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2019 Social Science Scholars

Alex Adams

Alex is a junior from Melbourne, Florida. He is pursuing a double major in political science and Spanish. He has also completed the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Certificate and the Research-Intensive Bachelor's Certification in Political Science. Alex has worked as a resident assistant, as an intern in the office of Florida State Representative Evan Jenne, and as a volunteer mentor with PeaceJam Southeast. He has served on the board of directors of the FSU Office of Governmental Affairs and lobbied the Florida State Legislature on behalf of the student body. He has been an Honors Colloquium leader and a colloquium leader in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). He is currently conducting survey research for his honors thesis on voter attitudes toward the American Dream and economic mobility. After graduation, Alex plans to earn a doctorate in political science and continue researching the policy preferences and attitudes of American voters.


Akice Agwa

Akice is a junior from Jacksonville, Florida. She is studying international affairs, Arabic, and public administration. As the daughter of two African immigrants, Akice has a passion for international humanitarian work. She began her career at FSU with the Service Leadership Seminar, an experience that transformed her ideas on service learning. Subsequently, she joined the Service Scholars Program and has dedicated a large portion of her college career to service ever since. Akice has been a mentor, a coach, and a staff member of PeaceJam Southeast. Last summer, she received a Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Ibri, Oman. Next summer, she plans to study Arabic in Amman, Jordan, with support from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Following graduation, Akice plans to work with refugees and to continue Arabic study in a Middle Eastern country. She eventually hopes to pursue a graduate degree in public administration and public policy.


Travis Burhart

Travis is a junior from Franklin, Tennessee, majoring in environment and society with minors in English and leadership studies. The summer after his freshman year, he completed a Pacific Northwest backpacking course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and spent 31 days backpacking across the North Cascades Wilderness. This experience stimulated Travis’ interest in experiential learning, wilderness education, and youth development. He returned last summer to the NOLS headquarters in Lander, Wyoming, to study the teaching methods of the organization’s field staff. Next summer he hopes to work in a youth development capacity at an outdoor education center to gain teaching experience before pursuing a master’s degree abroad in outdoor education and outdoor didactics.


Nathan Davis

Nathan is a junior studying political science and urban and regional planning. He is continuing his family’s four-generation legacy at Florida State University. Although FSU is in his blood, Tallahassee was not his starting point. His life began in Gainesville, Florida, but his family moved soon after to the northeastern suburbs of Atlanta. Nathan moved from there to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2012, and his experiences in that state contributed significantly to his professional and personal growth. One of his most notable experiences during high school was working with a local nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of Kenosha’s historic downtown. In Tallahassee, he has had the privilege of working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Florida Main Street program, Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign, NextGen America, and the College Democrats at FSU. Throughout his career, Nathan hopes to make a positive impact by promoting sustainable and equitable social change.


Caleb Dawkins

Caleb is a junior from Orlando, Florida. He is double majoring in political science and advertising. He began his collegiate career as a member of the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE), FSU’s summer bridge program for first-generation students. Caleb has been involved with the Student Government Association, the Black Student Union, the Service Scholars Program, and the Student Foundation. He also served as a 2018 Orientation Leader. In his sophomore year, Caleb participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), exploring themes of Black masculinity and social media users’ reactions to the movie “Moonlight.” He currently serves as a community ambassador for Boys Town North Florida, an agency that works with fostered youth. Caleb’s research, various involvements, and community service all inspire him to find innovative ways to enhance the success of students in low-income areas.


Steven Faviano

Steven is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and social science with a concentration in public affairs and political science. He is an avid writer and advocate for international diplomacy and human rights. Steven is currently the vice president of University of Choice, a student-run organization that works on behalf of students with disabilities at FSU. Previously, he interned at a daycare center for children with disabilities. Steven also has been a resident assistant and a news writer for FSView/Florida Flambeau where he covered hurricane recovery, national protests, and student organizations. With a focus on philosophy and international relations, Steven hopes to write professionally on various topics, including international conflict, culture, emergency management, and disaster recovery.


Monica Garcia Vega

Monica is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is a junior majoring in international affairs. For the past three years, she has been heavily involved in the university’s Model United Nations Program. She was the president of Tallahassee Community College’s Model UN team and in that role attended conferences regionally, nationally, and internationally. She has since moved on to staffing and organizing local and regional Model UN conferences. Previously, Monica interned for the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and was a senator in TCC’s Student Government Association. In 2018, she was recognized as a student leader for TCC’s Women’s History Month: Fighting All Forms of Discrimination. Last summer and fall, she interned at the Tallahassee office of the International Rescue Committee, an organization that helps resettle refugees. She is interested in gender equality, political institutions, and inter-governmental institutions. Following graduation, Monica plans to join the Peace Corps and eventually to attend graduate school.


Paris Gilstrap

Paris is a third-year honors student from Orlando, Florida. She is pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and art history with a minor in museum studies. As an intern with the directorship of the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, she is concentrating on exhibition research and collection management. She is the vice president of the Undergraduate Art History Association and a member of the College Leadership Council for the College of Fine Arts, the Lady Spirithunters, and Empowering Women Globally. In the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, her research focused on the representation of women and minorities in scientific photography. During her semester in Florence in a number of survey courses, Paris noticed the lack of female and minority representation in major arts institutions. As a Social Science Scholar, she hopes to work with organizations and institutions abroad to research ways to enhance the representation of marginalized groups in the international arts community.


Stephanie Lee

Originally from Fort Myers, Florida, Stephanie is a rising junior studying international affairs. On campus she works with the Asian American Student Union as its director, with the Children’s Home Society as a volunteer coordinator, with the Global Health Project as its co-founder, with the Center for Leadership and Social Change as a Service Scholar, and with the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Stephanie is a passionate advocate for Asian-American affairs, sustainable service initiatives, and marginalized communities. She has a strong interest in the intersection of education and the healthcare system and in the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). With support from the college’s Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, she has conducted research in Nicaragua and Costa Rica on health-related education programs for youth and families. Following her time at Florida State, she aspires to attend medical school and to become a medical missionary.


Jalicia Lewis

Jalicia Lewis is a junior from Jacksonville, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in political science and public relations. She has been heavily involved with the Center for Leadership and Social Change (CLSC), where she served as a coach for PeaceJam Southeast, the administrative coordinator for the Multicultural Leadership Summit, and most recently, a coordinator for the Service Leadership Seminar. She is determined to understand the relationship between social justice and politics, so that she can eventually become an effective advocate for the political rights of marginalized communities. In addition to her work within the CLSC, Jalicia was a 2018 orientation leader and is currently the director of the Student Government Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Institute, working to educate students on how to make FSU a more inclusive and supportive campus. This summer she will begin an internship in Peru with EcoSwell, a nonprofit focused on environmental sustainability and economic development. In the future, Jalicia hopes to become a lobbyist for nonprofit organizations within the state of Florida.


Sabrina Mato

Sabrina is originally from Cuba. Her family immigrated to Florida when she was nine years old. She now resides in Naples. As an international affairs and political science dual major, Sabrina is inspired by world issues and multicultural interactions. As a participant in the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement Program, she interned in India as a Gilman Fellow last summer. She has lobbied for PACE Center for Girls at the capitol and worked with the William & Coleman Law Firm and Legal Services of North Florida, providing pro-bono services. After conducting research on homelessness and political participation through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, she presented a paper at the Florida Research Conference. She also completed the Donald J. Weidner Law Program and continued to study abroad in London last fall. A member of the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society, Sabrina is earning an Emergency Management and Global Citizenship Certificate. She hopes to merge her various interests in order to serve and guide others as a lawyer.


Sebastian Mejia

Sebastian is a first-generation Colombian-American who is pursuing a duel degree in Latin American/Caribbean studies (honors) and international affairs. During his time at FSU, he has taught English in Nicaragua, assisted in research on NGO obstruction in Nicaragua, participated in the University of Florida’s Language and Culture Program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and had a paper selected for the Rollins College Latin American Studies Symposium. He is an alum of the Global Scholars Program, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, and the Global and Public Affairs Living Learning Community. As a Service Scholar he volunteers at Frenchtown Urban Farm to provide low-cost organic produce to the surrounding community. He is also working on an honors thesis titled “Decolonizing Land & Re-indigenizing Body: How Caboclos have reclaimed their indigeneity to achieve self-determination in contemporary Brazil.” He will instruct a Freshman Interest Group colloquium next fall. After graduation, he plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Latin American studies to continue his research and eventually become a university professor.


Grace Michaels

Grace is a third-year student from Fleming Island, Florida, pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and Russian with a minor in the humanities. She holds certificates in intelligence analysis and emergency management. Grace spent the summer of 2017 studying at Moscow State University and while there travelled privately to Southeastern Siberia. Last summer she received an IDEA Grant and the Edna Ranck Scholarship to return and conduct research for her thesis, entitled “The Effects of Modernization and Commercialization on the Siberian Buryat Peoples.” On campus, Grace is an instructor for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and editor of The Eggplant FSU, a popular satirical publication. She also has been a traveling delegate with the World Affairs Program. Grace has interned with U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) and is currently working within FDEM’s Department of Energy and Infrastructure. In her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing and performing stand-up comedy, but never at the same time.


Saadiyah Qureshi

Saadiyah is a junior majoring in information communications technology and international affairs. She aspires to work for a company that produces sustainable clothing with the hope of eventually building her own sustainable clothing brand. She would like to do so by incorporating her own culture and by involving refugee women as much as possible in the design process. Saadiyah is committed to empowering women in all her work. Saadiyah is currently the public relations director for Students Organize for Syria (SOS). She oversees all the organization’s social media and other platforms. This allows her to provide updates on the Syrian crisis to multiple groups. Through SOS, she also helped organize and promote clothing drives on behalf of Syrian refugees in Florida. After graduation Saadiyah aspires to expand her knowledge of Arabic, so that she will be able work with a sustainable textile company in the Middle East.


Roman Ramos

Roman is a first-generation college student studying political science and international affairs. He also is earning a certificate to teach English as a second language. Before transferring to Florida State University, he was a part of the Model United Nations club at Tallahassee Community College. As a Model UN delegate, Roman attended conferences in New York and Atlanta where various development themes were analyzed and debated. Roman currently volunteers as a director for the Tallahassee Southern Model United Nations Association. Each year he participates in conferences that teach middle and high school students about the United Nations and what roles they can play in the organization’s future. While at Tallahassee Community College, Roman also traveled to Iceland to study the effects of climate change. Subsequently, he traveled to Banff, Canada, to study the relationship between Canada’s government and the country’s indigenous populations.


Leah Singleton

Leah is a junior from Winter Springs, Florida, studying international affairs and religion. As a Presidential Scholar, Global Scholar, and Honors Legal Scholar, she has been involved with multiple research projects throughout her college career. Leah serves as president of the Academic Recruitment Organization and is involved with numerous campus and community organizations, including the Big Bend Coalition against Human Trafficking, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and Simple Charity, Inc. As a freshman, her interest in combatting human trafficking led her to conduct research in Ghana. She and her research partner published the results of this work in “The Owl,” FSU’s undergraduate research journal. Leah strengthened her research skills during a summer 2018 internship at Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. Currently, she is applying this knowledge to the design of a public health approach to human trafficking in Florida. After graduation, Leah aspires to pursue a combined Master of Public Health and Juris Doctorate with the goal of working in international health law.


Scott Williams

Scott is a third-year student, pursuing a dual degree in economics and international affairs. In addition, he has a concentration in Chinese and a minor in Russian. Previously, Scott was a member of the university’s Global and Public Affairs Living Learning Community. He also interned in the Florida Senate during last year’s legislative session. On campus he is a traveling delegate with the World Affairs Program and served as secretary general of that organization’s 27th Regional Training Conference last fall. Recently, he joined the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy’s Student Leadership Council. Scott will begin work this semester on an undergraduate honors thesis in the area of international economics and trade. As a Social Science Scholar, he plans to work with a think tank or other nonprofit organization on issues pertaining to international economics, trade, and bilateral U.S.-China relations.


Ricardo Zamarripa

Ricardo was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and grew up in Sarasota, Florida. He is majoring in interdisciplinary social sciences with a concentration in public policy and risk management. He has participated in several collegiate speech and debate competitions and won numerous state, regional, and national awards. His interest in health and housing policy led him to intern at the Florida House of Representatives during his sophomore year. While at FSU, he has been a member of the Reverb A Capella Group and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and served as intramural chair of Gamma Iota Sigma, a collegiate risk management fraternity. Ricardo’s research focuses on underreported financial flows of Chinese investments to Africa, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. This past year he was designated a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar and one of Amazon’s four campus ambassadors at FSU. Following graduation, Ricardo plans to attend law school and to specialize in insurance and international finance. His ultimate goal is to become a United States Senator.