October 4, 2016

Hoyas Translate Academic Excellence into Social Justice through Research Fellowship

The Education and Social Justice International Summer Research Fellowship seeks to address the challenges of global poverty through in-depth field research. The research is centered on the efforts of religious communities around the world working to advance economic and social development. In January 2016, four Georgetown students presented their findings for the Education and Social Justice Project in an effort to spread a deeper understanding about the solutions and efforts employed by local communities in combating poverty and improving education.

Since the program was created in 2010, the Education and Social Justice (ESJ) fellows have conducted research in 18 different countries across Africa, Central and South America, Asia, and Western and Eastern Europe. The project is jointly sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Center for Social Justice (CSJ).

Researching Global Best-Practices in Social Justice and Education

ESJ fellows spend three weeks in the summer examining innovative educational and community initiatives with a focus on the work of Jesuit institutions. Under faculty supervision, students gather information through interviews, analyze best practices, and document their conclusions. Upon their return, fellows transcribe 10 to 15 in-person interviews and draft a written report on their research findings.

Each year, the Berkley Center publishes a report summarizing the main results of students’ fieldwork, including background analysis of each of the initiatives and excerpts from extended interviews with educators and practitioners in each country.

During the summer of 2015, four Hoyas—Caitlin Snell (C’15), Nico Lake (SFS’16), Dana Drecksel (NHS’17), and Sabrina Kahn (C’16)—participated in the ESJ fellowship. They traveled to Canada, Guatemala, the Republic of Korea, and Senegal, respectively, to research issues such as: the impact of culture on education and development, how different cultures react to social injustices, and the intersections of faith and education. A complete list of research topics and related content is available on the Education and Social Justice Project website.

“The Education and Social Justice Project is a unique opportunity for students to combine many parts of their Georgetown experience—research, commitment to social justice, and learning—while abroad,” says Thomas Banchoff, vice president for global engagement and director of the Berkley Center.

“The research has and will continue to help us to better understand the connections between global challenges of poverty and education,” he added.

The Next Round of Fellows

Selected fellows work with Berkley Center and CSJ staff to find a research site and develop their research questions before traveling abroad.

This year’s fellows will spend May to June 2017 conducting research in different countries. Fellows are hosted by local Jesuit-led institutions and receive funds for travel, lodging, and meals, as well as a $1,500 stipend.

Applications are due October 21, 2016. More information on how to apply is available here.