By Magali Lapu
Vinson Fellow’s research to focus on updating assessor training program
I was born in Brussels to Congolese parents and raised in Atlanta. Dealing with the push-and-pull of these varying cultures has shaped my interest in cultural differences, inequality and the experiences of underrepresented groups in the United States and abroad. Now, as a Vinson Fellow, I’ll get to investigate a topic that’s completely different from the direct community empowerment work that I have been involved in through nonprofits and student groups.
This semester, I’ll get to explore how continuing education opportunities affect the work of local tax assessors throughout Georgia with my faculty mentor Stacy Jones.
My goal is to first understand tax assessors’ experiences in their continuing education program and their jobs and then propose revamped alternatives to the current training model, which has stayed the same for many years. I hope to gain a better understanding of the most difficult challenges that tax assessors in Georgia face to determine what continuing education methods would better fit their needs.
Ms. Jones is an incredible mentor and is supportive of me guiding the overall research in the direction of my own interests. I will be supplementing the research with these topics: diversity training for tax assessors, the level of community and peer respect for tax assessors, the role of tax assessors in gentrification processes in Georgia cities, the demographic breakdown of those who hold these positions, and active learning methods in continuing education.
I am excited for the opportunity to learn and grow during my fall semester Vinson Fellowship, and I can’t wait to see what I discover in exploring this topic!
Magali is a fourth-year honors student from Atlanta majoring in international affairs and French, with a minor in public policy. She is a 2018 LEAD Diversity Fellow, a 2018 Humanity in Action Fellow, a 2016-17 PSO Student Scholar and a 2016 Roosevelt Policy Scholar. She is director of diversity and inclusion with the UGA Student Government Association, served three years with the UGA Black Affairs Council, is the former political action chair of the UGA chapter of the NAACP and is a member of the UGA chapter of the youth leadership organization AIESEC. Magali interned with the Economic Justice Coalition of Athens and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., and in September received the Myron G. Burney Service Award from the UGA Black Faculty & Staff Organization.