SIT alumni to present research

SIT alumni present research at Notre Dame Human Development Conference

Kate Knight

Twenty-one SIT Study Abroad alumni will be among undergraduates from throughout the country presenting their research at the prestigious Human Development Conference at University of Notre Dame Feb 23-24.

Karen Mac
Kate Knight, top, and Karen Mac are among the SIT alumni presenting their research at the Notre Dame Human Development Conference Feb 23-24 at University of Notre Dame.

The annual student-led Human Development Conference, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, is an opportunity for students from many academic disciplines to share their development-focused research and network with other student researchers from across the country and the world.

“Our students conduct some of the most rigorous independent research in their fields,” said SIT President Dr. Sophia Howlett. “Their participation at the Human Development Conference not only provides well-deserved recognition for their excellent work. It also offers these outstanding students an opportunity to begin to develop new relationships that will support and promote our students’ academic and professional advancement.”

Rollins College junior Kate Knight, a fall 2017 participant on the SIT Study Abroad Jordan: Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action, will present her research on “The Christian Zionist Lobby and its Implications in Israel-Palestine.”

“As an international relations and religious studies double major, I am fascinated by the delicate tradeoffs often made between religion and politics on a global level,” said Knight, whose travels have taken her to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Jordan, Palestine, India, Dominican Republic, western Europe, and elsewhere. After graduation, Knight said she plans to attend law school with a focus on human rights law.

Another presenter is Karen Mac, a public health major at Santa Clara University in California, conducted independent research in fall 2017 on the SIT Study Abroad program India: Sustainable Development and Social Change. Mac’s paper, “Understanding Sanitation Preferences: The Key to Reducing India’s Open Defecation Crisis,” looks at the waste management in the context of public health, the environment, and the economy.

Independent research is central to SIT’s Study Abroad’s nearly 60 immersive, semester-long programs. During their time abroad, students prepare to complete an in-depth, field-based Independent Study Project that addresses a research question. As an alternative, they may choose a creative ISP that incorporates artwork or a performance, or a practicum-based ISP

In each case, the project requires original fieldwork, a final presentation, and a formal research paper. Students are always required to examine the ethics of their research and consider its impact on local communities.

SIT Study Abroad is an accredited study abroad provider offering semester and summer programs for undergraduate students. Each year, SIT sends more than 2,000 students from more than 250 colleges and universities on programs in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as comparative programs on multiple continents. On these programs, students step beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom to analyze the critical issues shaping communities around the globe.

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