Research Projects

Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) is held each spring to celebrate the exemplary scholarship and creativity of Willamette University students. Students work directly with faculty members or design and conduct their own research throughout the year.

Featured Projects

Here are a few projects that exemplify the wonderful research students from the International Studies department have done over the years.

Abstract: As time progresses climate change will further increase desertification of once fertile land, raise sea level, and intensify natural disaster, which will increase the amount of environmentally-displaced people. Currently, these individuals are not considered “refugees” and therefore not given international protection. Additionally, researchers unanimously agree that poorer nations will disproportionately bear higher amounts of environmentally-displaced people. This elicits the question, how should environmentally- displaced people be supported by the international community if they can’t fiscally be supported by their home countries? This paper will argue, within the theoretical framework of collective action, that finding solutions to the problem of environmentally- displaced population is in every country's interests, not just those being affected, because people forced to relocate due to changes in the environment are projected to be in the majority of countries that have a coastline within the next 50 years.

Samuel Newman (2016)

Abstract: With the declining population and low birth rate currently in Japan, the role of the mother as a care provider and creator of the next generation has become more important than ever. This does, however, bring up a dilemma. Should women pursue careers and contribute to the economy, or should they have families and ensure the reproduction of next generation? With the current maternity and child-care policies, there is a tradeoff between the two. In this presentation, I will analyze the problem with the policies and propose potential solutions to change the policies in order to allow women to have both kids and careers.

Kennedy Simpson (2016)

Abstract: In this project, I argue that the United States’ actions and inaction in providing humanitarian aid to Haiti were due to the US state working under a realist foreign policy agenda. Humanitarian aid at its core should reflect liberal policies, though this is not witnessed in Haiti. Therefore, there is a severe lack of infrastructure and stable development due to weak economic institutions in Haiti stemming from its dependence on the US.

Pooja Ravikiran (2016)

Additional Research Projects

These are all the projects the International Studies department has presented at SSRD in the last few years.

  • Aid’s Impact on Sierra Leone’s Development through its Economy and Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics - Mona Lisa Utting (Thesis)
  • Secularism, Schoolgirls, and Hypocrisy: How Muslim Garb Divides France - Morgan Del Fierro (Thesis)
  • The Internationalization of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the United Nations System - Robyn Burnside (Thesis)
  • Surrogacy and Surgery: Medical Tourism in Thailand and India - Nicole Morozov (Thesis)
  • Japan’s Uncomfortable Historical Memory with Korea: The “Comfort Women” Issue - Noemi Cruz-Cruz (Thesis)
  • Silence or Truth: Understanding Transitional Justice in Spain - Jordan Martin (Thesis)
  • Human Rights and the UN Security Council: The international system’s response to the Yazidi Genocide - Abrian Sabo (Independent Research)
  • Why the UN Security Council Chose to Refer the Conflict in Darfur to The International Criminal Court - Kathryn Hammitt (Independent Research)
  • Philippine Gender Fuckers: Trans Filipina Sex Workers Under Imperial Scrutiny - Gia Agatha Dacayanan (Colloquium Grant)


  • Multi-Stakeholder Certification Schemes in Agriculture: What can we Learn from the Failure of the RSPO? - Dru Blossom (Thesis)
  • Why has the U.S. Pivot to Asia Failed? - Jessica Weiss (Thesis)
  • From Leader to Laggard: The USA's Participation in International Environmental Regimes - Rose Wilhelmi (Thesis)


  • Not All Migrants Are Equal: A Comparative Analysis of the Turkish and Polish Migration Experience in Germany - Roxana Daliana (Thesis)
  • The Philippines Out-Migration Push and Pull Factors - Yasmine Genena (Thesis)
  • Drowning in Apathy: International Inaction and Possible Solutions for Environmentally-Displaced People - Samuel Newman (Thesis)
  • The Relationship Between the United States and Haiti in Accordance to Humanitarian Aid - Pooja Ravikiran (Thesis)
  • Racism in Revolutionary Cuba - Will Falvey (Thesis)
  • Is China Doing Good? Their Role in Foreign Aid - Trisha Fujiwara (Thesis)
  • Food Insecurity Among Immigrant Populations: How Local Food Shares Can Improve Practices - Liberty Siegle (Thesis)
  • Kids versus Career: The Childcare and Maternity Problems in Japan - Kennedy Simpson (Thesis)


  • The Imitation Game: Fakes and Forgeries in the Chinese Art Market - Miranda Schwabauer (Independent Research)
  • Why Few Hikikomori Receive Treatment - Caitlyn Phillips (Independent Research)
  • Cannabis in Japan: Law Reconsidered - Adrienne Higashida (Independent Research)
  • Glass Ceilings: Setbacks for Japanese Working Women - Marissa Lau (Independent Research)
  • Islamophobia and the Creation of the Torture Subject - Courtney Irons (Independent Research)
  • Explaining Islamic Terrorism and Extremism through Jihad - Nathaniel Balk (Independent Research)
Willamette University

International Studies

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