Our seventh student spotlight features Caleb Weaver, who is a member of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Class of 2016 majoring in Regional and Comparative Studies. His research focuses on the relationship between Martin Luther King, Jr., the leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and American Jewish leaders during the Civil Rights era.
How did you become involved in research at Georgetown?
I first became involved in research through my participation in the Carroll Fellows Initiative. Each Carroll Fellow completes a long-term research project during his or her freshman year, which is a fantastic opportunity to experience the research process first-hand.
What was your favorite part about the research process?
As I carried out my research, I came across countless stories and events within my original topic, each of which I could have turned into a research project of its own. It could be frustrating to leave these stories behind to avoid getting sidetracked, but I found the layers and connections among these various topics fascinating.
How was Georgetown able to support you during the research process?
My project could not have happened without the support I received from the Carroll Fellows community. The program gave me the freedom to pursue a topic of my choosing but also helped me plan my work, establish a framework for my research, and develop a timeline for my project. Of course, having other Fellows with whom I could commiserate and pull the culminating all-nighter was the key to my success.
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?
What sets Georgetown apart for me is that the students and faculty are dedicated to applying our academic pursuits to life outside the university. We approach every lecture, discussion section, guest speaker, and extracurricular activity with our Jesuit mission to promote the common good in mind. We are dedicated to pursuing this mission with an intellectual and interdisciplinary approach, fostering dialogue and contemplation so that we may act decisively.
Describe your research in one sentence.
Accusing Israel of oppressing Palestinians is not a good move if you want support from Jewish groups.
What is your advice for other undergraduates who are interested in pursuing research at Georgetown?
There are a ton of opportunities for undergrads to get involved with research, but students have to do the work of seeking them out. Talk to professors, TAs, advisers, deans, the GOFAR staff, and anybody else you can think of to see what might be available. If you do your homework to get familiar with the existing undergraduate research programs, these conversations are the best way to find an idea for an independent project or join onto an existing one.