15:58 PM

Seven CIS Students Present Capstone Projects at International Conference

From left to right: Josue Rodriguez, Ashley Koborssi, Antonio Casazza (wheel chair), Abril Villasana, Samaria Herbert, Kenia Lopez, Alexis Alexander-Jackson, and Dr. Yao-Yuan YehUniversity of St. Thomas continues to be a leader in undergraduate research presentations at professional conferences. From psychology to biology to international studies, UST students compete and succeed in an arena generally reserved for graduate students.

Center for International Studies student Samaria Herbert, who attended an international conference with six of her peers was grateful for the chance to present. Herbert notes that there weren’t many undergraduate students at the conference, and graduate and doctoral students were pleasantly surprised by UST’s undergraduate student presence. She thought that it was a normal thing for undergraduate students to present.

Seniors Give Presentations at International Conference

Seven CIS students presented their senior thesis (capstone projects) at the annual meeting of the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences (AABSS). This meeting is a cross-disciplinary international conference sponsored by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas College of Liberal Arts.

“The International Studies Department continues to amaze me with the opportunities it gives its students,” Herbert said. “I am proudly a part of the International Studies family, and I feel prepared to go out in the world and fulfill my passions.”

Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh, assistant professor of International Studies, traveled with the group. He recruited six professional discussants (graduate students and professors from other universities) to observe and comment on our students’ research.

“They spoke highly about the quality of our students and their respective research in the field of international studies, ” Yeh said.

Students Feel Well-Prepared to Compete and Succeed

Though there was no prize or award at this educators-exchange conference, Herbert felt well-prepared for her presentation titled, Perceptions of Hispanic Immigrants in the US Modern Political Rhetoric.

“Dr. Yeh had us run multiple dress rehearsals before the big day and our last rehearsal was the day before we presented,” Herbert said. “He kept us sharp and ready to present. We would not be successful without his guidance and I'm truly thankful for that opportunity.”

Her abstract is: In recent years, the subject of immigration has become a hot topic for politicians to tackle on their ways to the top. The current administration has strictly spoken out against immigration and the spread of illegal immigrants in the United States. There has also been rhetoric specifically made against Hispanic immigrants. They are stereotyped as "Mexican illegal immigrants" that came across the border illegally to take everyone’s jobs. They are considered to bring negative impacts on the economy, school systems, and job market. Therefore, my research focuses on the formation of such a stereotype, as Mexican immigrants are not the only people coming to the US illegally. I argue that politicization of ethnic and racial divide on Hispanic immigrants is due to electoral consideration. I provide a number of case studies to support my argument.

Herbert will also give this presentation at the UST Research Symposium scheduled for April.

Herbert currently has an internship with the U.S. – Arab Bilateral Chamber of Commerce that will extend into the summer. She is graduating in May with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Spanish.

The students who attended the conference are Alexis Alexander-Jackson, Antonio Casazza, Samaria Herbert, Ashley Koborssi, Kenia Lopez, Josue Rodriguez and Abril Villasana.

Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh Receives McGraw-Hill Distinguished Scholar

This is the third time that Yeh has served as the faculty chaperon and leading the CIS students to this conference. To honor his services and commitments to undergraduate research and his personal scholarship, he was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Annual McGraw-Hill Distinguished Scholar Award issued by the AABSS.