Vinson Fellows Present Results of Fall Semester Research Projects

Austin Gibbons

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

Four University of Georgia undergraduate students concluded their fall semester internships in the Vinson Institute Fellows Program by presenting their research findings at a recent gathering of Institute faculty and staff.

Vinson Fellows work with faculty mentors to develop hands-on projects that examine the intricacies of government in Georgia’s communities and abroad. Students who are accepted as Vinson Fellows interact with government officials and learn about issues with national and international implications. The fellowship allows students to explore careers in public service while learning more about the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach mission.

In his research project with faculty mentor Shana Jones, Jonathan “JT” Fagundes explored ways the Marion County government could increase revenue by working with Fort Benning to further develop regional ecotourism. Fagundes is a third-year student seeking a double major in political science and women’s studies with a minor in environmental law and a certificate in applied politics. He is simultaneously pursuing his master’s degree in public administration.

UGA Foundation Fellow and fifth-year student Jessica Pasquarello investigated effective multi-generational literacy training programs as a way to help low-income Georgians escape from poverty. Pasquarello, who worked with faculty mentor David Tanner, is pursuing undergraduate degrees in international affairs and economics and minors in Arabic, Spanish and religion. She is also earning a master’s degree in political science and international affairs.

Valibhav Kumar, a fourth-year student majoring in international affairs and political science, studied the differences between the democracies of Pakistan and India with faculty mentor Rusty Brooks. He also explored some of the historical factors that have made democracy more stable in India.

Caroline Kraczon, a senior Honors student from Woodstock, explored the effectiveness of peer court for juvenile offenders with faculty mentor Kris Sikes and Emily Boness, a Fanning Institute of Leadership Development faculty member who designed and directs Athens Peer Court. Kraczon is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics, a legal studies certificate and her master’s degree in public administration.

The Institute hosts fellows every fall and spring semester. All University of Georgia undergraduates can apply for the fall semester fellowship. Spring semester fellows are chosen in partnership with the UGA Honors Program. To learn more about the fellowship, e-mail program coordinator Bailey Dickinson at