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Student Spotlight: Sara Meerow

As an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, Sara wrote an honors thesis on the ‘natural resource curse’ in Africa that shifted her perspective. “I examined countries whose economies were dependent on oil and minerals and how that dependence correlated with their democracy. That experience got me to think differently about international development and the environment, connections between social and ecological systems, and the impact of doing research,” she says. That led her to Europe where she completed a master’s degree in international development at the University of Amsterdam. There she became interested in sustainable development and social-ecological resilience theory.

Student Spotlight: Babe Kawaii-Bogue

It took Babe three tries to get into Michigan. Along the way, she went to Columbia for her Master’s degree to raise her GPA and obtain further research experience. Babe received other Ph.D. program offers during the years she applied to graduate schools, but says she “really wanted to come here; the psychology department is so well known. I came to U-M because apart from the unbeatable financial package, I wanted to be amongst a larger student body of African Americans, and the psych program at U-M has the largest number black Ph.D. students next to Howard. I went to UC Berkeley for my undergraduate studies, and my entire time there, didn’t really get to know African American students. As an African American I really need that as a part of my education.”

Student Spotlight: Geoff Lorenz

While many of us shy away from what can seem the seedy world of political lobbying – especially in a heated presidential election year – Geoff has decided to write a dissertation about it.

He studies what makes lobbying effective in the U.S. Congress, approaching from many angles the ways in which interest groups attempt to influence lawmaking. His dissertation examines how lobbying impacts what bills Congress addresses (and what bills Congress ignores), particularly at the committee stage. He describes, “Thousands of bills get introduced, but only a fraction of them get consideration in committee. My dissertation attempts to explain how interest groups influence which bills clear this critical winnowing point in the legislative process.”