Alice Belkin Memorial Scholarship Program
The Burkle Center awards outstanding minority graduate students who have financial need and research interests relating to globalization and international relations with scholarships up to $4,000.00 each academic year. Scholarships are granted to qualified applicants who demonstrate leadership skills and academic achievement.
2013-2014 Scholarship Recipients
Ali is from a small town in rural Massachusetts. He was born to an American mother and Lebanese father, who had left Lebanon to avoid the sectarian violence of the brutal civil war that engulfed the country in 1975. As a child traveling to Lebanon to visit relatives, he was captivated by both the violence that had torn apart this small country and the resilience people showed in the face of struggle. After years of academic soul-searching, it took an internship with an NGO based in Zahle, Lebanon to remind him that this was to define his career trajectory. In Zahle Ali worked on projects to help de-radicalize Lebanese youth in the Bekaa Valley, and during this project a lot of questions arose that pushed him to study sectarian conflict in Lebanon. His dissertation now focuses on the diffusion of sectarian violence from Syria into neighboring countries, specifically Jordan. Ali is pursuing a career in research on sectarian violence and state failure, in academia or in the context of private research foundations. He also anticipates seeking to participate in peace-keeping efforts through the United Nations.
Jasmine Phillips is a law student at UCLA School of Law (c/o 2015) in the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and the Critical Race Studies Specialization. Her research interests focus on the intersections of race, gender, and incarceration in a domestic and global context. She is spending summer 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa studying comparative constitutional law and advanced immigration law and interning with the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services. She will also be interning in New York with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF). She aspires to be a civil and human rights attorney and a professor under the umbrella of international human rights and critical race theory.
Sandeep Prasanna is pursuing a joint degree in law (J.D.) and public policy (M.P.P. in Global Public Affairs) at the School of Law and the Luskin School of Public Affairs. From 2013 to 2014, Sandeep served as Editor-in-Chief of Volume 18 of the UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs, and he directed the journal's symposium in the spring of 2013. He co-founded and is a current student co-director of the UCLA International Justice Project, which pairs law students with foreign human rights NGOs in need of research aid. In 2013, Sandeep was an Associate Editor of the ICC Forum, a joint project between the School of Law and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In 2012 and 2013, he directed student trips to Tucson, Arizona, to provide legal research aid on U.S.-Mexico border issues. While at UCLA, Sandeep has completed internships or projects in The Hague, Johannesburg, and eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sandeep intends to pursue a career in international human rights law, focusing in particular on legal institutions in conflict and post-conflict regions.
2012-13 Scholarship Recipients
Irene I. Vega
Irene I. Vega is a doctoral student in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests are in international migration, political sociology, and racial/ethnic boundaries. She is particularly interested in whether and how internal immigration politics impact the United States’ foreign policy toward immigrant-sending countries, especially Latin America. Upon completion of the Ph.D., Irene will pursue an academic job at a research university with a lively program on international relations, specifically as it relates to immigration and politics.
Kristen Kao is a PhD Candidate in the Political Science Department at UCLA. She first traveled to the Middle East on a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Egypt in 2006. Since then, she has spent a good portion of each year living in the region, culminating in the dissertation fieldwork she is currently conducting in Jordan and Kuwait. Her research seeks to understand the effects of different types of electoral institutions on voting behavior and democratic representation in ethnically divided societies. She hopes to become a professor and teach at a four-year university.
Siyu Cai was born in China, and he grew up in the U.S.'s most diverse zip code—Seattle's 98118 postal code. This upbringing has led him to pursue a Ph.D. in the Department of Geography at UCLA. His research interest is geographical political economy with a regional focus on China. He has done research on China's regional development, household registration system, and internal migration. Upon graduation, Siyu plans to apply his research agenda, as well as his interest in teaching, in an academic institution.
2011-12 Scholarship Recipients
Aaron Alejandro Olivas
Aaron Alejandro Olivas is a doctoral candidate in the UCLA Department of History. His research interests include the history of colonial Latin America and the Spanish empire (1492-1808), particularly relations between Spanish America and early modern France. Aaron is a member of the Centro de Estudios Coloniales Iberoamericanos de UCLA (CECI) and has also worked as a research assistant at the Getty Research Institute. His career goal is to become a professor of World History and teach at the college level.
Almas Sayeed is a law school student, Class of 2012 and is enrolled in the law school's David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy Program, a selective program for law school students focused on public interest work. She was a 2003 Fulbright Fellow at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she earned her MA in International Studies and worked for the Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling and the European Commission for Cooperation and Development. Following this, she earned her MSc in Economic Development from the London School of Economics.
Cynthia Ugwuibe is a second year student in the Master of Arts in African Studies program UCLA. Prior to starting her master’s degree, she pursued an internship with TransAfrica Forum, a policy advocacy organization in Washington D.C., where she followed legislative and media developments on the political situation in Zimbabwe. At UCLA, Cynthia research focuses on oil revenue management, in particular sovereign wealth fund (SWF) management in Nigeria. Last summer, she participated in the Yoruba Fulbright-Hays intensive language program in Ife, Nigeria where she studied the Yoruba language, a language widely spoken in Nigeria. Also, while in Nigeria, Cynthia interned with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a prominent public policy organization in Abuja.
2010-11 Scholarship Recipients
Farnoosh is a third-year student in the Public Interest Law and Policy Program at the UCLA School of Law. Prior to starting her legal education, she was a research associate at Physicians for Human Rights, where she led investigations on the consequences of human rights abuses at US detention facilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay. Farnoosh received her Master of Public Health from Yale University in 2005 and was awarded the Deans Award for Outstanding MPH Thesis.
Stephanie is a PhD candidate at the UCLA Department of Women’s Studies. She grew up in the Philippines, where she worked as a journalist and a researcher with various NGOs. Her dissertation examines contemporary (post-1995) discourses of governmentality and development in the Philippines, focusing on how the state crafts restrictive forms of neoliberal economic citizenship that co-opt indigenous Filipinas into the flows of global capital.
2009-10 Scholarship Recipients
Michael Iyanaga is a PhD Candidate in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. His research interests include historical ethnomusicology, popular religions, and ritual music in general with an emphasis on popular Catholic and African-derived religious musical rituals in Brazil. After completing his PhD, he plans on continuing his research, as well as teaching at the university level.
Natasha is a PhD Candidate in the UCLA Department of Geography. Her research focus is international migration, internal migration, gender, African diaspora, sub-Saharan Africa, black identities and human capital. She will begin her post doctoral fellowship at the Minnesota Population Center in fall 2010.
Lisa is a PhD Candidate in the UCLA Department of Political Science, specializing in African politics and social movements. Her dissertation, “Political Entrepreneurs and Urban Protest,” explores the determinants of collective action at the intersection of popular grievances and political entrepreneurs’ mobilization strategies. Her field work focuses on the pro-democracy and labor movements in Guinea, Mali, and Niger. After completing her PhD, Lisa hopes to pursue a career in teaching and research.
2009-09 Scholarship Recipients
Kim Yi Dionne
Kim is a PhD candidate at the UCLA Department of Political Science. She will complete her work as a Fulbright Scholar in Malawi and return to UCLA to finish her dissertation. Kim hopes to teach at a research university after graduating.
Summer is a JD/MPH candidate at the UCLA School of Law & UCLA School of Public Health. After graduation, she will go on to work for the US State Department, the UN or another international relief organization.
Tom is a PhD candidate at the UCLA Department of Political Geography. After graduation he hopes to become a professor of political geography. His current research focus is Chinese–Latin American relations.
Amber Nicole Keyes
Amber is an MA candidate at the UCLA Department of International Departmental Studies, in the African Studies Program. She hopes to work in international development aid, policy and implementation, and international trade.