The Center for West European Studies and the EU Center are pleased to announce that five of our students participated in the Undergraduate Research Conference on the EU this April in Claremont, CA. The conference is focused on EU-US relations, and is the largest undergraduate research conference of its kind. UW students Emma Delapré, Anna Graves, Johanna Soleil, Isobel Williamson, and Vanessa Zelenović all presented papers at the conference. The students are from several majors, including the European Studies program housed within the Jackson School. Zelanović is a political science major with a writing minor. Delapré is an International Studies student, in European Studies and French. Soleil is a Political Science and European Studies major, with a minor in History of War and Society. Williamson is an International Studies major with a French minor.
Vanessa Zelenović presented a paper entitled “Post-Conflict Reconciliation in the European Context: The Cases of Northern Ireland and the Balkans”. She said that she had been advised to apply to the conference by her thesis advisor, Professor Sabine Lang, and was very happy to have been accepted to present there. She says the conference was a great opportunity to meet other students from around the country who share research interests, and that seeing other presentations was an enriching experience. She also said that the event helped her become more comfortable public speaking:“I think talking to the presenters and realizing that they’re human just like the rest of us made me feel a lot more comfortable presenting myself. I didn’t feel too nervous, and I trusted the audience to listen and ask me insightful questions. Overall, I had a wonderful experience and would love to participate in more conferences like these in the future.”
Anna Graves, who presented a paper called “Cultural Diversity in the Netherlands: The Dutch Approach to Diversity in Primary and Secondary Education” echoed Zelenović, saying that Sabine Lang had influenced their choice to submit to the conference, and that “her class and teaching definitely sparked an interest in the EU that I earlier did not know about. Overall, I had a great experience at the conference. I met some really interesting and friendly peers and learned about various topics in Europe through student presentations and excellent lectures from keynote speakers. It is definitely an experience that requires a lot of work in order to prepare, but one that was very educational and inspirational!”
Isobel Williamson, who presented “LGBT Rights in Poland: The impact of EU Budgetary Intervention”, said “Sabine Lang’s ‘Europe Today’ class sparked my interest in present-day economic and social issues within the EU. An Honors class on LGBTI rights in international affairs propelled me to complete my senior thesis on how EU budgetary intervention impacted human rights in Polish ‘LGBT-free zones.’ I presented a portion of this research at the conference. I appreciated the huge variety of topics, ranging from how the European Commission operates to advances in renewable energy throughout the EU to trade policy. I also very much appreciated the perspectives that the conference’s keynote speakers brought. Furthermore, it was wonderful being able to connect with students from across the country and learn about their schools’ international studies programs and research opportunities. I thought that this opportunity provided a fantastic introduction to academic conferences, as it was a low-pressure environment where we could receive valuable feedback from professors and peers.”
In addition to presenting her paper, Johanna Soleil won the top award for best paper, for her work “Integrated or Excluded: The Effects of French Integration Policies on Immigrant Communities from 200-2020”. Emma Delapré and Johanna Soleil both were awarded Outstanding Paper, and will have their work published in the conference’s journal.
Congratulations to all five students on their great work at the conference!