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Student to study effects of Chinese outreach for Vinson Fellows project

October 4, 2018

By Austin Emery

Austin Emery

Student to study effects of Chinese outreach for Vinson Fellows project

An Atlanta native, I am a fourth-year student studying political science and international affairs. Growing up, I was afforded many opportunities to travel to less-fortunate corners of the globe. Witnessing the consequences of crime and corruption first-hand instilled in me a deep appreciation and passion for good governance, well-crafted public policy and security — something that continues to motivate me as I strive for a career in foreign policy.

During my time at the University of Georgia, I have had some amazing opportunities to pursue my interest in global affairs. As a Russell Security Leadership Scholar and research assistant with the School of Public and International Affairs, I have had the chance to study economic sanctions policy and national security issues. Internships with the U.S. Department of State and START, a Department of Homeland Security-funded terrorism research center based at the University of Maryland, have only continued to fuel my interest in the complex world of international politics, economics and security.

As a Vinson Fellow this semester, I am researching China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” The long-term, multi-trillion-dollar effort to revive the ancient Silk Road and reroute maritime trade has important economic and strategic implications for the United States. Working with faculty mentor Rusty Brooks, I will explore the implications of this complex geoeconomic program. Specifically, I will be analyzing global trade flows and Chinese infrastructure projects to better understand how the Belt and Road Initiative has unfolded since it was announced in 2013.

Dr. Brooks’ history of work in the region and across the world has already been a valuable asset to my project. I also hope to get valuable information from the visiting scholars that the Institute of Government’s International Center brings to UGA to continue their research and education.

I am looking forward to an exciting and fascinating semester at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government as a Vinson Fellow.


Austin, a senior from Cumming, is pursuing a double major in international affairs and political science, with a certificate in public affairs. He is a Russell Security Leadership Scholar at the UGA Center for International Trade and Security, writes for the Georgia Political Review and is an undergraduate researcher with the UGA School of Public and International Affairs.