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2012 Social Science Scholars

Click here to view a pdf of the 2012 recipients.

Jesid Acosta

Jesid is an International Affairs and Finance double major from West Palm Beach, Florida. He is a first-generation student at FSU, having immigrated with his family to the United States from Ecuador when he was 10 years old. He is involved in the Hispanic/Latino Student Union, the Student Government Association, the Alpha Mu chapter of Phi Iota Alpha and the LEONES Mentoring Program for K-12 students. At FSU Jesid already has received multiple awards, including: the Hispanic Latino Student Union’s “Angie Cintron” Memorial Award, the “Bob” Brandewie New Senator of the Year Award and the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund Award. He is a finalist for a 2012 Truman Fellowship. Following graduation, Jesid plans to pursue graduate training in International Affairs and work for the World Trade Organization.


Desiree Brewer

Desiree is an International Affairs major from Jacksonville, Florida. She entered FSU last fall, having completed her AA degree at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ). At FSCJ she earned high honors and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She was also was a member of the Student Government Association and the Forensics Team, winning several awards for persuasive public speaking and interpretation. As a Student Ambassador she helped organize a campus-wide recycling program at FSCJ. Desiree received a Coca-Cola All-Florida Team Academic Award, a Multi-cultural Academic Award and is listed among the Who’s Who among College Students. At FSU she is a member of Peer Involvement Mentors, Pi Gamma Mu, Noles for Obama as well as Colors of Curves, a student organization dedicated to raising young women’s self-awareness and self-esteem through leadership, community service and fashion.


Matty Budesa

Matty is a dual major in Political Science and Mass Communication from Cape Canaveral, Florida. She is a political activist heavily involved in a range of campus issues and organizations. She currently serves as President of the FSU College Democrats and as Secretary of the Florida College Democrats. In addition, Matty is a student assistant in Dean Rasmussen’s office and serves as Treasurer of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy’s Student Leadership Council. Additionally, she serves as a team captain for Relay for Life, and was recently chosen to be a Freshmen Interest Group Leader for the fall of 2012.


Juliee Anne Conde Medina

Juliee Anne is a dual International Affairs and Political Science major, with minors in Economics and Arabic. Her family moved to the West Palm Beach, Florida, from Cali, Colombia, when she was 10 years old. She was the salutatorian of her high school class and won the Best Appellate Brief for Moot Court Award for the State of Florida in her senior year. Juliee is heavily involved with FSU’s Student Government Association as: an undergraduate Senator for the 64th Student senate, a member of its Office of Governmental Affairs, and as chair of the Political Action Committee of the Hispanic Latino Student Union. She also participates in the Colombian Student Association, the World Affairs Program, and Leaders Empowering Others in Need of Education and Service (LEONES). After graduation, she plans to attend law school and to prepare for a career in international law and diplomacy, preferably with the United Nations.


Lucas Daniels

Lucas is an International Affairs major from McLean, VA. He also is earning a Global Pathways Certificate in Markets and Institutions. Lucas originally entered FSU to prepare for a career in music but later decided to follow his passion for China. He has served on the executive board of the Asian American Student Union, as a Baritone for All-Night Yahtzee. He is a student assistant in Dean Rasmussen’s office. Lucas also finds time to volunteer with the Center for Multicultural Affairs and a number of community development groups, including Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga. He spent last summer in China, working with children of migrant workers and at a center for autistic children. He hopes to return China again this summer to pursue his research interests and further his honors thesis. Following graduation, Lucas plans to study law and eventually to work in international trade and/or property law.


Brian Denny

Brian is a dual International Affairs and Political Science major with a minor in Mandarin Chinese. He transferred to FSU in the spring of 2011, having completed his AA degree at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. During his first semester, Brian was published in “The Owl,” FSU’s annual undergraduate research journal. He is now serving as an Assistant Editor for the journal and as Director of the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors. He also is a member of the college’s Student Leadership Council and the Pi Gamma Mu Social Science Honor Society. Brian is training to teach an Undergraduate Research Opportunity course for underclassmen during the next school year. Following graduation, he plans to pursue a PhD in Political Science, focusing on the politics and economy of China.


Ashley Eick

Ashley is a native of Williamsburg, VA, although she now considers Florida State University her home. She is a double major in History and Political Science, and is on course to graduate in three years. As a freshman, she participated in the Service Leadership Seminar and joined the Honors Program. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA at FSU and is a member of three honor societies. With a keen interest in global engagement, she is Director of Events for InternatioNole and spent three weeks last past summer working with international students from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. She is the Environmental Caucus Chair and Debate Captain for College Democrats. In addition to her activities on campus, she interns at the Florida Democratic Party and was a summer organizer for Organizing for America Following graduation, she plans to attend law school and to prepare for a career in international affairs.


Kylie Foley

Kylie is majoring in International Affairs and Geography with a minor in Recreation and Leisure Services. She is from Lake Worth, Florida. Her career at FSU has been marked by a dedication to social justice causes, most notably her work with Noles for Haiti. She has led multiple student trips during school breaks to an orphanage in Haiti. She is also a member of the World Vision ACT:S Creative Activism Leadership Council, and a leader of the FSU/TCC Wesley Foundation, serving on its Missions and Encouragement Team. After graduation Kylie plans to continue working on behalf of international development causes.


Hillary Gale

Hillary is from Greenacres, Florida. She is a majoring in Sociology and, following graduation, plans to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health. She hopes eventually to work in impoverished communities on issues pertaining to sustainable health care and education. Hillary is currently working as a research assistant to Dr. Eric Garland, a professor of Social Work, on a study of chronic pain. She holds a leadership position in GlobeMed FSU and is a member of the Honors Student Association.


Melissa Giddings

Melissa is an International Affairs and History dual major from Seminole, Florida. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key, the Seminole Torchbearers organization, and the College of Arts & Sciences’ Student Leadership Council. She has studied abroad twice: first in Prague through FSU’s International Programs, and subsequently in Dresden through Beyond Borders. She is actively involved in the World Affairs Program and the Model United Nations Team for which she is both a traveling member and training coordinator. This semester Melissa will defend her undergraduate honors thesis on German- American history. For nearly three years she has been working for the State University System Board of Governors, most recently as a student intern in the Academic & Student Affairs division. Through her work with the Board of Governors she has gained a passion for college access and curricular issues, and now plans to pursue a career in education policy.


Mariah Lewis

Mariah is from Jacksonville, Florida. She is majoring in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences with a focus on Anthropology and Sociology. She also is pursuing a minor in museum studies. She is so vice president of the Anthropology Society and has been working very closely with the Anthropology Department to preserve its programs at FSU. Mariah is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the Mortar Board Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society, and the Golden Key Honor Society. Last summer she interned full-time at the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C. She is currently employed at the Dirac Science Library and the Anthropology Department. She is an avid horseback rider, competing in intercollegiate shows and serving on the board of the FSU Equestrian Club. Building upon her love of books and libraries, she plans to pursue a career in library science.


John Mazzoni

John is an Economics major from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He has lived in many places, including: Argentina, Italy, Colorado, and Florida. He plans to study abroad this summer. Eventually, he hopes to improve the quality of life in developing nations by assisting in the reform of property rights and by maximizing the use of previously underutilized resources. John is also interested in the Fulbright Program. Last semester, he taught a Pre-Law Colloquium to incoming freshman. He hopes to continue his teaching in other countries. John also aspires to become a lawyer, specializing in tax law.


Shannon McGuire

Shannon is from Pensacola, Florida. She is majoring in Economics major with a minor in Spanish. On campus she worked with the Baptist College Ministry as a member of its Leadership Team and as an Event Coordinator and Freshmen Mentor. She is the president of FSU’s Chapter of Network of enlightened Women (NeW), an organization for conservative college women. Her organization conducts research on gender and social issues and volunteers with the Girl Scouts and other community organizations. Shannon is a contributing writer for the NeW National Blog and its 2011 National NeW Essay Contest. She is earning the Exploring International Humanitarian Law certificate from the Center for Global Engagement this semester. In addition to working at Ard, Shirley & Rudolph law firm, Shannon also is a balloon artist.


Maria Prokopetz

Maria Prokopetz moved with her family to Miami from Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the age of four. She was able to start college early as part of a dual enrollment program at the School for Advanced Studies in South Florida. This allowed her to enroll enter FSU as a freshman with over 60 credits. Maria is majoring in International Affairs and Criminology with a minor in Psychology. She has been heavily involved in all levels of government, having interned at the Florida House and Florida Senate as well as the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies in Washington, D.C. On campus Maria has been involved in the Hispanic Latino Student Union as editor of its newsletter. She also writes for the FSView. Maria was awarded a Humanitarian Law Certificate by the Red Cross and she received FSU’s Student Service Award for her involvement in the community.


Amy Robinson

Amy is a Political Science major from Umatilla, Florida. She completed an undergraduate thesis. She also is pursuing a minor in FSU’s Law and Society program. Amy also is president of Special Olympics Outreach, a Registered Student Organization committed to supporting Special Olympics Leon County. She dedicates many hours each week to this organization and to its programs throughout the year. After graduation Amy plans to attend law school and to promote the rights of persons with cognitive disabilities.


Caitlin Strawder

Caitlin is a Political Science and Interdisciplinary Social Science dual major from Deltona, Florida. As a Service Scholar, she has been involved in multiple organizations and service projects throughout her career at FSU. These include: Without Words, Miles for Miley, establishing the Ashley Cowie Endowment, and the Office of Servant Leadership, among others. She is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Fraternity, Phi Eta Sigma Honors Fraternity, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Golden Key Honors Society, and is earning a Global Pathways Certificate in Human Rights. Caitlin has strong interests in English education, gender equality, and related social justice issues. She tutors in English education for migrant workers in the Tallahassee area and instructs a seminar in presenting in English in addition to her work with international students. She currently works as an intern at the university’s Center for Global Engagement.


Benjamin Wenger

Ben is an International Affairs major from Inverness, Florida. Business and Portuguese are his minor concentrations. He is deeply committed to Brazil where he spends part of each summer, studying and participating in various volunteer activities. At FSU he has held positions with Student Government, the Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and the Portuguese Language Club. He currently works as house manager at the Southern Scholarship Foundation and as a community relations intern for the Tallahassee Democrat. Ben also serves on the campus’ Recreation Board and facilitates the Challenge Program. Ben is also deeply involved in his church, Fellowship of the Hills.


Victoria Zeccola

Victoria Zeccola is a dual major in International Affairs and Chinese. She was born and raised in Tampa, FL. At FSU Victoria has been active both in and out of the classroom. She was recently inducted into Pi Gamma Mu, the Social Science Honors Society. Last semester she taught an International Affairs colloquium within the Freshmen Interest Group Program. She is currently a traveling member of the World Affairs Program's Model UN team. Victoria also serves as an Outreach Coordinator on the board of a student-run NGO, the Global Peace Exchange. In the future Victoria hopes to pursue a Masters degree in International Development and work within the non-profit sector.