SIT Study Abroad Announces Inaugural Undergraduate Research Awards

SIT Study Abroad congratulates the recipients of its first Undergraduate Research Award, Mamasa Camara and Scott Sugden. The students were selected for the award based on the quality and significance of the Independent Study Projects (ISPs) they completed during their programs abroad with SIT.

“It was my privilege to review the 20 nominees for the first annual SIT Study Abroad Undergraduate Research Award,” said Priscilla Stone, SIT vice provost. “I was very impressed with the quality and variety of projects that were nominated and enjoyed reading our students’ statements and the nomination forms submitted by our academic directors around the world.”

Camara is a student at Spelman College and an alumna of the China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities program. She received the award for her ISP “Imagined Communities: Changing Markets and the Implications for 21st Century Mali-China Migration,” which examined how factors such as economics, immigration policy, and race ideology affect the way African migrants live in a specific neighborhood in Guangzhou, China.

Sugden is a student at Washington and Lee University and an alumnus of the Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management program. He received the award for his ISP “Plant Community Structure over an Elevation Gradient in Manongarivo Special Reserve Madagascar,” which investigated differences in vegetation at varying altitudes in a rainforest reserve in northwestern Madagascar.

SIT Study Abroad academic directors nominated 20 students for this inaugural award, and a committee of SIT’s academic deans and the vice provost selected the two winners. Camera and Sugden will receive $150 each and be SIT’s nominees for The Forum on Education Abroad Undergraduate Research Award. SIT alumna Madison Stevens was one of this year’s recipients of the Forum’s award  for her ISP research in northern Uganda on land rights and disputes.

“We believe the creation of this award is an innovative way to recognize the outstanding academic achievements of our students during their terms abroad on an SIT program,” Stone said.

For decades SIT has been at the forefront of undergraduate research abroad with its signature ISP program component. Completed during the final month of the semester, the ISP is de­signed to integrate the learning, knowledge, field experience, and contacts acquired from all other components of an SIT Study Abroad program. Many students enroll in an SIT program with limited, or no, primary field research experience, and the ISP is often the first op­portunity for them to learn how to undertake a field-based research project in an intercultural setting. While all nominees this year were based on ISP research conducted during an SIT semester abroad program, in the future, nominations will be accepted for students undertaking comparative research projects on IHP/Comparative programs; additionally, SIT students participating in select summer programs that offer short, yet intensive, field research opportunities may also be eligible for the award.

SIT continues to set the standard for practice in the field in a number of areas. SIT Study Abroad was among the first in the field to implement a Human Subjects Review, including a local review board in each location, across a broad geographic spectrum and has long been a leader in the areas of research methods and ethics.

Posted by: on June 26, 2014