A UGA geography of human rights class prompted Lauren Anderson to critically consider U.S. foreign policy and the international politics of human rights. So, this senior from Macon is focusing her studies, research and career aspirations in international affairs, with a special concentration in African studies.
Tattnall Square Academy
A.B in international affairs, A.B. in human geography, minor in African studies and anthropology
University highlights, achievements and awards:
While I am fortunate enough to have another year of study ahead of me, I already feel my collegiate experience has been nothing short of amazing. Through study abroad and independent research experiences in particular, my time at UGA has been enriched by opportunities that have enabled my education to extend beyond the Athens city lines, broadening my perceptions of the world and my place within it.
During fall semester of my sophomore year, I enrolled in Dr. Amy Ross’ geography of human rights class, which prompted my critical thinking of U.S. foreign policy and the international politics of human rights. Having enjoyed my experiences in the class, I then approached Dr. Ross about CURO research, spending the subsequent spring semester investigating South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the polemics of restorative justice. Last summer, I continued my studies as a CURO Summer Fellow, traveling to South Africa and interviewing students at the University of Stellenbosch about their perceptions of the TRC and present political and social relations. In addition, I also participated in the GLOBIS study abroad Maymester in Stellenbosch, taking courses on South African history and contemporary economic development, as well as completing a series of service-learning initiatives in the Kayamandi township. Besides being able to experience such a beautiful country, the opportunity to work in Kayamandi specifically is something I will always appreciate about the GLOBIS program, and the program’s directors, Dr. Finlay and Dr. Crepaz, did a fantastic job tying in the realities of both past and present South Africa within the context of the country’s future development.
Currently, I am a Public Service and Outreach Student Scholar, which has given me a greater understanding of the public service and outreach mission of UGA and of the various PSO units on campus. As a PSO Student Scholar, I have spent this past semester interning for Dr. Rusty Brooks in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s International Center and researching urbanization issues in Shanghai. China. Thanks to Dr. Brooks, the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach and the Office of Service-Learning, I look forward to further developing my research and relations with the Carl Vinson Institute as a PSO Summer Intern in Shanghai. With my internship, I hope to study how Shanghai municipal leaders can better utilize the resources of local universities and organizations to address community needs, similarly to how UGA promotes the three public service pillars of teaching, research and outreach. Moreover, I also will be taking Chinese language, culture and politics courses at Fudan University with the assistance of the Shanghai Municipal Scholarship, an opportunity made possible by Carl Vinson’s strong relations with the city of Shanghai.
As far as extracurricular activities, I am an associate editor for the Georgia Political Review, the social sciences editor for the Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, and I serve on the Executive Board of Ubuntu at UGA, an organization I founded with fellow students from the GLOBIS study abroad program that funds crèche development projects in Kayamandi.
Family Ties to UGA:
My father graduated from UGA with a Master’s in health and physical education, but I am the first in my family to attend Georgia as an undergraduate. Needless to say, my dad was really excited when I got accepted.
I chose to attend UGA because...
of the variety of opportunities it affords its students. The combination of great academics, a large and vibrant campus life and the city of Athens itself makes UGA such a unique place to go to college. The benefits of in-state tuition and the Hope Scholarship made attending UGA a no-brainer as well.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
attend UGA athletic events and academic talks. I love that I go to a university where, at any given week, I can listen to an academic like Cornel West speak about societal inequity and then spend a Saturday cheering on the Dawgs in a big SEC football game.
When I have free time, I like...
to hang out with friends and enjoy all that Athens has to offer. Nothing beats meeting up with some classmates and getting a delicious helping of fish and chips at The Royal Peasant!
The craziest thing I've done is...
I haven’t done it yet, but going to China this summer is probably the craziest thing I have planned to do thus far. While I am not so nervous about studying abroad again, I am a little anxious about traveling and being in the country for two weeks essentially by myself. I have never been in a city as big as Shanghai before, but I trust that the experience will be an exciting adventure!
My favorite place to study is...
anywhere but my apartment! I tend to get distracted at home, so any coffeehouse or restaurant downtown helps me stay focused. The booth by the window at Five Star Day makes most paper writing a bit more bearable!
My favorite professor is...
Dr. Amy Ross of the Geography Department. Dr. Ross has been so supportive of my research endeavors throughout my undergraduate career, and I have appreciated the enthusiasm and confidence she has sought to instill in me in every interaction I have had with her. Moreover, I have been incredibly lucky to take two of her classes at UGA, both of which have challenged me to think critically about the world around me and have inspired me to impact it in a thoughtful way. Dr. Ross is truly one of the best professors at UGA.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
Leymah Gbowee. She was and continues to be an influential peace activist in Liberia, having helped establish the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement that proved critical in maintaining peace discussions between then President Charles Taylor and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy rebel group. From what I have seen and read about her, she a vocal and impassioned advocate for the sanctity of peace and human life, and I would love to possess even just an ounce of her strength and character.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
become Secretary of State. I would love to have a profound influence on U.S. foreign policy, particularly towards Sub-Saharan Africa. At present, most U.S. engagement with Africa falls into a dichotomy between increasing militarism and foreign aid, and I wonder if that line of thinking about a particular region can be substituted with an understanding of what and how the idea of Africa has been constituted throughout time and space.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
travel the world! There is so much to see and so many people to meet, and I want to feel that when I am old and grey I have lived the fullest life I could. I have always seen traveling as an important facet of my personal growth, and it is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
After graduation, I plan to...
take a gap year and then earn a master’s degree in African Studies. I think the African continent is a fascinating place to study, both in its own right and in relation to the rest of the world, and I hope that I can dedicate my life to furthering my understanding of it.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
is beating Florida at the Georgia vs. Florida football game this past year! I was in Savannah on a retreat with my fellow Public Service and Outreach Student Scholars, and we began singing UGA fight songs the second we knew we had won. Walking the streets of Savannah (which has a surprising number of Florida fans), we were incredibly obnoxious, but proud Georgia fans!