26 October 2017

Hofstetter Jacob Brumley FellowJacob Hofstetter, Brumley Next Generation Fellow and MGPS student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, is paired with Dr. Ricardo Ainslie (Professor, Department of Educational Psychology) this year for his Brumley fellowship. Each Brumley Fellow spends the academic year working on a research project under the advisement of a faculty mentor, and Jacob is in the process of fine-tuning his project's focus. He goes into detail for us here:

Strauss Center: Many times the Brumley Fellows start out with a certain idea of what they'd like to research over the upcoming year, and various factors cause them to take a different approach or even change the subject of their project completely. What was your original research idea and how has it developed so far?

Jacob: "My original research idea was to investigate the U.S. government response to the increasing numbers of Central American migrants arriving to the U.S.-Mexico border since 2014. In order to fully explore this topic, I first planned to research how the U.S. government used security assistance, development aid, cooperation with Mexico, and immigration programs to address the complex web of causes of the increased movement of people northward.

After some initial research, I decided to explore U.S. security assistance and development aid more fully via a deeper look into the Alliance for Prosperity, the assistance plan to Central American countries the U.S. announced in 2014. I plan to examine the conceptions of U.S. policymakers in developing the Alliance for Prosperity and if the plan was an appropriate response to both the migration crisis and the security context of Central America."

SC: What led to your interest in your current research for the Brumley Fellows program?
JH: "I developed an interest in migration and security policy while working as a Legal Services Coordinator for Human Rights First in Houston, Texas. In that position, I worked with hundreds of asylum-seekers from Central America, and their stories gave me my first deep look at the complex issues affecting security and migration in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. I have continued exploring these issues as well the connection between security and migration issues while a student at the LBJ School as well. The Brumley Fellows program has given me the opportunity to pursue this policy interest in a deeper fashion with the guiding hand of a faculty mentor."

Faculty mentors to Brumley Fellows take an advisory approach to helping their assigned Fellow with his or her research, letting the student be the driver of the project.

SC: How has Dr. Ainslie helped you develop your research?
JH: "Dr. Ainsile has helped me examine similar violence-reduction programs in Mexico, specifically in Ciudad Juarez."

SC: What do you predict doing with your research at the end of the academic year?
JH: "After completing my research, I hope to produce a report that examines the Alliance for Prosperity and makes suggestions on how U.S. assistance to Central America could be improved or refined. I may also attempt to produce a blog post or two on specific programs or my research as well."

SC: What are your plans after graduation from the MGPS program?
JH: "After graduating from the LBJ School, I hope to continue my work on migration and security issues either at a think-tank or international organization."

SC: Jacob, thank you very much for taking time of out of your schedule to answer our questions! We are very excited to watch your research develop over this upcoming year.

Throughout every academic year the Strauss Center features interviews of our Brumley NextGeneration Graduate Fellows and Undergraduate Scholars to see how they are progressing in their work for the Brumley program. Follow our News page and social media (Facebook & Twitter) to stay up-to-date on these posts!