Writer: Roger Nielsen
Three University of Georgia undergraduates capped semester-long internships through the Vinson Institute Fellows Program by giving multimedia presentations about their internship projects at a gathering of faculty and staff from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
The students were each paired with a faculty mentor to work on a research project related to his or her program of study. Vinson Fellows work with faculty mentors on hands-on research projects that allow them to interact with elected officials, examine issues that bear national implications and explore the possibility of future careers in public service.
UGA Foundation Fellow Fola Akinola investigated food security policies in Mali with her faculty mentor, Rusty Brooks. She explored ways to reduce post-harvest food loss through better processing and delivery methods. Akinola, a senior Honors student, is pursuing a double major in international affairs and French. An Honors Policy Scholar, she has served as a student researcher through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities and as a Security Leadership Scholar at the UGA Center for International Trade and Security.
Christina Chu, a second-year Honors student from Kennesaw, investigated the statutory limitations of county hospital authorities and their impact on rural healthcare systems in Georgia with faculty mentor Mara Shaw. Chu is majoring in international affairs and political science, and is also working on a master’s degree in international policy through the Double Dawgs program. She has served as the political action chair with the Hispanic Student Association, trained as a site leader for IMPACT Alternative Spring Break trips and serves as a Goizueta Ambassador for the UGA Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Austin Gibbons, a junior from Stone Mountain, explored the tension between economic development needs and open government requirements with faculty mentor Stacy Jones. Gibbons is studying political science and public relations, is an Honors Policy Scholar and has held multiple leadership roles with the Arch Society, the UGA Wesley Foundation, the Student Government Association, Digital Dawgs and Leadership UGA.
Vinson Fellows are selected for the spring semester cohort in collaboration with the university’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute and the UGA Honors Program. The Vinson Institute Fellows Program fall internship is open to all UGA undergraduates. Students interested in applying to the program can visit https://t.uga.edu/3C6 for more information.