School of Diplomacy and International Relations

School of Diplomacy is Gifted a Grant to Support Student Researchers  

The School of Diplomacy and International Relations received a $20,000 grant from the Carolyn Jane Scott Charitable Trust to support research work conducted by undergraduate students involved with the DiploLab

Joseph HuddlestonFounded in 2019, the DiploLab is a collaborative research space where Diplomacy students can explore their interests related to the field of international relations, engage with faculty, and apply what they are learning beyond the classroom. The DiploLab is managed by Assistant Professor Joseph Huddleston, Ph.D. A first generation college graduate himself, Huddleston credits a similar program during his college years as changing the course of his life.

The School of Diplomacy intends to use the grant to provide students with stipends to conduct research and work side by side with renowned faculty on projects addressing our most pressing global issues. The funding will make it possible for talented students whose financial circumstances might limit their ability to volunteer, to become part of the DiploLab.

"We are extremely grateful for the support the DiploLab received from the Carolyn Jane Scott Charitable Trust," says Courtney Smith, Ph.D., the School's interim dean. "The grant will make it easier for our undergraduate students to probe important social research questions in an environment that allows them to gain critical policy experience beyond the classroom."

Each semester, students volunteer their time to work with faculty on activities including data collection/analysis, literature annotation and interview transcription. Students may contribute to articles for publication. Their work provides practical international experience that compliments their academic classes.

Senior Keanna Grelicha says her experience volunteering with the DiploLab boosted her skills in scholarly research, particularly with work involving qualitative data. "The DiploLab also provided my colleagues and I with a great space to collaborate, work as a team, and help one another in DiploLab and school-related work.”

The lab fosters a strong professional environment where students gain a deeper understanding of critical global issues and develop practical research skills to prepare them for careers in academia, policy-making, government, nonprofits, and the private sector.

DiploLab students are currently supporting research led by Huddleston and Sara Bjerg Moller, Ph.D. Huddleston specializes in diplomacy by rebel groups, dynamics in intrastate conflict, and research design. Moller, an assistant professor, directs the School's International Security specialization. Her current research examines the military effectiveness of alliances and coalitions in multinational conflicts.

Students also collaborate on joint projects with the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, working closely with Center Director, Zheng Wang, Ph.D. and Professor of Practice David Wood, who directs the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in MENA program.

Through their work with the DiploLab, students have an opportunity to pursue some of their own research interests and have worked on original data collection on separatist movements, transcribed faculty interviews with policy decision-makers, and analyzed the conflict in Yemen, among other projects. DiploLab's analysis/work has been featured in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and Political Violence at a Glance.

Senior Sebastian Kopec, together with another research assistant, have been working on a student-led research project about separatist strategy in Scotland, Catalonia, and Flanders, which they hope to see published in a peer-reviewed journal. “DiploLab has given me an opportunity to conduct graduate-level research on a topic I am incredibly passionate about,” Kopec explains. The experience, he says, helped him gain an internship with the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions and could also distinguish him as a strong graduate school candidate.

Keanna Grelicha notes that the expertise she’s built as a DiploLab volunteer will benefit her as she moves into her career after graduation. “Time management, teamwork, communication, and research are only a few of the skills that I have developed and will be of great use in my future endeavors. DiploLab became a family environment and the mentorship from Dr. Huddleston is greatly appreciated.”  

Categories: Nation and World

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