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2014 Social Science Scholars

Click here to view a pdf of the 2014 recipients.

Alejandro Acosta

Alejandro was born in Colombia and immigrated with his family to Florida at the age of six. His dual Major is in Economics and International Affairs. He spent his first semester studying at FSU’s campus in the Republic of Panama. After transferring to the main campus, Alejandro pursued an internship with the United Nations World Food program. There he worked on data base analysis for best practices and lessons learned for past relief projects. He has also worked extensively in the political field, and currently as an intern with the Florida House of Representatives, assigned to the Chair of the Appropriations Committee. Alejandro is active in campus politics. He was appointed to a senate seat in the second semester of his freshman year and has since served as vice chair of the Recognized Student Organization Outreach Committee and as a member of the Student Affairs Committee. In addition, Alejandro served as political action chair for the Hispanic Latino Student Union, treasurer of the Colombian Student Association, and treasurer of the Inter-Residence Hall Council of Ragans and Traditions Hall complex.


Stephanie Angel

Stefanie is from Coral Springs, FL. Her family is originally from Colombia, and she is a first-generation college student. Since her freshman year at FSU, Stephanie has been involved with Advocates for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (AIRR). She currently serves as the organization’s secretary. Previously, she was its Event Committee Chair. Through her involvement with AIRR, Stephanie was elected to represent the North Region of the Florida Immigrant Youth Network (FLIYN) and, subsequently, served as member of that organization’s Steering Committee. Stephanie is also a youth mentor for PeaceJam Southeast, an organization that brings Nobel Peace Laureates to campus each spring and, by so doing, motivates both college and high school students to work for change in their communities. Following graduation, she plans to attend law school and to continue to advocate for policies that positively impact the Latino community.


Tatiana-Rose Becker

Tatiana is a first generation college student from Fort Lauderdale, FL. She is double majoring in Political Science and International Affairs and, at the same time, earning a certificate in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Tatiana is the Director of Marketing and Outreach in the FSU Student Government Office of Governmental Affairs, Vice President of Standards for Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity at FSU, and Vice President of Noles for Israel. She is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society and works as an intern with the Gwen Graham for Congress campaign. Previously, she interned in the Florida House with Representative Elaine Schwartz. Tatiana is a strong activist for improving US/Israeli relations and for security in the Middle East. Upon graduating, she intends to move to Washington, DC, to pursue a career in national security and lobbying.


Carol Chirinos

Carol was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to South Florida at the age of nine. She is majoring in Economics with a minor in Information Technology. At FSU her studies have focused on the relationship between individual motivation and economic development as well as the critical role of information in fostering new attitudes and behaviors. She has observed such processes at work in a number or organizations, including: Bank of America, where she is currently employed; in the Department of Economics, and as president of the student chapter of National Association for Business Economics. Through the Social Science Scholars Program Carol plans to promote and manage a technology project to enhance the financial literacy of young adults. After graduation she plans on completing a Master's degree in Applied Economics and then pursuing a career that will utilize all of her skills in finance, information services and marketing. During her leisure time, Carol enjoys exercising and the arts – she is a certified group fitness instructor and an enthusiastic piano player.


Rachel Crooks

Rachel is a double major in History and Latin America and Caribbean Studies. She is from Jacksonville, FL. She is the current president of Empowering Women Globally, a student organization that aims to raise awareness about women's rights internationally. She participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and she now teaches a UROP course in the humanities. She also is a peer adviser for the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors, a member of the Social Science Leadership Council, on the executive board of Phi Beta Kappa honor society, an ESOL tutor, and a research assistant to Dr. Robinson Herrera of the History Department. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and has been named a finalist for a Truman Scholarship. Last summer, Rachel interned at the Asociación CREAR, an NGO based in Sámara, Costa Rica. This summer she will complete an independent research project in the Ecuadorian Amazon under the supervision of Dr. Michael Uzendoski of the Department of Modern Languages. While in Ecuador Rachel hopes to begin work on her honors thesis, which, concerns Afro-Ecuadorian and indigenous populations.


Qaree Dreher

Qaree is a second-year student from San Antonio, Texas, majoring in Public Relations and International Affairs. As a Service Scholar, he is dedicated to serving Florida State and the Tallahassee community, focusing specifically on youth character development and fundraising. Qaree is deeply engaged in campus life as a proud brother of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, a member of both the Office of Servant Leadership and the Garnet and Gold Key Leadership Honorary Society. He also coordinates the Student United Way campaign. Upon graduation, Qaree intends to work internationally in non-profit development.


Rebekka Flam

Rebekka is double majoring in Environmental Studies and International Affairs, with a concentration on geography. She was born in Lahti, Finland, but grew up in Coconut Creek, FL. At the age of 16 she spent a year in Taiwan as a Rotary Youth Exchange student, kindling her interest in international relations. At FSU she has been an active member and officer of the Environmental Service Program (ESP). Currently, she co-directs an awareness campaign to alert the community to the risks of hydraulic fracturing in Florida. In addition to environmental education, her interests include international development and social justice. She enjoys working on service-oriented projects, including the campus food garden, and volunteering as a conversation partner with the Center for Intensive English Studies. Last spring Rebekka studied at FSU’s Florence Center and, subsequently, spent the summer volunteering on an Italian organic farm. As part of her Social Science Scholars leadership project, this summer she will undertake a research project in Nepal in conjunction with the Global Peace Exchange.


Mary Rebekah Fritz

Mary is a dual major in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Social Science, with a minor in Religion. She is from Orlando, Florida. On campus she is involved in a variety of service activities through the Center for Leadership and Social Change and the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society as well as and numerous other honor societies. She is passionate about social justice and is active politically both locally and nationally. During her FSU career she has interned at both U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s Office and at the Pew Charitable Trust. Currently, she works for the Tallahassee Ballet as an instructor in the Dance Chance Program. Mary also serves as vice president for Trafficked at FSU, an organization with close ties to FSU’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. Her work includes anti-trafficking awareness campaigns and the organization of events, both at FSU and with local community groups. Upon graduation Mary plans to continue promoting human rights awareness as well as anti-trafficking programs across the country.


Hunter Hamrick

Hunter is a junior from Tampa, FL. He is an honors student, double majoring in Political Science and International Affairs. He is deeply committed to human rights issue, especially those affecting the LGBT community. His passion for human rights and research led him to conduct research with Dr. William Moore, a member of FSU’s Political Science Department. Hunter also has been involved with service organizations such as PeaceJam and the Student Council for Undergraduate Research and Creativity. At the same time he is pursuing a Global Pathways Certificate and a Garnet and Gold Medallion. He plans to complete an Honor’s Thesis related to human rights during his senior year. Upon graduation, Hunter hopes to continue his graduate studies in human rights in Washington, DC, and, eventually, to attend law school. He also aspires to continue his involvement in politics.


Maria L. Kimball

Maria immigrated with her family to Tallahassee from Russia eleven years ago. Having mastered both English and Spanish in the intervening years, she has developed an interest in Latin American Culture. Maria received her AA from Tallahassee Community College. At TCC she was active in a number of organizations, including: Phi Theta Kappa, the International Student Organization and Student Government. She was also an Academic Support Senator. As Student Government Secretary she organized a number of community service projects. The summer before enrolling at FSU, Maria participated in the university’s Undergraduate Law School Program. She is dual majoring in Political Science and Russian and Eastern European Studies. As a Social Science Scholar she hopes to visit Russia and to produce a documentary about the nation’s Baltic cultures.


Janelle King

Janelle is from Sarasota, FL, and is a double major in Criminology and International Affairs. She arrived at FSU already committed to PeaceJam and to the Service Scholars Program. She soon discovered Take Back the Tap, an organization that aims to raise awareness and to end the sale of plastic water bottles on campus. Janelle is now vice-president of that organization. She has participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. As a sophomore she conducted research on transitional justice programs in French North Africa, specifically Morocco and Tunisia, under the supervision of a professor in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. During the summer of 2012 Janelle studied in Istanbul, Turkey, and, upon completion of the program, she travelled throughout the Balkan region. She is currently the Emergency Services Intern at the American Red Cross in Tallahassee. Previously, she served as the Outreach Coordinator of With Words. Following graduation she foresees working with an NGO in the field of conflict resolution.


Nicole Kliewer

Nicole is an honors student from Orlando, FL, currently pursuing a dual degree in Political Science and International Relations with minors in Spanish and Statistics. As a participant in the Research Intensive Bachelor's Certificate Program, she is committed to undergraduate research and is currently completing an analysis of military families’ voting patterns in presidential elections. In an effort to improve political awareness on campus, Nicole helped found FSU's branch of College Youth in Government. This organization enables students to participate in governmental simulations that improve their understanding of American political processes. She is also an active member of the World Affairs Program and plans to obtain a PhD in Political Science, focusing on American Government and International Relations. Nicole has a passion for international diplomacy and cooperation and intends to work in the Foreign Service or in an academic environment upon graduation. Through participation in the Beyond Borders cultural exchange in Dresden, Germany, in May 2013, Nicole developed a desire to improve cultural understanding between the United States and Germany. Through the Social Science Scholars Program she hopes to expand on this love by returning to Germany to bridge gaps between the two countries.


Zachary Laranang

Zachary is an International Affairs and Political Science dual-major from Tallahassee. He is completing complementary work towards certificates in Leadership, Global Pathways, and Research Intensive Political Science. He is deeply committed to social justice, reflected in his interests in minority issues, public policy, human rights, international relations, and leadership. On campus he has been involved with PeaceJam, LeaderShape, and Second Harvest. In addition, he recently participated in an internship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At FSU Zachary has been inducted into multiple honor societies, including: Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Kappa. Looking to the future, he plans to conduct research relating to sectarian violence. Upon graduation he hopes to either complete a Masters in International Studies or take time off in order to gain relevant work experience abroad. He aspires to eventually enter the U.S. Foreign Service.


Quin Lemieux

Quin is an International Affairs major from Deland, FL. He graduated with honors from Tallahassee Community College with an associate of arts degree. Soon after joining the writing staff at FSView and Florida Flambeau last fall, Quin was promoted to the position of assistant news editor, a position he still holds. During his undergraduate career, ha has interned with a number of organizations, including: Volusia County's Economic Development Agency; a PR agency in his hometown; and Old School in Tallahassee. Quin aspires to build upon such experiences in the future. With a degree in International Affairs and a minor in entrepreneurship, he eventually plans to pursue business activities abroad and perhaps to assist American companies in their overseas operations.


Marie-Claire Levy

Marie-Claire is a junior majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in Portuguese. In her hometown of Jacksonville, FL, Marie-Claire participated actively in an international non-profit called CISV (formerly known as Children’s International Summer Villages). CISV seeks to educate and inspire action for a more just and peaceful world. Marie-Claire has volunteered with CISV at both local and national levels, including programs in Canada, Brazil, and Germany. A passionate believer in sustainable development, she coordinates the Eco-Reps program at FSU. She also enjoys volunteering with Garnet and Gold Goes Green and Take Back the Tap. This summer Marie-Claire will travel to Campinas, Brazil, to work with Associação Anhumas Quero-Quero (AAQQ). AAQQ works with at risk youth and adolescents in vulnerable situations to increase their security and the quality of life. When she is not studying, working or traveling, Marie-Claire loves being outside, swimming, baking, reading and playing with her dogs.


Brooks Reed

Brooks is a Political Science and International Affairs major from Coral Springs, FL. He is also pursuing a minor in Arabic. He is conversant in Italian, having served while in high school as a Youth Ambassador to Rimini, Italy, on behalf of the Sister Cities Program of Greater Ft. Lauderdale. In 2013 Brooks earned the Research Intensive Bachelor's Certificate in Political Science. His paper, which analyzed the success of various independence movements, was presented on the Conflict and Revolution Panel at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association in January 2014. As a member of FSU’s World Affairs Program, Brooks competes in collegiate Model United Nations competitions. In the fall of 2013 he interned in the Executive Office of Governor Rick Scott. Intrigued by the Arab Spring, he has developed a strong in interest in Middle Eastern politics. Under the auspices of Social Science Scholars Program, Brooks plans to work with Syrian refugees in Jordan.


Jacqueline Rojas

Jacqueline is from Ocala, FL. She is an International Affairs and Political Science dual major with a minor in French. During her sophomore year, she completed the Research Intensive Bachelor’s Certificate for Political Science. She recently presented her research paper “Personalism’s Conduciveness to Stability” at the Southern Political Science Association conference in New Orleans. During her time at the university, Jacqueline has been involved with the campus ministry Campus Crusade for Christ and is currently an English Conversation Club tutor at FSU’s Center for Global Engagement. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma, and the Oscar Arias Sanchez Hispanic Honor Society. Jacqueline has interned as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Shannon in the Department of Political Science. She currently works in FSU’s Office of Programs and Planning. Her interests include the politics of developing areas and international education.


Hayden Whitfield

Hayden is an Economics and Psychology double major from Columbus, Ohio, and a member of Mortar Board National Honor Society. His research focuses on economic development, mental health policy, and successful longevity. Since working with Realizing Everyone’s Need for Emotional Wellness (RENEW), the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) and other organizations, Hayden has devoted considerable time helping enable people of all ages and backgrounds to live healthy and engaged lives. He is currently studying Mandarin and hopes to spend the summer in China researching the economic and mental resiliency of rural communities. Hayden also is an Ironman tri-athlete who hopes one day to compete internationally.