Over the past 25 years, the Tower Center has awarded students with over 120 research fellowships, scholarships and internships in support of our mission to promote the study of policy and international affairs and prepare future leaders to make a positive global impact.
For 2020, we awarded three students fellowships to study:
- the Armenian genocide in Turkey by the Ottoman government and the Kurdish genocide in Iraq in the 1980’s;
- the consumption patterns of US families in a way that can account for heterogeneity; and
- the cultural integration and maintenance of Chinese-American immigrant families by studying their domestic culinary practices as a lens to understand the foodways of immigrants in the United States.
Learn more about these students and their research projects below.
Bibiana Schindler: Kelli and Gerald J. Ford Scholarship Recipient
Bibiana B. Schindler is a full-ride President’s Scholarship recipient and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. She has a major in History with double minors in Russian Area Studies as well as Public Policy and International Affairs through the Tower Scholars program in preparation for a career in law. Passionate about international policy, Bibiana serves as President of the Russian Club and has spent two summers with the SMU-in-Prague summer programs, first volunteering with the Forum2000 NGO focused on fostering democracy, and then serving as a Student Teacher’s Assistant for Russian language and history courses abroad. Bibiana works to promote social justice, diversity, and inclusivity on campus through SMU’s center for Jewish life, Hillel, where she is currently Co-President and a Student Engagement Intern. She also serves as a History Department Ambassador, helping plan and execute outreach and recruitment events. As the 2020-2021 Kelli and Gerald J. Ford Scholarship recipient, Bibiana plans to research the United States’ failure to act upon claims of human rights violations such as genocides, using the Anfal genocide and Armenian genocide as case studies.
Bibiana’s research will seek to uncover the motivations of the United States that leads to it not recognizing human rights violations, especially severe ones such as genocides. In the mid-1950’s the U.N. adopted the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Resolution, which defined genocide and determined responses. While the passage of the resolution was expected to lead to a condemnation of genocides worldwide, the U.N. has chosen to exercise this only three times, despite the occurrence of many more genocides throughout the world with some genocides going unacknowledged for decades. Bibiana will focus on two case studies in the Middle East: the Armenian genocide in Turkey by the Ottoman government and the Kurdish genocide in Iraq in the 1980’s under Saddam Hussein’s leadership known as the Anfal Campaign. In both cases, the United States has only recently acknowledged these events as genocides, decades later.
The John Goodwin Tower Center Undergraduate Research Fellowships
Varsha Appaji: Edwin L. Cox Fellowship Award Recipient
Varsha Appaji is a junior at Southern Methodist University pursuing a B.S. in Statistical Science, a B.A. in Public Policy, and a B.A. in Economics. She is also an SMU Dean’s Scholar, Pre-law Scholar, and Discovery Scholar.
Varsha finds her passion at the same place her three majors intersect: in critically evaluating the potential mechanisms that can help alleviate socioeconomic inequality. She is currently a research analyst for the SMU Hunt Institute, working on a project dedicated to analyzing what it takes for an inclusive economy to realistically and sustainably exist. Through her work as a 2020-2021 Edwin L. Cox Fellowship recipient, Varsha seeks to categorically and spatially analyze the consumption patterns of US families in a way that can account for heterogeneity that is otherwise masked by evaluating aggregate data.
She also has great interest in the potential of emerging technologies. This past summer, Varsha was awarded the Jack C. and Annette K. Vaughn internship grant through the Tower Center. She used this to conduct research at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. on the applications of IoT and DLT for trade and supply chain management in the nuclear and chemical weapons non-proliferation space. Varsha is committed to furthering her study of the effects that technology can have on various aspects of human life. In the long run, she is motivated to one day shape policy that can ensure innovation is for the benefit of all humanity, serving to fill the gap between dominant and subaltern groups.
Outside of her academic pursuits, Varsha is a South Indian classically trained singer and she regularly performs throughout the US, often alongside different world music ensembles.
Varsha’s research seeks to categorically and spatially analyze the consumption patterns of US families in a way that can account for heterogeneity. Currently, there are a number of policy conclusions that are made based on observations of aggregate consumption. However, when looking at aggregate data, a significant amount of variation across the different categories of consumption is masked. Through her research, Varsha plans to reveal this heterogeneity, such that one can see how consumption patterns vary by family characteristics, economic cycles, income shocks (i.e. unexpected changes), and more. Varsha will analyze microeconomic data with the ultimate goal of making the basis of macroeconomic policies more robust and holistic.
Megan Sham: Henry S. Miller Fellowship Award Recipient
Megan Sham is an undergraduate student from Houston, Texas, majoring in anthropology and Spanish. She also minors in Human Rights, and hopes to integrate her various fields of study in to her future career and research. Growing up in a diverse community, she became interested in studying the interactions between people and cultures at a young age. In addition to the changing political and social climate, her interest in the experience of immigrants in the United States and beyond has allowed for her to bring together her passions for advocacy and research. As a 2020-2021 Henry S. Miller Fellowship recipient, Megan seeks to understand the cultural integration and maintenance of Chinese-American immigrant families by studying their domestic culinary practices as a lens to understand the foodways of immigrants in the United States. She hopes to be able to continue her studies and educate her community while at SMU and in to graduate studies.
Megan’s research seeks to understand the cultural integration and maintenance of Chinese-American immigrant families by studying their domestic culinary practices as a lens to understand the foodways of immigrants in the United States. Domestic culinary practices include cooking in the home and eating meals, as opposed to what may be made in a commercial or restaurant setting. As the Chinese immigrant community has had a long and storied history in the United States, particularly studying this group’s food ways in the domestic sphere challenges previous conceptions of how immigrants integrate in a private space.
To learn more about our fellowships and scholarships, go here.