2019-2020 Social Science Scholars

Simone Burgin

Simone is a junior from Tampa, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and modern languages. She is a member of the Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 and the 2018 Global Scholars Cohort. During her freshman year she conducted research on religious ethics through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). She also co-authored a publication in the journal Religions. Simone spent two and a half months the following summer in Saint-Louis, Senegal, conducting research for the Global Scholars Program on the intersection of class, language, and education. She serves as co-director of Amnesty International’s FSU chapter. The summer after her sophomore year she spent two months in Calais, France, working with Afghan and Eritrean refugees. Currently, she is working at a civil rights law firm in Tallahassee that focuses on police and prison mistreatment cases. Simone’s passion is criminal justice reform and she hopes to continue this work as a Social Science Scholar.

Taylor Castro

Taylor is a first-generation student from Pembroke Pines, Florida, and a junior majoring in political science with a minor in psychology. After participating in the Center for Leadership and Social Change’s programs, serving as a mentor in PeaceJam Southeast and being a facilitator for the Service Leadership Seminar, Taylor realized her passion for leadership learning. She is now pursuing a certificate in leadership studies. In addition, Taylor is working with Union Productions, known also as the Club Downunder. Since 2018, she has been employed by FSU’s Department of Hospitality, helping to create an inclusive and entertaining environment for the student body. Taylor also serves on the executive board of the Pride Student Union, part of the Student Government Association. Upon graduation Taylor hopes to pursue a graduate degree in either public administration or public policy. Her career goals are to teach and to inspire sustainable social change.

Faitherly Caudio

Faith is a first-generation Haitian-American from Fleming Island, Florida. She is majoring in political science, with plans to attend law school after obtaining her BS. In her freshman year, she was elected to represent her residence hall in the Inter-Residential Hall Council. There her efforts were coordinated with FSU’s Sustainable Campus Program, the Health and Wellness Center and other organizations that help students adjust to campus life. Since her first year, Faith also has been heavily involved with the Women in Pre-Law Society and with Phi Alpha Delta (PAD), the national pre-law fraternity. This association has opened her eyes to the difficulties women face in the legal profession and the inequalities present in our nation’s criminal justice system. Faith’s experiences with PAD and the resident student organizations on campus have sparked a passion to pursue criminal justice reform and environmental action, both nationally and internationally.

Beatrice Dain

Beatrice is a junior from Gainesville, Florida, majoring in international affairs and anthropology with a minor in social entrepreneurship. She began her college career as a UROP participant, helping to create an online course to assist Nicaraguan artisans with international sales. Since that tim

e, she has interned at the Center for Mesoamerican Research and the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman. She also has worked as an archive assistant at FSU’s Institute on World War II and the Human Experience. Last summer Beatrice was an intern with Colibrí Center for Human Rights where she composed missing person reports with family members of migrants who had disappeared after crossing the Arizona-Mexico border. She is currently working on an honors thesis that explores the role of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in refugee resettlement in the 1930s and 1940s. After graduation Beatrice plans to continue studying and advocating for human rights and immigration reform

Andy Feliciano

Andy is a second-year student from Jacksonville, Florida. He is studying political science and intends to declare a double major in international affairs. He enjoys writing in his free time and has written for a variety of music blogs over the past year. While at FSU, he has been an active member of the Poetic Lyricism Club, and has volunteered for the V89 News Department. Andy has a profound interest in public policy, with a focus on healthcare reform. As a Social Science Scholar, he hopes to immerse himself in politics, hone his leadership skills and garner experience that will help him choose between a career in journalism or public policy. Additionally, Andy is a rapper, producer and audio engineer who independently distributes all of his music. Over the past year he has been the opening act for a variety of well-established artists, including Xavier Wulf and Wifisfuneral. Following graduation Andy intends to pursue a master’s in either journalism or public policy and, eventually, to make a difference on Capitol Hill.

Giovanna Garcia

Giovanna Garcia is a junior from Miami, Florida, majoring in international affairs and political science. She also is pursuing a Global Citizenship Certificate. A Presidential Scholar, Giovanna is interested in the intersection of grassroots activism and international human rights. She has interned with a congressional campaign and served as Political Affairs Director for FSU’s College Democrats. In that capacity she organized “Get Out the Vote” and related lobbying efforts with 22 Florida legislators. This is Giovanna’s fourth semester interning with the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. There she serves Tallahassee’s migrant and refugee communities by conducting legal immigration research and providing translation services. During her time at FSU, Giovanna has presented papers at two research conferences, studied human rights in Prague and served as the Urgent Action Coordinator for Amnesty International. Her ultimate goal is a career in international human rights law with a focus on migration, ethnic conflict and far-right nationalism.

Nick Hearing

Nick is a junior from Tampa, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and economics with a minor in Asian Studies. Outside of his major, he also studies Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. Nick is a Presidential Scholar and co-director of the Global Peace Exchange, an organization that sponsors students to undertake sustainable service projects overseas. He also serves as Vice President of Tours for the Academic Recruitment Organization, an ambassador in the Visitors Center and an Honors Colloquium leader. During summer 2018, Nick participated in FSU’s Global Scholars Program and interned with the nonprofit Manna Project International in Quito, Ecuador, working on several education initiatives. Last summer he interned in the management section of the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China. Nick hopes to return to China and improve his Chinese. Following graduation, he aspires to attend graduate school, serve in the Peace Corps, and work in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Aliyah Hurt

Aliyah is a third-year student, pursuing a dual degree in public health and political science. She has interned for several organization, including: the British Parliament, the Department of Defense in the Defense of Counterintelligence and Security Agency, and a health care interest firm. On campus she currently serves as vice director of the World Affairs Program, the university’s Model U. N. team, and last fall as Secretary General of the organization’s 28th Regional Training Conference. Previously, Aliyah was a board member of the Student Government Association’s Office of Governmental Affairs. In that role she fought for legislative policies to better represent minority students. She has also been involved with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and is now beginning an honors thesis on racial issues in South Africa and, especially, their effects on health outcomes. As a Social Science Scholar, Aliyah intends to intern for a federal law enforcement agency and travel to South Africa to complete research on her thesis topic.

Nastassia Janvier

Tazzy is a third-year first generation college student seeking a joint BS/MS degree in interdisciplinary social science and public administration. An aspiring lawyer, she advocates for marginalized communities by both institutional and extra-institutional means. She interns at the Pittman Law Group in Tallahassee, where she employs her research training to develop policies for a variety of groups. As a former intern with the university’s Title IX Department, she raised awareness of sexual violence and rape culture on college campuses. Previously, Tazzy has served as chapter President of the NAACP, as a board member of the Office of Governmental Affairs and, currently, as Secretary of Co-Collegiate Affairs for FSU’s Student Government Association. She has worked with the Tallahassee City Council and with State Senator Annette Taddeo on a number of local and state issues. Tazzy continually seeks opportunities to encourage millennials to participate in civic affairs. She currently is a fellow with Young People 4 (YP4) and the NAACP’s NextGen Program. The latter sponsors the development and implementation of strategic plans to address pressing community issues.

Emma Jo McAuliffe

Emma Jo McAuliffe is a junior from Tallahassee, Florida. She is majoring in sociology with a minor in the philosophy of law. She enrolled at FSU as a Gap Year Fellow, having received a scholarship to spend a year abroad following her high school graduation. During that year she served a community in need in Phenom Penh, Cambodia, and later explored potential careers in the fashion industry in New York City. Upon entering FSU Emma Jo joined the Freshman Leadership Institute and, through that association, reaffirmed her passion for community service. Through the Undergraduate Research Program (UROP) she is conducting research on social media’s effects on schools. She also leads the Power of WE, an organization that has redefined and expanded what “diversity and inclusion” mean for students. Next summer Emma Jo plans to expand her knowledge and gain experience working with a nonprofit organization. Following graduation, she aspires to continue her education in research.

Meagan McLaughlin

Meagan is a third-year student from Tampa, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and political science with minors in French and urban and regional planning. As a sophomore, she participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and is currently a research assistant for her research mentor. She has held leadership roles in various campus organizations, including the Student Council for Undergraduate Research and Creativity, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and the Catholic Student Union. In addition, she is a UROP and Freshmen Interest Group (FIG) instructor. In her free time Meagan volunteers with the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and Darasa, an organization that teaches English to migrant and refugee students in Leon County. As a Social Science Scholar, she hopes to work abroad next summer with West African migrants and refugees in France. After graduation Meagan plans to conduct humanitarian aid and women’s rights advocacy in lesser-developed nations through the Peace Corps or a nonprofit organization.

Molly McQueeney

Molly is a third-year student from Sarasota, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in economics and social work with a minor in mathematics. She is passionate about human rights, specifically for refugees and asylum seekers. She is president of Darasa, an organization that teaches English to migrant and refugee students in Leon County. She also interns at FSU’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. In addition, Molly is a member of Amnesty International and Presidential Scholars. She also was an honors colloquium leader in fall 2019. Molly spent last summer volunteering in a refugee camp in Greece. There she attended boat landings and distributed food, water, dry clothes and blankets to families arriving in need. Molly is currently working on an honors thesis that focuses on the effectiveness of U.S, and European resettlement policies in integrating refugees into the local labor market. She hopes eventually to work as an economic consultant to policy makers and nonprofit organizations that support refugees.

Chaston Pfingston

Chaston is a junior from Winter Haven, Florida, majoring in political science. He has been involved on campus as associate director of the Inter-Residence Hall Council and a member of the Office of Governmental Affairs’ Board of Directors. Off-campus Chaston has served as an intern in the United States House of Representatives, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida House of Representatives. In each instance he has sought to widen his understanding of the policymaking process and to infuse practical insights into his research. During his freshman year, Chaston participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and is currently working on completing a Research Intensive Bachelor’s Certificate in political science. His research focuses on the impacts of civics education on young voter participation. After graduation Chaston hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in public policy and to develop expertise in systems and policy analysis.

Angel Purganan

Angel is a junior from Tampa, Florida. She is pursuing a double major in political science and philosophy with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She is a clarinetist in the Marching Chiefs and serves as the president of Tau Beta Sigma, the music and service sorority. As someone impacted greatly by arts education, Angel is passionate about international education policy. She hopes eventually to assist countries in improving student access to quality and relevant educational programs. She currently volunteers as a coach for PeaceJam Southeast, as an English tutor for the Migrant & Refugee Education Alliance and as a mentor to members of a local high school band. She also has been involved with the Center for Global Engagement, the Student Government Association and New Student & Family Programs. After graduation Angel aspires to teach English abroad before pursuing a graduate degree in international and comparative education.

Molly Rimes

Molly is a political science student from Fort Myers, Florida. In addition to her political science major, she is pursuing a minor in criminology and a certificate in public policy. On campus she is involved with the Honor’s Experience Program. As a field trip committee member of that organization, she has organized excursions that center around understanding the inequalities in our society. Molly has interned with Florida State Representative Anna V. Eskamani as a legislative intern. In that capacity she expanded her knowledge and love for public policy. Building on that experience, she is seeking a policy-oriented internship in Washington next summer. Following graduation, she plans to enter a master’s program in public policy.

Sebastian Rivera

Sebastian is a sophomore pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and criminology with a minor in philosophy. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sebastian is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion within humanitarian and international development programs. During the 2019-2020 academic year he held multiple leadership positions on campus. Each of them olstered his desire to attend law school following graduation from FSU. Sebastian currently serves as a residential assistant, as the Secretary of the College of Social Science’s Student Leadership Council, and as the Internal Affairs Chair of the Puerto Rican Student Association. He also is a traveling debate member of the World Affairs Program. He plans to study abroad in Prague next summer with Dr. Whitney Bendeck and to do humanitarian work with CESRT in Greece and The Power of a Nickle in Ukraine.

Mateo Rodriguez

Mateo is a junior majoring in political science with a minor in history. He has worked on several political campaigns, including Andrew Gillum for Governor in 2018, and for the Democratic National Committee leading up to the 2020 election cycle. Mateo grew up in Orlando, Florida, and understands the impact that money can have on the everyday lives of individuals and their families. He is passionate about finding ways to alleviate financial insecurity in the United States, and aims to do so through the use of the legal and political system. In the future he hopes to attend law school where he will use the skills and knowledge that he attains to give a voice to those who face financial vulnerability.

Alex Tolbert

Alex is a junior from Niceville, Florida. She is majoring in political science with minors in chemistry, biology, psychology and business. She also is an Honors Medical Student and is committed to reducing disparities in healthcare access and to formulating evidence-based health policies that affect women. Alex has served as treasurer for the Honors Medical Scholars Society, academics chair for the Delta Zeta sorority and public relations chair for the Academic Recruitment Organization. Additionally, she works as a learning assistant for General Chemistry I with Dr. Sabitra Brush. Last summer she studied in Sydney, Australia, with FSU International Programs, taking courses in both comparative federalism and comparative health systems. Her research interests are multidisciplinary. She has worked on projects in medical sociology with Dr. Miranda Waggoner, in biomedical sciences with Dr. Raed Rizkallah and in behavioral and social sciences with Dr. Jeffrey Harman.