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2018 Social Science Scholars

Edgar Barrios

Edgar is a junior from Coral Springs, Florida, pursuing a triple major in international affairs, political science, and German. His research interests include British and American politics, foreign and defense policy, and the influence constitutional monarchies have on national policy. He has interned at the U.S. Department of State, the Hudson Institute, the Executive Office of the Governor and the American Spectator. On campus, Edgar has been a student senator. He currently is the SGA’s Press Secretary. He has been Director for Development for UNA-FSU and is a traveling delegate with the World Affairs Program. His other activities include FSU’s Student Foundation, ODK, and the Research Intensive Bachelors Program (RIBC). As a Social Science Scholar, Edgar plans to intern with an organization that focuses on British studies, focusing on the future of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in the Brexit era. In his free time, he enjoys talking about Margaret Thatcher and watching Downton Abbey.


Hannah Cake

Hannah is from Tallahassee, Florida. She is majoring in political science and international affairs. She has been involved with Model United Nations for the past three years, competing in collegiate conferences both nationally and internationally. More recently, Hannah has transitioned to a staff position with the organization, orchestrating collegiate and high school Model UN conferences. This includes her most recent position as Director General of Tallahassee Southern Model UN and Assistant Director of the Commission on the Status of Women at Southern Regional Model UN. Hannah has also played the mandolin in several bands since 2013, most recently with FSU’s Old Time Ensemble. Apart from her passion for music and Model UN, Hannah is very interested in diplomacy, conflict resolution, forced migration, and women in conflict situations. She plans to focus on these issues in graduate school and beyond.


Taegan Dennis

Taegan is a junior studying anthropology, Spanish, and international affairs. As a freshman her interest in sustainable development in Latin America led to an internship with an agricultural project in the Peruvian Amazon. She then shifted her focus to issues of multiculturalism and human rights, serving on the boards of InternatioNole, Power of WE, and Amnesty International. She also has been a coach and mentor for PeaceJam Southeast. She currently interns at the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, translating documents for pro bono immigration and human trafficking cases. Taegan has worked on research projects as both a UROP participant and a Global Scholar. She also is preparing an honors-in-the-major thesis exploring how families maintain transnational kinship relations after deportation. She enjoys coffee, dancing salsa badly, and reminding people to call their representatives.


William Vince Dewar

vince is a third-year international affairs major from Tallahassee, Florida. In the summer of 2015, Vince contracted as a cultural instructor on the USNS Comfort as it conducted Operation Continuing Promise in the Caribbean. In 2016 he was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship to study Haitian Creole and Culture in Miami and throughout Haiti. In 2017 he received a Moellership Service Scholarship, which funded a two-month summer internship with the Women’s Microfinance Initiative in Buyobo, Uganda Since 2015, he also has served as administrative director for the Tallahassee-Haiti Medical Team, a non-profit organization that provides primary healthcare services in rural Haiti. Vince is particularly interested in developing micro-level economic development strategies in rural communities. Next summer he intends to conduct evaluative research on the effectiveness of such initiatives in Southeast Asia. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s in International Development in the United Kingdom.


Saleshia Ellis

Saleshia is a third-year student from Fort Pierce, Florida, majoring in the Combined Urban & Regional Planning Program. She began her college career as a participant in the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE), FSU’s summer bridge program for first-generation students. Saleshia is involved in both the Student Government Association and has served as an orientation leader and as chief of the Student and Greek Conduct Boards. In her sophomore year, Saleshia participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), conducting focus groups to identify the challenges black women face at institutions with predominately white populations. Her research inspired her to develop an initiative focusing on black women. She refers to it as #Blackgirlmagic. Saleshia has interned with multiple organizations, including Impact America and the Akbar Law Firm and, most recently, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. After graduation, she plans to earn a law degree and a master’s in urban planning.


Matthew Hebron

matt is a junior from Parkland, Florida, majoring in political science and Russian. His major interest is the intersection of diplomacy and communication and how the two can be used to strengthen ties between and among nations. He is an active volunteer with organizations that foster intercultural communication and is passionate about the value of international exchanges. Matt spent his sophomore year as a Boren Scholar in Azerbaijan engaged in intensive language study. He has been involved with academic research throughout his career at FSU, both in the College of Communication and Information and with an honors-in-the-major project on national parks in the U.S. and abroad. He serves on the executive board of the Academic Recruitment Organization, informing high-achieving high-school students about the opportunities at FSU. Upon graduation, Matt aspires to a career in public service.


Max Hoffman

Max is a junior from Indialantic, Florida. With majors in political science with minors in urban and regional planning and emergency management, Max has a particular interest in issues facing local governments in the 21st century. On campus he has worked with FSU’s new student and family programs as an orientation team leader, with University Housing as a resident assistant, with the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy’s Student Leadership Council, and with the Center for Leadership and Social Change. Max has interned with the Young Elected Officials Network, where he gained valuable knowledge regarding the impact of young leaders on their communities. He also interned with the city manager’s office in Satellite Beach, Florida. There he coordinated the city’s newly-established green committee and promoted sustainable and resilient community initiatives. Over spring break, Max will travel to Nepal with the Department of Emergency Management to study how developing communities plan for and recover from violent earthquakes. After graduation he hopes to pursue a graduate degree in urban planning and public administration.


Zara Hood

Zara is a junior from Panama City, Florida. She is a double major in risk management/insurance and economics, with a minor in Spanish. As a sophomore, she conducted research on the management of catastrophic risks under the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). She is a member of Gamma Iota Sigma, a collegiate risk management fraternity. In addition, she is a second-year resident assistant in Wildwood Hall. Last summer, Zara completed an internship on environmental sustainability in Costa Rica and practiced her Spanish. Throughout her college career, she has been passionate about public service. She currently is president of PeaceJam Southeast, a nonprofit organization that brings Nobel Peace Laureates to campus every year to inspire youth to promote change in their communities. As a Social Science Scholar, Zara hopes to blend her interests and to assist communities create sustainable change.


Conner Kabrich

Conner is a junior from St. Augustine, Florida. He is majoring in international affairs and political science. He currently serves as Assistant Director of Involvement for the World Affairs Program. He also serves on the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy’s Student Leadership Council. Last summer Conner interned with the International Rescue Committee in Tallahassee, working to resettle refugees from Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Originally from a military family, Conner is interested in the effects of conflict around the world. In the future, he hopes to pursue a career that will enable him to empower people to rebuild their lives and to prevent conflict from happening in the first place. After graduating, he plans to pursue a masters’ in international relations.


Hannah King

Hannah is a junior majoring in international affairs with minors in social entrepreneurship and Portuguese. She aspires to work in international development initiatives across Latin America that empower communities and combat poverty. Hannah is originally from Guatemala. Recently, she founded Woven Futures (www.wovenfuturescom), a social enterprise that works with indigenous weavers to preserve local cultures, create opportunities, and revitalize the ethics of the fashion industry. Hannah also is the co-founder of Read to Rise, a high-impact non-profit that seeks to increase literacy and sustainability in Léogâne, Haiti. Hannah is determined to connect her roots with her career and to use her resources to empower advocates for indigenous communities.


Olivia McConnell

Olivia is a junior from Minnetonka, Minnesota, pursuing a degrees in economics, French, and international affairs with a concentration in political science. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s in development studies and a career with the UN’s Development Programme. Olivia is the co-founder and president of Migrant and Refugee Education Alliance, a student organization that works with local schools and refugee agencies to train FSU students to tutor refugee and migrant students in English. She is a member of FSU’s Presidential Scholars Program and currently serves as that organization’s social chair. Last summer she was an intern at the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center, where she conducted research on human trafficking and its relationship to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This summer Olivia hopes to work at a development think tank, researching sustainable economic and social development programs.


Kimberlee McMillin

Kimberlee is a junior from Bartow, Florida, persuing degrees in political science and sociology with minors in English and statistics. Her research interests include women and their representation in politics. Kimberlee spent the spring 2017 semester interning for Florida Representative Lorraine Ausley in Tallahassee and the following summer semester as an intern in Washington D.C., working for U.S. Representative Dennis Ross. She is currently interning at a local attorney’s office. On campus Kimberlee serves as Vice-Chair of the Presidential Scholars Program. As a university ambassador she leads tours for prospective students. It is one of her most enjoyable activities. Kimberlee also co-instructs freshmen and sophomores in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. This summer, Kimberlee hopes to intern with a woman-focused organization, either stateside or abroad. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school.


John McQuillan

John is a junior from Gulf Breeze, Florida, pursuing a double major in political science and English, with a minor in classical civilizations. He currently serves in the Student Senate and on the dean’s Conduct Board. Previously, he worked as the Director of the Inter-Residence Hall Council. John has interned in U.S Senator Bill Nelson’s Tallahassee office and with the Veterans of Florida. Last summer he attended the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship in Lexington, Kentucky, on a fellowship dedicated to bipartisan policy initiatives. As a UROP program participant, John conducted research on Medicaid policy, examining potential outcomes of the program’s expansion and austerity. As a Social Science Scholar, he plans to continue his work on health policy with a think tank or other nonprofit organization. Following graduation, John plans to pursue both a J.D. and a master’s in public health.


Grace Montgomery

Grace is a third-year honors student from Tampa, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in economics and international affairs, with minors in Portuguese and computer science. She is fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, having spent a gap year in Brazil as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student. At FSU she is a past member of the Global and Public Affairs Living Learning Community. She has utilized her language skills as a tutor for a Portuguese speaking refugee at Godby High School and as an English conversation tutor. Grace also is a second-year resident assistant and serves as the Philanthropy Chair for Delta Nu Zeta, a local service sorority. She also participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and, as a Social Science Scholar, plans to conduct research in a Portuguese speaking country next summer. Upon graduation, Grace plans to pursue a career in public service, focusing on immigration law and the Foreign Service.


Amir Muhammad

Amir is a junior from Orlando, Florida. He is majoring in political science with a minor in international affairs. He also is an active member of the Marine Reserves. While a student at Seminole State College, Amir was afforded the opportunity to attend a conference in Salzburg, Austria, focusing on globalization. That experience stimulated his interest in international affairs and diplomacy. At the moment, however, his prime focus is preparation for the LSAT next summer. In addition to his classroom work, Amir is participating in the Global Citizenship Certificate and the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society. Upon completion of law school, he aspires to practice public interest law or international law before entering the private sector.


Courtney Reed

Courtney Reed grew up in Southwick, Massachusetts, and came to FSU from Cape Coral, Florida. She is a junior a double majoring in international affairs and Middle East studies. Her research interests include democratic transitions, social movements, human rights, and social policy. She is the Co-Director of Amnesty International’s FSU chapter. In addition, she is the Student Activist Coordinator for all of Amnesty International’s student groups in Florida. As an advocate, Courtney also works as a policy resident for The Children’s Campaign, assisting with legislative analysis and administrative work. She also has interned in Washington, D.C., with Shia Rights Watch, studying sectarian conflict in the Middle East. Having studied Arabic since her first semester and a participant in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, Courtney hopes to continue her research on grassroots advocacy initiatives and policy in the Arab Middle East as a Social Science Scholar.


Osvaldo Rodriguez

Osvaldo is originally from Venezuela, but has spent most of his life in Miami, Florida. While growing up, he became passionate about issues pertaining to the criminal justice system. This led him to double major in political science and criminology. He currently is working on an honors thesis, Analyzing the Effects of Inmate Labor on Prison Recidivism in Florida, under the supervision of Dr. Brian Stults. Throughout his college career, Osvaldo has served as an honors colloquium leader, a member of the Greek Conduct Board, a member of the debate team, and a student senator. Additionally, he is a part of Beta Theta Pi (IFC), Garnet & Gold Key, Phi Beta Kappa, Seminole Torch Bearers, Legal Honors Scholars, and the Research Intensive Bachelors Certificate Program. Outside of FSU, Osvaldo has interned for the Leon County Public Defender’s Office and the Florida Commission on Offender Review. Upon graduation, he plans to attend law school with the goal of eventually practicing criminal law.


Mariapia Rueda

Mariapia is pursuing a double major in Media/Communication Studies and International Affairs. She and her family are from Barranquilla, Colombia, and immigrated to Dallas, Texas, where she grew up. She began her college career as a participant in the Center for Leadership and Social Change’s Service Leadership Seminar, subsequently returning as a facilitator. As a Service Scholar, Mariapia has worked with the university’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights for the past three years. She is a member of Honors Legal Scholars and was a participant in the College of Law’s Summer for Undergraduates. Mariapia is pursuing an Honors-in-the-Major thesis on the U.S. versus Pakistani media coverage of women’s political representation in Pakistan. With the goal of effecting change for women through research and policy, Mariapia plans to pursue a Master’s either in Public Policy or Sociology before deciding whether to pursue a J.D. or PhD.