Vinson Fellows Explore State and Local Issues in Fall Research Projects

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Four University of Georgia undergraduate students selected for the Vinson Fellows Program recently presented their findings from their semester-long research projects to Institute of Government faculty and staff.

Vinson Fellows work with Institute of Government mentors as they explore topics relating to government. While many fellows focus on local and state government, others consider research that impacts the nation and world. Beyond research, the fellowships provide students with opportunities to interact with public officials and explore the possibility of future careers in public service. 

This fall, Chris Carringer worked with faculty mentor Wes Clarke to study the socio-economic disparities among majority immigrant communities in Georgia. Carringer, a fourth-year student studying International Affairs and Romance Languages with a minor in English, works in the GLOBIS Human Rights Lab and is a Boren Scholar with the Portuguese Flagship Program. Carringer also works as an ESL teacher and volunteers as a music mentor through Muse UGA.

Jeter Long worked with faculty member Marci Campbell. A fifth-year Journalism and Public Affairs Communications student, Long focused on economic development and commerce that was initiated by public investment in the ports of South Georgia. Prior to his time at the Institute of Government, Long served as a policy intern with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, was a legislative intern in Congressman Daniel Webster’s DC office and worked as a government relations intern with Atlas Crossing.

Hadley Rawlins, a fourth-year student majoring in Political Science and minoring in English, worked with faculty mentor David Tanner. Rawlins developed a grant proposal to better understand racial disparities across majors in higher education, with a focus on low Black student participation in healthcare, education and accounting programs at University System of Georgia institutions. Prior to her work with the Institute of Government, Rawlins interned with the Office of Representative Lucy McBath, the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund, and the Athens-Oconee Court Appointed Special Advocates Program.

Isabella Ristuccia worked with faculty mentor Scott Pippin to study regional partnerships that help community members come together to solve collective problems. Her research highlighted the challenges regional partnerships face as well as potential solutions. Ristuccia is a senior student pursuing degrees in political science and English with a minor in Communication Studies. She has past internship experience in the Spencer Frye Fellowship, the University of Georgia's Office of Government Relations, and the Office of Representative Nikema Williams. Ristuccia is currently an intern for the Office of Representative Bobby Rush.

The Fall 2021 Vinson Fellows appreciated the opportunities their fellowships provided. In addition to sharpening their research skills, the fellowships helped students consider their career paths.

Rawlins turned her experience into a job opportunity. “My mentor ended up offering me a job at the Vinson Institute starting in January, so I’m excited to keep learning new things and improving my research skills in the future,” she said.

The Institute of Government hosts Vinson Fellows every fall and spring semester. The Vinson Institute Fellows Program fall internship is open to all UGA undergraduates. The Institute works with the UGA Honors Program for each spring semester cohort. For more information about the Vinson Fellows program, visit the Vinson Fellows Program page.