2021-2022 SMU Tower Center Research Fellowship Recipients

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 public policy and international affairs and prepare future leaders to make a positive global impact.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, three students have been awarded fellowships to research a topic of interest to them, under the supervision of an SMU faculty member.

Learn more about these students and their research projects below.

Hannah Hall: Tom Bryant Medders, Jr. Undergraduate Research Fellowship Recipient 

picture of Hannah Hall
Hannah Hall

Hannah Hall is a Human Rights and French Studies double major as well as a History and Environmental Anthropology double minor from Wylie, Texas. During her time at SMU, Hannah has been active in many areas on campus including but not limited to: a mentor for the Hilltop Scholars Program, Vice President for the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and Anthropology Club, and the Events Co-Chair for the Period Project. In addition to her extracurricular activities, Hannah is a dedicated student researcher through her work as a Deason Scholar with SMU’s Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center. She recently completed her work for a 2020 Maguire Public Service Fellowship which resulted in a co-drafted paper on the economic effects of a COVID-19 recession on indigent defense services in Texas counties that is set to be published in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

Hannah looks forward to expanding her own research with the Tower Center for the 2021-2022 academic year as a Tom Bryant Medders Jr. Undergraduate Research Scholar for her project “Are the Kids Alright? Examining a Cross-Generational Divide Through Social Activism” which seeks to establish a common social history between the Generation Z (Gen Z) and Baby Boomer age groups with the intended goal of seeing what Gen Z could potentially learn from the activism of a previous generation that could aid them in their fight for social justice.

Deana Kajmakovic: Henry S. Miller Undergraduate Research Fellowship Recipient 

picture of Deana Kajmakovic
Deana Kajmakovic

Deana Kajmakovic is the 2021-2023 Henry S. Miller Undergraduate Research Fellow as well as a Hunt Leadership Scholar, a Pre-Law Scholar, and a member of the University Honors Program. She is double majoring in Political Science and Business Analytics with minors in Law & Legal Reasoning, Human Rights, and Spanish.

Although she was born in California, Deana’s family is from former Yugoslavia and escaped to the United States during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. Her personal connection to the region’s tragic past as well as her own family’s history in World War II inspired her to begin researching the Jasenovac concentration camp, which was run by Croatian fascists known as Ustaše for the purpose of exterminating Serbs in the region from 1941-1945.

Deana’s research, titled “The “Re-memory” of Jasenovac: How a Concentration Camp Still Impacts Contemporary Serbo-Croatian Relations” seeks to understand how Jasenovac has served as a symbol in ex-Yugoslav history over the last 80 years and how it continues to impact international relations in the region today. Deana’s research seeks to break away from traditional Anglophone analysis by looking at the current international relations of the area through the lens of not just history, but the memory of a specific, powerful symbol. Deana hopes that her research will provide insight for historians and political scientists around the world who might have tried and failed to get answers about the Balkans because of their lack of personal connection to the region.

Nia Kamau: Rubottom Foreign Service Research Fellowship Recipient 

picture of Nia Kamau
Nia Kamau

Nia Kamau is from Little Elm, Texas, and is double majoring in Human Rights and International Studies with minors in Economics, Arabic, and Public Policy & International Affairs through the Tower Scholars Program. At SMU, Nia is an Honors student and McNair Scholar. She is an SMU Human Rights Fellow and Caswell Fellow designing an educational experience using oral history research and innovative storytelling to promote diversity and inclusivity among SMU’s student leaders. She applies her passion for relationship building and community development as a Boaz Residential Assistant and the Co-Director of the Champions Mentorship Program with the Greater Dallas Coalition. Nia is also a Hamilton Scholar, researching the association between women policymakers and child marriage in Africa. After graduating from SMU, Nia plans to study intercultural communication. Her interests in policy and social change range from human trafficking to racial reconciliation and youth empowerment.

Nia’s project, “Drivers of Change”, will explore the association between lower rates of child marriage and increasing rates of women policymakers in Africa. The research question Nia hopes to address is “Why are higher rates of women in public office associated with lower rates of child marriage?” Using a Ugandan case study, Nia hopes to understand the factors that can lower child marriage and understand the unique impact of female policymakers. Nia hopes her research will work to strengthen efforts to prevent child marriage, contribute to global conversations on the role of women political leaders and children’s rights, and focus on the real-world impact of women policymakers on child marriage.

To learn more about our fellowships and scholarships, go here.