Dual BA Program Students Receive Prestigious Grants to Pursue Foreign Language and Global Studies

Dual BA Program Students Receive Prestigious Grants to Pursue Foreign Language and Global Studies

Four students in the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po have been awarded highly-competitive awards that provide funding to travel abroad, develop foreign language proficiency, and complete further courses of study. Due to the nature of the rigorous, interdisciplinary, and multi-lingual education they receive, Dual BA Program students are particularly well-positioned to pursue international opportunities.

“The Sciences Po curriculum is intensely international, and we see many students pursue diverse fellowships and international graduate school options. In addition, the advising resources within GS help connect these students to nearly limitless opportunities. It’s more a matter of finding the right fit,” Jessica Sarles-Dinsick, Senior Assistant Dean of International Programs at the School of General Studies, said.  

Nikita Perumal ’16, and Daniela Dos Santos Quaresma ’17, were both recognized for their research interests with grants to study overseas. Nikita Perumal will be a 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar to Vanuatu, where she will be researching climate impacts from a human rights perspective. As a recipient of the Undergraduate Global Policy Fellowship this past academic year, Perumal conducted field research in Port Vila, Vanuatu for her senior thesis about climate-induced displacement on the island.

“In many ways, I look at this as a continuation of the fieldwork I did for my human rights senior thesis, and I’m incredibly excited to pursue my research further with this grant,” Perumal said.

As a Fulbright Scholar, she will be hosted by the University of the South Pacific’s Emalus Campus School of Law, where she intends to pursue environmental law coursework in addition to her research.

Daniela Dos Santos Quaresma ’17 is a recipient of the Undergraduate Global Policy Fellowship, awarded by the Columbia Global Policy Initiative. The fellowship awards a stipend to Columbia juniors conducting policy-oriented research for a senior thesis that is global in nature.

“I will research how the principle of laïcité in France, or the separation of religion from state, is a factor fostering the marginalization of Muslim communities, and might explain radicalization,” Dos Santos Quaresma said. 

She intends to use her funding to travel to France and the United Kingdom, where she will interview with various organizations and policy-makers regarding her research topic, drawing a comparison between the two countries.

In addition to research grants, Dual BA Program students received fellowships in pursuit of cultural and linguistic immersion. Graduating senior Jeff Niu ’16 will depart for China as a recipient of the Yenching Scholarship for a fully-funded master’s degree in China studies with a specialization in economics and management at the Yenching Academy of Peking University.

Niu is one of four Columbia University students this year to receive the prestigious award, and will embark on this interdisciplinary curriculum with 130 other scholars from 41 countries. As an East-Asian studies major at Columbia University, and an alumnus of Sciences Po’s Europe-Asia campus in Le Havre, the Yenching Scholarship is a natural progression of Niu’s interests in Chinese language and culture, as well as the political and economic relations between East Asia, North America, and Europe.

A current student at Sciences Po’s Le Havre campus, Abigail Stickney ’19 will also travel to China this summer, where she will study in Changchun as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). The CLS is awarded to support American students studying critical foreign languages, by providing fully-funded intensive language instruction and cultural enrichment experiences. The selection process is highly competitive, and applications are reviewed by language faculty, area specialists, study abroad professionals, and fellowship advisors.

Having experienced the benefits of cultural immersion, and having developed an ability to adapt to multiple environments, Dual BA Program students naturally seek opportunities that provide similar experiences. Their successes are representative of the ways in which the Program prepares students to be successful candidates for, and members of, the fellowship communities they belong to.

“Students enrolled in the Dual BA Program for the 2015-2016 academic year represented 39 different countries, and I think it’s almost impossible for such a dynamic group of people to share an experience like this without asking themselves what else they’re capable of doing, ” Sarles-Dinsick said.