December 6, 2018 | Spotlight

Vinson Fellows present results of fall semester internship projects

Fall semester’s three Vinson Fellows explored local, state and international issues with faculty mentors and presented the results of their research projects at a gathering of Institute of Government faculty and staff.

Writer: Roger Nielsen

Three University of Georgia undergraduates concluded semester-long internships through the Vinson Institute Fellows Program Dec. 3 by giving research project presentations at a gathering of faculty and staff with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Students selected as Vinson Fellows work with faculty mentors to complete hands-on projects that allow them to explore the possibility of future careers in public service. In addition, they get to meet government officials, examine issues with national implications and delve into international affairs.

Vinson Fellow Austin Emery worked with faculty mentor Rusty Brooks to explore the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative development effort.Austin Emery, a senior from Cumming majoring in international affairs and political science, explored the global implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the country’s multi-trillion-dollar mission to reroute global trade and ocean traffic while projecting its growing influence across the world. Working with faculty mentor Rusty Brooks of the Institute’s International Center, Emery reviewed data about how BRI is affecting debt in China’s partner countries and the initiative’s impact on U.S. interests in Asia.

Employing food rescue techniques to help fight hunger was the topic of Vinson Fellow Jacquelyn Harms’ research project with faculty mentor Kris Sikes.Jacquelyn Harms, an Honors Policy Scholar from Camas, Wash., explored ways food rescue programs can help reduce food waste by collecting leftover food and edibles that are approaching their “use-by” date. Harms, who is pursuing a double major in political science and international affairs, worked with faculty mentor Kris Sikes to learn how UGA Food Services and local grocers work to minimize food waste, and how their successful practices might be scaled up to work in larger cities like Atlanta.

Magali Lapu, a senior Honors student from Atlanta majoring in French and international affairs, surveyed local government tax assessors and appraisers to determine the effectiveness of mandatory training provided by the Georgia Department of Revenue. Working with Associate Director Stacy Jones, who manages governmental training for the Institute of Government, Lapu reported that the assessors’ educational program could become more relevant by incorporating interactive class sessions with input from assessors and appraisers.

The Vinson Institute Fellows Program fall internship is open to all UGA undergraduates. A second cohort for spring semester is selected in collaboration with the UGA Honors Program and the UGA chapter of the Roosevelt Institute. Students interested in applying for the fellows program can contact coordinator Allyson Terry at internships@cviog.uga.edu for more information.