Strauss Center Announces 2020 – 2021 Brumley Next Generation Scholars
Jun 10, 2020 | Brumley Fellows
The Robert Strauss Center is very pleased to announce the acceptance of eleven undergraduate students to its 2020 – 2021 class of Brumley Next Generation Scholars. The program’s new class comprises an impressive group of undergraduate students drawn from schools and departments across the UT campus.
The scholars program consists of two core components. First, the students will take a 3-credit research training and professional development course, taught in the fall of 2020 by Dr. Michael Mosser and Dr. Stephanie Holmsten. This course is designed to introduce students to policy work, including skills in policy research, analysis, and writing. Students will be trained on designing research strategies and proposals, conducting policy analysis, writing resumes and statements of purpose, crafting op-eds and blog posts, and planning for the steps in their career development. Second, in the spring semester, the Next Generation Scholars will work closely with Dr. Mosser and Dr. Holmsten on a collaborative policy research project and report.
Involving undergraduates in international affairs and civic engagement early in their career is a vital part of the Strauss Center’s mission to prepare the next generation of leaders to help develop solutions to the most pressing public policy challenges.
Meet the 2020 – 2021 Brumley Next Generation Scholars:
Temi Ajibola is a rising junior student majoring in International Relations & Global Studies and Government with a minor in French Studies. Her academic interests lie in critiquing foreign policies in African development and female security which she hopes to incorporate into her policy research. Temi is a part of the Feminist Geography Collective where she has researched the effects of foreign militarization and women’s security in Northern Nigeria. Continuing her passion for research, she has served as the Publicity Director for the Capital of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference where she and other UT students coordinated a statewide undergraduate research competition. Temi is also involved in Haven Students, International Relations and Global Studies Council, and Texas Undergraduate Research Journal. Outside of her academics, she has interned at the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, researching current social issues that impact Texas’ most populous counties. In the near future, Temi hopes to finish her honors thesis, travel to Nigeria for field research, and pursue a dual degree in law and global policy. For now, she enjoys playing the piano, writing, and hanging out with friends.
Bryce Blackwell is a rising senior studying the confluence of business, engineering, and design through majors in Science & Technology Management and Plan II Honors with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Bryce studied nanotechnology and innovation while abroad in Tokyo, and passionately tracks emerging tech trends as a member of the Technology Business Fellows program. He is also a member of Texas Convergent, where he works with his peers to complete interdisciplinary projects in business and computer science. Bryce has interned at Shiftsmart and Double A Labs – two companies leveraging technology to enhance how people work and communicate. In addition, Bryce serves as the Director of Business Operations for the Texas Rocket Engineering Lab (TREL) – an advanced research laboratory fostering the next era of aerospace pioneers. At TREL, Bryce is helping launch the first collegiate bipropellant rocket to the edge of space by 2021. His interest in rocket science has driven him to pursue an aerospace career, where he hopes to tackle the commercial, legal and political complexities of private enterprises in space. He is currently working on creating a multidisciplinary Center for Space Studies at UT, an epicenter for learning, collaboration, and innovation in the space environment.
Sophie Dunn is a rising junior with a double major in Middle Eastern Studies as well as International Relations and Global Studies, with a specialization in International Security. She is going into her third semester of Arabic and plans to pursue fluency in order to utilize her language in a research-oriented career. She is on the Professional Development Committee of the student-run International Relations and Global Studies Council, an organization that is focused on connecting students to the many opportunities International Relations majors are afforded at UT. Sophie also is a coxswain on the UT Women’s Rowing Team and has been coxing since freshman year of high school. As a coxswain, her job is to help manage the team and promote a cohesive team environment. She plans to pursue a career in policy research and is interested in state fragility in the Middle East.
Jared Hrebenar is a rising senior majoring in International Relations and Global Studies, Economics, Government, and Chinese, and pursuing a certificate in Core Texts & Ideas through the Jefferson Scholars Program. Jared is actively involved in UT’s Model United Nations program, having participated in the UT conference since high school and currently serving as the organization’s 27th Secretary-General. He also serves on the executive board of the International Relations and Global Studies Council and the directorate of the Chicago International Model UN Conference. Outside of academics, Jared has worked as a Communications Director in the Texas Legislature, as the Digital Director for the 2018 Democratic Lt. Governor’s campaign in Texas and has worked on or consulted for over a dozen political campaigns across the Lone Star State. For his work in politics, he’s received coverage in the Houston Chronicle and UT’s very own Daily Texan. Jared hopes to one day attend graduate school and lead a career in academia.
Jonah Isaac is a rising junior at UT Austin, where he is pursuing a degree in History, Arabic, and Information Studies. His professional interests pertain especially to social media, data privacy, and defense policy. For nearly the past year, Jonah has had the honor of interning at the Department of Defense AFRICOM, where he has produced analysis of African social media trends and regional geopolitical developments. Outside of school, Jonah enjoys powerlifting and reading. In the future, he would like to examine how communities across Africa and the Middle East can respond to Internet-related security threats.
Avery Leake is a rising senior at UT Austin, studying Mathematics and Plan II Honors. Throughout his UT career, Avery has been interested in the application of AI and financial technology to international relations and public policy. He has been an Undergraduate Fellow with the Clements Center for National Security since 2018 and attended the 2019 Clements Center Maymester at Kings College London studying the US, the UK, and World Order. During his sophomore year, Avery was an Applied Geopolitics Fellow at Stratfor working on geopolitical forecasting and analysis alongside their science and technology analysts. Currently, Avery is interning with Hypergiant Industries as an Ethics in AI Research Intern. He works on developing and analyzing AI ethics strategies and conducting research on global AI policy. Avery also works as a researcher through IPD with Professor Rachel Wellhausen studying access to financial services and capital in Indian Country and sovereign nations. Throughout his college career, Avery has participated in Model United Nations, initially as a member and offer of the Central Texas Model UN running high school conferences and now as the captain of the Texas Model United Nations travel team. Outside of school, Avery is an avid sports fan, loves reading fantasy and science fiction, skiing, and both cooking and eating good food.
Madison Lockett is a rising senior at UT Austin, studying International Relations and Global Studies and Government. Lockett’s studies focus on international security, with a particular interest in the intersection of technical capabilities and traditional diplomacy, warfare, and security. She intends to explore this topic in depth as a Brumley Scholar. In her time at UT, Madison participated in the Fall 2019 Archer Fellowship, and has been a Clements Center Undergraduate Fellow for three years. She also joined the Clements Center in London to study world order and the “Special Relationship” between the US and UK. Additionally, Madison spent a summer in a Spanish immersion program, and has continued her language education by studying Turkish. With graduation approaching, Madison plans to spend some years in the workforce before pursuing an advanced degree. She aspires to work in the public sector on national and international security issues.
Mayson OBrien is a rising senior studying International Relations and Global Studies with a specialization in European and environmental studies. Her research interests center on global environmental policy and environmental issues of distribution. She is particularly passionate about critically assessing the ways in which certain environmental policies disadvantage marginalized groups. In 2019, Mayson conducted research on various forms of environmental policy and the potential for their application in democracies, which was published in the Yale Review of International Studies. Mayson hopes to pursue a career in public service in order to help ensure that environmental policies benefit society in equitable ways. In order to achieve this goal, she plans to attend law school after her undergraduate studies and specialize in international environmental law. Outside of her studies, Mayson serves as the president of Noteworthy A Capella, a nationally competitive musical group, and enjoys performing on and off campus. Mayson looks forward to participating in the Brumley Next Generation Scholars Program and is excited to gain practical experience working through policy issues with a group of exceptional individuals.
Colin Phillips is a rising senior at UT Austin, majoring in Electrical & Computer Engineering Honors and Mathematics. During the winter of 2019, Colin traveled to Israel as a Data Science and Machine Learning fellow through NYU, where he studied state-of-the-art A.I. technologies and their applications across industries. This sparked his fascination with the ethical and legal implications of defense technologies and their regulation in military applications, which he will explore as a Brumley Scholar. On campus, Colin is involved with Projects with Underserved Communities, where he acts as the Project Manager of a team designing, funding, and constructing a multipurpose community center in Andhra Pradesh, India. He’s also a Product Manager of the Texas Product Engineering Organization, a player on the UT Water Polo Club Team, an organizer for the Freetail Hackers, and a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Colin has researched deep learning within the Oden Institute of Computational Engineering and Sciences and interned with the Applied Research Laboratories this past year. He’s hoping to continue research in Human-Computer Interaction and algorithmic justice for his honors thesis and is planning to attend graduate school to earn an advanced degree in Machine Learning.
Janae Steggall is a rising junior pursuing a degree in International Relations and Global Studies, a minor in History, and a Security Studies certificate. Janae is the incoming President of TX Votes, an award-winning nonpartisan civic engagement organization that devotes itself to registering, educating, and encouraging students and faculty to participate in democracy. She is the outgoing Chair of the Civic Engagement Alliance, a collection of organizations working toward greater civic engagement, especially for groups that vote at historically low rates. As a Dedman Distinguished Scholar, she has gained mentorship and support from the Dedman family for delving into and exploring her passions. Through the Normandy Scholars Program at UT, Janae has enhanced her ability to analyze history and the ethics of modern-day commemoration efforts and is eager to pursue a future of protecting human rights and peace globally. She has co-founded and received seed funding for a nonprofit, Reading With Meaning, which mentors 5th-9th graders to productively handle their gender identity, sexual orientation, peer pressure, bullying, and mental illness through literature. She is a preceptor for two LAH courses, The Idea of Liberal Arts and The Ideas of Civic Engagement, in which freshmen gain writing skills and learn to create and run their own nonprofit. Passionate about civic engagement, the treatment of immigrants and refugees, and education, she worked in Representative Ryan Guillen’s office in the Texas House of Representatives, researching and drafting legislation. Upon graduation, Janae plans to attend graduate school for international affairs. Her career interests lie within the fields of diplomacy and international security. She is excited to be a part of the Brumley Next Generation Scholars’ Program to research and explore possible policy solutions in areas she’s passionate about, and to be among and learn from like-minded students.
William Wallock is a rising junior at UT where he is pursuing degrees in both Plan II Honors and Quantitative Finance. He is also a student of the Jefferson Scholar Program where he is earning a certificate in the Core Texts and Ideas. He hopes to devote his professional career to working in the intersection between climate security and international law. He is acutely interested in the ways that the changing environment will influence the world’s political and social order. Before beginning undergrad, William spent a year in Israel where he worked as an EMT with Magen David Adom and studied the geopolitics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since his time in Israel, he has devoted his professional time to working in the realm of environmental policy and law. He worked as a case clerk at Lloyd Gosselink with the water and energy practice group. As a clerk, he assisted the firm during administrative hearings and began learning the intricacies of domestic water law. He then worked as a water policy analyst at the Center for Water Security and Cooperation. As an intern, he worked with state legislators on water shut-off policy and conducted research on sanitation management in India and Ethiopia. William is returning to the Center for Water Security and Cooperation as a water policy analyst and will be joining the World Resource Institute as a climate resilience researcher this upcoming summer. On campus, William is a 2021 summer rider with Texas 4000, a mentor with the Plan II-KIPP partnership, a researcher with the IPD lab, and a TA for Lee Walker’s Civic Viewpoints seminar. He hopes to pursue a joint JD/MPP degree after undergrad. He believes that the Brumley Scholars program will equip him with the necessary knowledge and skills to make a substantial change in the world.