Kate Knight ’19 is the embodiment of what it means to be a global citizen. The international relations and religious studies double major was one of approximately 50 students who presented their undergraduate research in February at the prestigious Human Development Conference at University of Notre Dame.
A fall 2017 participant in SIT Study Abroad’s Jordan: Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action program, Knight is one of 18 students who received competitive grants from the School for International Training to attend the Notre Dame conference. As part of a panel, she presented her research, “The Christian Zionist Lobby and its Implications in Israel-Palestine.”
“As an international relations and religious studies double major, I am fascinated by the delicate tradeoffs often made between religion and politics on a global level,” says Knight, whose travels have taken her to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Jordan, Palestine, India, Dominican Republic, western Europe, and elsewhere. “Since the age of 18, I have been fortunate to travel around the world to better understand these dynamics. After graduation, I plan on attending law school with a focus on human rights-based law before moving on to work in the public sector.”
The annual student-led Human Development Conference is sponsored by Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies. It is an opportunity for students from many academic disciplines to share their development-focused research and network with other student researchers from across the country and the world.
“Our students conduct some of the most rigorous independent research in their fields,” says SIT President Sophia Howlett. “Their participation at the Human Development Conference not only provides well-deserved recognition for their excellent work. It also offers these outstanding students an opportunity to begin to develop new relationships that will support and promote our students’ academic and professional advancement.”
Independent research is central to SIT Study Abroad’s nearly 60 immersive, semester-long programs. During their time abroad, students prepare to complete an in-depth, field-based independent study project that addresses a research question.
In each case, the project requires original fieldwork, a final presentation, and a formal research paper. Students are always required to examine the ethics of their research and consider its impact on local communities.