While on her research trip, Mayol took this photo outside of Kigali, Rwanda.

Taylor Mayol (CAS), M.A. ’14

A generous gift from the Friends of Stanford University Foundation in Taiwan recently enabled the Stanford Global Studies Division to award “Global Perspectives” grants to help fund SGS graduate student summer research.

“The applicants’ projects demonstrate the geographical range and academic depth of our MA programs,” said Norman Naimark, Director of Stanford Global Studies.  “Their research took them to many parts of the world where they actively engaged with issues such as HIV transmission, police security, women’s soccer, Asian art, and more.  We’re pleased to be able to provide this funding for M.A. students.”

Students wrote extensively about the trip and shared some research highlights below:

Alexandra Broner (CAS), M.A. ’15, interned with Danya International Kenyan Limited in Nairobi, Kenya, to conduct monitoring and evaluation work on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in peri-urban communities.

"My SGS-supported summer research internship in Nairobi, Kenya provided a valuable transition from graduate African Studies to post-graduate work in public health and development in Kenya—and now the East Africa region. This support, and the formative research experience it enabled, allowed me to actively launch my post-graduate career in international development in Africa."

Jessie Brunner (IPS), M.A. ’14, spent a month in Phnom Penh to work on the Voices for Reconciliation project with Stanford’s WSD Handa Center on Human Rights and International Justice.

"My experiences in Cambodia have served as an invaluable primer as I poise myself to begin a career in the field of transitional justice. I will very likely be returning to the region to continue community engagement and trial monitoring work connected to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). I also have a potential consultancy opportunity with U.S. Progress, a joint initiative of the U.S. State Department/Agency for International Development and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), both owing to my time on the ground in Southeast Asia."

Jessie Bullock (IPS), M.A. ’15, traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to analyze the data collected by the NGO Rio Como Vamos (RCV) in its “Perceptions of Rio” survey.

"A highlight of my visit was to a NGO called Rio Como Vamos, an agency that aggregates and publishes statistics and indicators on various issues in the city, from air pollution to robberies to preschool enrollment. I interned for them in 2012 and became familiar with their survey methodology, the breadth of the questions they ask on their surveys, and their organizational goals. I discussed the possibility of writing a questionnaire with them for my future research and they provided me with a great list of contacts, instructions, and advice on how to go about survey research in Rio. We also discussed the possibility of collaborating and including an expanded section on one of their existing questionnaires. This is an essential partnership for my thesis and this initial meeting and in-person discussion with them will prove to be very useful for the rest of my time doing research on this issue."

Asia Chiao (CEAS), Co-Term ’15, interned at the Asia Society (New York) focusing on contemporary art issues and then conducting in-depth research on specific artists at the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong.

"This summer, I worked as an intern at the Asia Society’s headquarters in New York City, where I assisted both the Museum Department and the Center on U.S.-China Relations. As a coterminal student at Stanford University completing both a B.A. in Art History and a M.A. in East Asian Studies, the internship allowed me to explore the career applications of my interest in contemporary Asian art, while developing ideas for my Master’s thesis.

Overall, the funding that I received in support of my activities this summer gave me an opportunity to truly immerse myself in a rewarding internship in New York, supplemented by travel and research carried out in Asia."

Chen Fang (CEAS), M.A. ’15, traveled to China and Japan to interview participants in the Yan’an Rectification Movement, a political movement launched by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1942 to 1944.

"Thanks to the generous support of the Global Perspectives Award, CEAS and Professor Andrew Walder, my research on Yan’an went quite smoothly this summer.  In July and August, I spent five weeks in Shanganning Region and interviewed 21 eyewitnesses of the history of Yan’an in the early 1940s. These people included senior CCP cadre, former working staff in central Party school, local peasants, second generation of CCP leaders (son of former Shan’xi party secretary), and relevant scholars.  According to current progress, I plan to complete a first draft of my final paper on Yan’an Rectification Campaign in mid-October."

Taylor Mayol (CAS), M.A. ’14, took an 8-week Kinyarwanda intensive language course in Kigali, Rwanda, in preparation for writing about Rwandan political affairs during the lead up to the 2017 presidential election.

"My time in Kigali helped solidify my interest in and deepen my knowledge of Rwanda. It confirmed by suspicions of the need for better-informed journalism in and about Rwanda and reinforced my desire to pursue a career in reporting. The Rwandan press is highly monitored and there is little room for public discussion of politics. Fortunately, I was able to establish contacts with two local newspapers and a couple of journalists. Now, I am pursuing employment in the field of journalism and plan on returning to Rwanda to cover the presidential elections in 2017, and hopefully well before then."

Megan Shutzer (IPS), M.A. ’14, traveled to Zanzibar to complete a documentary about Zanzibar’s women’s soccer team, the New Generation Queens.

"In August and September 2013, I filmed more than 60 hours of footage of the Zanzibar women’s soccer team. With the generous support of the Global Perspectives Award, this summer I was able to turn that footage into a rough cut of the documentary Veils and Cleats: a Zanzibar Soccer Story. 

My project occurred in two parts. In the U.S., I worked on the translation and editing of existing footage that I collected in 2013. At the end of the summer, I traveled to Zanzibar to shoot supplementary footage and still images for the final cut, as well as to record the narration of the documentary. It was particularly important to me that one of the Zanzibari soccer players narrate the film so that it is as much in their voice as possible. I accomplished this by working with two different players. Their voices will replace my narration in the final cut."

Walter Thompson-Hernandez (LAS), M.A. ’14, spent six weeks in Brussels, Belgium, to study the impact of immigration there from Turkey, Latin America, and Northern Africa on race relations, assimilation, and identity.

"I found the experiences of multiracial Belgians are shaped by life in their parent’s country of origin and throughout Belgian society. As opposed to many multiracial people in the U.S., individuals in Belgium, or at least those whom I met, explained the complexity and struggle of formulating their identities as Belgians and Africans. Often, they said they felt like they were occupying liminal spaces in society, as they were neither accepted by white Belgians nor their African relatives. 

I believe fully that granting opportunities like the one I was given creates a much-needed bridge between the applications of academic theory that the Global Studies Division offers to real world experiences."

Xiang Zhai (CEAS), M.A. ’15, traveled to China and Japan to research indemnity issues from WWII between the two nations that still have contemporary relevance.

"Through research at the libraries in Beijing, I obtained a rich amount of secondary resources for my research. My time in Beijing also enabled me to reach out to a few distinguished scholars and officials in China for interview as well, most of whom were willing to support my research.

I also used the award for a research trip to the Roosevelt Presidential Library at Hyde Park in late August where I found more excellent sources in the Roosevelt archives and the Chiang diaries.

I feel quite honored and encouraged to keep working hard to contribute to academia’s awareness of one of the very roots of Sino-Japanese tensions."

Jinan Zhang (CEAS), M.A. ’15, traveled to China to study county-level governments and their role in the country’s rapid economic growth, including behaviors of party leaders and lower-level civil servants. 

"For my field study, I interviewed many local government officials involved with the government performance evaluation system.  I collected documents about the government evaluation system, spanning more than ten years, and was able to look at the results of these years.  I also collected the data from the officials’ promotion records during these years. What I want to do is find the function and the effect of the performance evaluation system by studying the relationship between the evaluation results and promotion results. To my knowledge, this is the first study to use this data to study the official promotion issues, which is a hot topic in both political science and economics."

Editor's note: as of September 2017, the Global Perspectives grant will no longer be offered. For additional funding opportunities, please visit