Undergraduate Sabrina Egal Wins Perry World House Fellowship
Undergraduate students from the Department of Political Science have been winning some pretty prestigious fellowships. One undergrad, Sabrina Egal, a first-generation student, will be joining Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania on a two-year research fellowship.
A Prestigious Fellowship
Perry World House encourages interdisciplinary research on global policy concerns and supports critical conversations about them by hosting workshops, distinguished visitors, and creating content for global audiences and policymakers.
Egal was encouraged to apply for the fellowship by Professor Tanisha Fazal. “Sabrina impresses everyone she meets, and rightly so,” she says. According to Fazal, Perry World House is becoming a major center in the US for discussions about international relations scholarship and policy. “They have been able to attract top talent over the past several years, including speakers on major current events from COVID to climate change.”
Egal’s research interests are in conflicts, mass migration, and human rights. These concerns will fit in well with Perry World House’s two current research themes: 1) the future of the global order: power, technology, and governance; and 2) global shifts: urbanization, migration, and climate change.
Bringing a Diverse Perspective to Foreign Policy
Growing up, Egal realized that political and global issues impacted both her immigrant family and her community. “I wanted to study foreign policy because a lot of US foreign policy has personally affected people I know, and I want one day to work in foreign policy and bring a more diverse perspective,” Egal says.
The courses Egal has taken provided the spark and competencies necessary to compete for distinguished positions in foreign policy after graduation. “The Department of Political Science is the first place that sparked my curiosity about foreign policy,” Egal explains. “I took US Foreign Policy my freshman year, and since then, I have taken more foreign policy-related courses that have given me the necessary background knowledge needed to get internships and fellowships.”
Professors provided more than just instruction in the classroom. They became mentors. “I have been really inspired by all of my political science professors like Professor Fazal and Professor Cosette Creamer. Their mentorship and support have made me feel more prepared to continue seeking professional research experiences.”
The knowledge and skills Egal gained through undergraduate research experiences helped her stand out when applying for the post-graduate opportunity at Perry World House. Acting on advice from Professor Fazal, Egal did graduate-level research for the University of Southern California’s Security and Political Economy Lab. In addition, she completed a research internship at the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
“Without the guidance from my professors, I would not have been able to find these opportunities on my own,” Egal says.
The Best Fit for a First-Generation Student
The first-generation experience was important to Egal when deciding where to attend college. “I feel like the University of Minnesota is an amazing environment for first-generation students because there are a lot of resources that exist to help us navigate college,” Egal explains. “I wanted to attend a university that recognized the barriers and challenges that first-generation students face, and that is implementing initiatives like the President’s Emerging Scholars program to help us feel validated and encouraged to continue being the first in our family to graduate from college.”
Egal hopes to use the skills she gained from her undergraduate career and the research experience at Perry World House to pursue her graduate education. “I am hoping that my research fellowship with Perry World House helps me narrow down my interests so that I can choose a graduate program,” Egal explains. She wants to pursue a law degree, possibly earning a joint juris doctor/master's in public affairs with a focus on international relations.
Based on the sturdy relationships and critical thinking, communication, and active citizenship skills developed through classroom work and research experience, Egal has created the foundation for a successful career.