Former MURFS

Duncan HobbsDuncan Hobbs, BSFS ‘17

Duncan is a senior in the School of Foreign Service from Delaware. His senior thesis on the effect of government industrial promotion policies on the economic development of South Korea sparked his interest in research, especially in the connections between international affairs and economics. His freshman seminar with Professor James Vreeland also inspired him to pursue further research. Duncan is working with Professor Arik Levinson.  He is also a member of the Hilltop Microfinance Initiative and enjoys reading, baking and attending on-campus seminars.


Bethan Saunders

Bethan Saunders, BSFS ‘17 

Bethan Saunders is a senior in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service majoring in International Politics, with a concentration in Security Studies and a certificate in African Studies. For as long as she can remember, she has been fascinated by international relations and very passionate about gender issues. Through this fellowship, Bethan has combined both interests to study the intersections of gender, peace, and security, focusing on the role of women during post-conflict reconstruction processes. With a regional interest in sub-Saharan Africa, Bethan recently studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and worked with  the African Gender Institute to explore the role of women in the transitional justice and constitution  building process.  Through MURFs, Bethan has also worked closely with the Georgetown Institute for  Women, Peace, and Security as a Research Assistant and also partnered with Professor Emily  Mendenhall to study issues of women's maternal and mental health in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin  America. On campus, Bethan is involved in Georgetown University's Student Administration, the Carroll  Fellows Initiative, the foreign service sorority Delta Phi Epsilon, and the International Relations Club.      She is also the co-founder of GU Votes, an initiative at the Institute of Politics and Public Service that  serves to register Georgetown students to vote in the upcoming election. 

Rahul Kaul, BSFS ‘16 

Rahul graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service with a major in International Economics. The diverse learning experiences during his upbringing on three continents complement his natural and defining passion for international studies. In the MURFs program Rahul researched the politics of labor market reform in southern European economies. Together with his faculty mentor Professor Abraham Newman, Rahul also analyzed how international regulatory structures diffuse and are implemented. His other interests at Georgetown included working at the student-run Credit Union, running, and playing bass guitar.

"Working as a Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellow over the past three and a half years has been the most formative intellectual and professional experience during my time at the School of Foreign Service.  The Mortara Center and the other MURFs have provided me with a home on campus where I can challenge myself intellectually, learn from others, and work hard toward a research goal. It takes a village—or rather, a tight-knit community of Fellows, an immensely supportive Center staff, enthusiastic and prolific faculty mentors, and support from the School of Foreign Service—to raise a MURF. I owe the professional skills I have gained, the research competence I have acquired, and some of the best times in my Georgetown career to the Mortara Center and program."

Emma Murphy, BSFS ‘16  

Emma graduated from the School of Foreign Service with a major in International Politics. While she calls Seattle home, the focus of her academic passion has always been international. After having the opportunity to travel to the Middle East twice in recent years, Emma became greatly interested in the region’s diverse culture, conflicted politics, and unique history. Through the MURFs program she enjoyed working under Dr. Rochelle Davis in analyzing the genre of Palestinian poster art and researching refugee crises in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Syrian refugees. She has worked on projects concerning urban refugee populations in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, and just completed an article examining the particular vulnerabilities of young Syrian men. Elsewhere at Georgetown, Emma studied Arabic in between rehearsals for the Georgetown University Dance Company and guiding trips for the Outdoor Education program.

 "In looking at the graduation date looming on my calendar, I would be remiss not to reflect how the program has prepared me for the world beyond Georgetown. I am setting off to pursue a career in humanitarian affairs and refugee policy, a trajectory I would likely not be on if I was not a fellow. I have marketable skills in research, translation, and valuable practice giving presentations. After three years of focusing on a single topic, I’m graduating with a unique and deep knowledge of forced displacement in the Middle East, a pressing global issue about which I’m passionate."

Erin Sielaff, BSFS ‘16

Erin graduated from the School of Foreign Service majoring in International Politics, with a concentration in International Law, Institutions and Ethics. Born and raised in Minnesota, Erin’s interest in research and international affairs stemmed from her involvement in high school policy debate. Her interests lie in international organizations, human rights and women's rights, especially during conflict. Erin worked with Professor Erik Voeten through the MURFs program on researching United Nations resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. She was also involved with the Georgetown University Roosevelt Institute, in the Defense and Diplomacy Policy Center.

"Although creating a massive dataset was one of the most difficult things I did during my undergraduate career, it has also been one of the most rewarding. In the process of assembling the dataset, I not only learned general research skills, data management skills, and improved my ability to use Stata, but I became a producer of knowledge, rather than just a consumer. I was able to ask a question for which there was no answer in the literature, and through the skills and support afforded to me by the program, I answered it comprehensively. I can think of few other organizations at Georgetown that would have appreciated the specificity of the research I conducted—let alone support it institutionally, financially, and personally. And this is what truly makes the program so unique: in addition to facilitating the development of research skills and forging an appreciation for the processes of research and academic inquiry, it fosters the creation of an epistemic community."

Elaine Colligan, BSFS ‘15

Elaine graduated from the School of Foreign Service majoring in Culture and Politics. Her conviction that environmental and human rights are fundamentally tied drives her research, which she hopes will contribute to academia but also conducts with an eye on Georgetown's Jesuit ideal of serving others. She recently returned from a summer abroad in Senegal where she worked in the Gender Department of ENDA Tiers Monde, an NGO based in Dakar, and conducted field research on gender and environmental sustainability with fishermen and women. Elaine sings in Georgetown's Gospel Choir and loves to salsa dance.

"My Mortara Fellows research program experience has been a major cornerstone of my undergraduate academic career. As a first-year student, I was vaguely interested in issues found at the nexus of environmental and social problems, but wasn’t sure what type of specialization I would gain during my four years at college and didn’t know how I would arrive at any concentration of expertise. As my interests and passions have changed and solidified, the Mortara Fellows program has allowed me to pursue emergent interests with focus and intensity. It has also pushed me to be a critical and attentive thinker and challenged me to innovate in the knowledge field under which I fall as a scholar."

Soumyajit Mazumder (Shom), BSFS ‘15

Soumyajit (Shom) graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service studying International Political Economy. Substantively, Shom is interested in the ways in which non-state actors such as Multi-National Corporations and International Organizations shape world politics. Methodologically, Shom is interested in using "big-data" techniques to answer previously unanswerable questions. Through the MURFs program, Shom has been working closely with Professors James Raymond Vreeland and Kathleen R. McNamara on an article that investigates the impact of United Nations Security Council membership on the amount of multilateral aid a country receives from the the European Union. On the side, Shom is also working on research that explores the impact of Bilateral Investment Treaties on political survival, the international political determinants of the US Debt Ceiling Crises, and the causes and consequences of the United States's covert interventions during the Cold War.

"The Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellows (MURFs) program has been an integral part of my academic experience at Georgetown. Throughout my time with the MURFs program, I have learned valuable research skills that have been crucial to my academic success inside and outside of the classroom. Being paired with a distinguished faculty member and having peers in the MURFs program who are equally passionate about research has pushed me to do the best possible work that I can do. As a result, my experience with MURFs has helped me to decide that a career in academic research is the right path for me."

Mariana Juardo GuedezMariana Jurado Guedez, BSFS '18

Mariana is a senior in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, majoring in International Economics and pursuing an honors certificate in International Business Diplomacy. Originally from the Midwest, Mariana began her first semester at Georgetown researching the relationship between membership on the United Nations Human Rights Council and foreign aid in Professor Vreeland’s undergraduate course. This experience has motivated her to pursue other areas of interest within international affairs, such as biotechnology and foreign investment. Mariana has been motivated to further develop her quantitative analytical skills after working as a Data Analytics assistant at the State Department in summer ‘16. She worked with Dr. Mark Giordano as a research assistant in the MURF program, pursuing projects, such as the investigation of the long-term environmental impact of refugee camps. In summer ’17, this report was published and can be viewed here. She also enjoyed topics concerning agricultural technologies and remittances, and in her final year, Mariana met with Dr. Patricia Biermayr-Jenzano to focus on these topics and learn how they affect emerging markets. On the side, Mariana was also a member of the Georgetown University Cheerleading Squad.  

Asjed Hussein (Azi), BSFS '15

"I can honestly say looking back on my college experience that my time as a MURF stands as one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had at Georgetown. Not only did I have the opportunity to work on important research questions, but I also formed my most lasting mentor-mentee relationship with a professor and befriended some of the most brilliant students at Georgetown."