Our third student spotlight features Audrey Atencio, who is a member of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Class of 2014 majoring in International Politics. Her research looks at the female political participation rate in government in post-conflict countries.
How did you become involved in research at Georgetown?
I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the International Politics Honors Thesis Program, which has allowed me to pursue my research throughout my senior year. The program has facilitated the research process for me, and has given me a set goal and timeline for my research.
What was your favorite part about the research process?
It took a while for me to fully nail down my research question from the very broad topic I first chose to the much narrower topic I’m currently researching. To be completely honest, that process was incredibly frustrating, but ultimately very rewarding (and very necessary).
How was Georgetown able to support you during the research process?
The IPOL Thesis program has a mandatory class in the fall semester for the people in the program to start exploring our thesis research and determine the structure and direction of our theses. I’m now in an independent study with my fabulous thesis mentor, Professor Lahra Smith. Those two classes have been incredibly helpful. The IPOL Thesis group has also become very close, and that informal support network has helped us all get through the research process. And soon I’ll get to present my work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, which is quite exciting!
The Georgetown University Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the university as a whole, is committed to fostering interdisciplinary, intellectual dialogue. What is one experience that you have had at Georgetown that reflects this commitment?
The great thing about Georgetown is that that interdisciplinary, intellectual dialogue doesn’t have to be something formal sponsored by the university. Most of my best experiences with that kind of dialogue has been the conversations that have happened at 3am at a table on Lau 2, or around the dinner table at Leo’s. Georgetown students are committed to interdisciplinary, intellectual dialogue even if we don’t think about it as such – we just think it’s a fun conversation!
Describe your research in one sentence.
Lots of post-conflict developing countries are actually really good at including women in government, and that seems kind of weird so I’m going to find out why by comparing a bunch of cases.
What is your advice for other undergraduates who are interested in pursuing research at Georgetown?
Apply to write a thesis, even if it seems scary. Especially if you’re an International Politics major!