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One will study human-wildlife interactions, the other will study human trafficking support. With the support of the Barrett Global Explorers Grant, Arizona State University Barrett, The Honors College juniors Kinley Ragan and Lauren Barnes will do their best to circumnavigate the globe this summer while conducting research for their senior honors theses.
Previously known as the Barrett Honors Intercontinental Study Award, the newly reconceived grant provides funding for Barrett juniors to conduct a multi-country research project. In addition, students develop global connections and bolster their understanding of world issues. Grants range up to $10,000.
A biological sciences major who is also pursuing a minor in statistics and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems, Ragan will conduct research for her project, “Human Wildlife Conflict Management in an Expanding Society,” over a period of 12 weeks in five different countries. To develop an improved understanding of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) mitigation strategies across the globe, she will visit national parks in Thailand, Australia, Nepal, South Africa, and Colombia and interview park rangers and local community members.
“Humanity is expanding and new landscapes are being reached every day. With our development comes decreased land for animals, smaller buffer zones, and more run-ins with wildlife,” Ragan said. “This research is significant because it impacts everyone and is a global issue. To maintain biodiversity and human and ecosystem well-being, we need to coexist with our wildlife,” she added. Ragan said she plans to publish her research and expand on her project in graduate school as she pursues a doctorate.
Barnes, a social work major, will conduct research on the means by which communities around the world provide resources and support to survivors of sex trafficking. She will meet with members of non-governmental and law enforcement organizations in at least three different countries, as well as service providers and non-profit groups to interview them and document what services they provide and how. Considering that she has never before traveled outside the United States, Barnes is especially excited to conduct research in Ireland, France, Spain, Ghana, or South Korea.
“This research is significant because sex trafficking is an under-researched area and being able to identify and understand it on a global level increases our abilities as a world to fight this issue and support these survivors,” Barnes said.
The application process for the Global Explorers Grant is quite rigorous. Applicants must initially submit a five-page proposal detailing an international research project spanning at least five countries on at least three different continents. A committee of Barrett faculty members then selects the five strongest applicants for development into ten-page proposals. The final selection meeting also includes a 10-minute oral presentation and a 20-minute interview with the award committee.
“It was one of the tougher application and interview processes I’ve been through,” Barnes said. “I am extremely grateful and excited. I know this is a large award and feel so thankful for the (award) committee believing in my project and me. I look forward to spending my summer researching a topic I care deeply about.”
Kyle Mox, director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, housed at Barrett on the Tempe campus, said members of the award committee agreed that these research projects are worth supporting because they highlight ASU’s interest in social embeddedness and Barrett’s commitment to global initiatives.
“Both of these projects are not only important for the students’ intellectual and professional development, they also have the potential to help solve important global problems,” he said. “We agreed that they represent the ambitions that we hope to foster at Barrett and ASU — to be future ‘problem solvers.’”
Another important selection criteria for the award are the student’s personal characteristics.
“We hope to see students who are independent, thoughtful, and culturally aware,” Mox added. “Considering that they are going to be essentially circumnavigating the planet on their own, it’s important that they also demonstrate maturity and resourcefulness, not to mention a little courage.”
The expansion and renaming of the program follows a generous donation from long-time Barrett benefactor Charles Bivenour. A member of the Circumnavigators Club, an international organization founded in the early 1990s to promote global travel, Bivenour sees international travel as integral to undergraduates’ educations.
“I feel having international travel and exposure to different countries and cultures is absolutely necessary for students. With support from the Barrett Global Explorers Grant, not only do students develop a project that will satisfy their intellectual growth, they also have an opportunity that will contribute to their overall personal development,” he said.
Bivenour also served as a member of the award committee.
“I am honored to be involved with ASU and especially Barrett by helping support the grant,” he added. “It’s my way of doing something meaningful and worthwhile.”
Barrett, The Honors College is in the midst of Campaign 2020, an effort to gain support for programs like this grant and other opportunities that help students fulfill their goals and potential. The campaign focuses on building support in several areas, including student scholarships; fostering global citizenship by expanding access to educational travel, global leaders and internships; increasing the amount of professional development funds for honors faculty and establishing a visiting honors faculty program; and developing an honors student success center. Find out more about how you can join them in strengthening Barrett’s unique learning environment.