shavonne Stanek, Oberlin College
Nominating member: Oberlin College
Program: Tanzania-Zanzibar: Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management – School for International Training
Project: “The Pelagic Artisanal Fishing of Mangapwani, Northern Unguja”

Student: Pauline Day, Wellesley College
Nominating member: IFE – French Field Study and Internship Programs
Program: Paris Field Study and Internship Program
Project: “A Continual Evolution: The reform of France’s ‘Politique de la Ville’ as an urban peace-building mechanism in the suburbs of Paris”

The Forum’s Undergraduate Research Award recognizes excellence in academic work completed by students as part of an education abroad program. The students will present their work at a plenary session at The Forum’s 12th Annual Conference in Atlanta on April 8, 2015. The students’ projects were judged by faculty from Forum member institutions.

The projects nominated hailed from a wide range of fields, demonstrating that international learning informs many academic disciplines. Forum President and CEO Brian Whalen said that “the selection committee had the difficult task of selecting these winners from the 54 stellar nominations received. The winners represent the very best of what we want our students to achieve through education abroad.”

Shavonne Stanek, a student at Oberlin College, conducted her research while participating in a program sponsored by The School for International Training (SIT) in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Stanek’s project was an in-depth anthropological study, the first of its kind in the community, on the pelagic artisanal fishing in a small village in Zanzibar. She focused specifically on the impact that increasing population had on available fish stock. Describing Stanek’s work on the topic, Helen Peeks, former Academic Director of SIT’s Tanzania-Zanzibar Coastal and Ecological Management Program wrote, “In Zanzibar, it is often hard for foreign women to be accepted, especially in male dominated fields such as fishing, but Shavonne with the help of her newly learned Swahili conversation skills was able to communicate with fisherman and earn their respect. She will be remembered in the village for her use of Swahili, cultural sensitivity, and professional, academic approach.”

Upon being notified of winning the award, Stanek wrote, “My experience abroad was really shaped by the research I was conducting and to win an award for doing it makes it feel even more amazing. I loved my time abroad and the research I did really shaped what I want to do in the future and really allowed me to connect with the culture in Zanzibar on a far greater level.”

Pauline Day is a student at Wellesley College who studied abroad as a part of IFE’s Paris Field Study and Internship Program. She conducted research on the reform of the French national public policy initiative for cities, “La politique de la ville” focusing on its implications for the local democratic process in conjunction with her internship at the City Hall of the city of Pantin. Of Day’s work, Anne Ruel-Drossos, Professor of History and Day’s faculty advisor, writes, “Her research both draws on and witnesses to the rich field-level experience Pauline had the patience, skill, and initiative to acquire. . . [Her] paper demonstrates a rare combination of exceptional capacities for synthesis, analysis, open-minded and adaptive thought-processes, detailed precision and intellectual rigor. This research paper is at once dense and a pleasure to read. It is a model of careful thinking and thoughtful presentation.”

When she received notification that she is being recognized this year, Day wrote, “Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and I look forward to sharing my research, results, and this project’s impact on my academic journey with The Forum on Education Abroad this April. This project and my research, while studying abroad in Paris, has played a significant role in my understanding of urban peace-building, and the mechanisms we can, and must, use in the future to build better cities and reduce systemic inequalities. I continue to build on this project and research with my senior honors thesis at Wellesley College this year.”

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