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Student Senior Theses and Capstone Projects

Vassar students are encouraged to conduct research on migration and displacement be it through the correlate sequence (where a senior capstone project is a requirement), an independent study, or a thesis written for their major. Intrinsic to the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education Mellon grant is support for student research. The Consortium has funded Vassar student theses before, such as this project by Carlos Espina ’20.

Ford Scholars

Vassar Ford Scholars have worked with the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education as both in-person and virtual participants of Migrant Ethnographies in the City, a summer study abroad program in Malaysia organized and led by Dr. Parthiban Muniandy at Sarah Lawrence College. In the program, students are based in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Georgetown, Penang. Students have the opportunity to learn from local organizations such as the Penang Peace Learning Center (informal school for Rohingya refugee children), Institut Pondok Perancis, Taylor’s University College and Tenaganita, and other organizations that work with migrants’ rights advocacy and activism.

In 2017, three Vassar students also worked as Ford Scholars with Professor Maria Höhn in Berlin to study the refugee crisis together with Bard Berlin faculty, Turkish faculty exiled from Turkey, and representatives of the NY Six Consortium. The students met with German NGOs, think tanks, and governmental agencies to both learn about their work on forced migration and also share with them the work being done by faculty and students at Vassar College.

Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI)

Vassar URSI students have worked with the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education as participants of Mental Health, Emergency Medicine, and Global Resilience, a summer study abroad program in Bern, Switzerland, organized and led by Dr. Adam Brown at The New School for Social Research. Under the guidance of Dr. Brown, the students learn about the current research and methods being employed in global mental health, how to carry out mental health research in diverse settings, and basic research and statistical methods used in mental health research. Students also receive training in how to interpret data and write up findings for publication. Furthermore, participating students learn directly from local experts and the communities about the experiences of migrants and refugees. This includes meetings and workshops with medical experts, policymakers, and social entrepreneurs. There are also opportunities to meet with refugees involved in these organizations and to hear about their experiences interacting with the healthcare system.

Student Research Workshops

With so many students having gained experience in researching migration and displacement research through many of the aforementioned projects, there are also frequent opportunities for students to work with the Coordinator for Research and Pedagogy of the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education to lead research workshops both at Vassar (in courses such as A Lexicon of Forced Migration) and at other universities both within the U.S. and abroad. Previous collaborations include work with the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.