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The Foley Institute 2016 Graduate Fellows



Congratulations to our 2016 Graduate Fellows! These fellowships are available thanks to the generosity of Scott and Betty Lukins, Alice O. Rice, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Foundation.


Pictured left to right in front of Bryan Hall are Hans Schmidt, Kakali Chakrabarti, Samuel Rhodes, Brenden Higashi, and Armando Medinaceli.

Kakali Chakrabarti, communication and media studies, is researching arsenic contamination of groundwater in the Bengal Basin, which is a serious environmental risk. She is using her fellowship  funds for fieldwork in the Bengal Basin/lower Ganges Basin (West Bengal India) to conduct interviews in
village communities and focus group discussions. Ultimately, the research seeks to develop a working
model for a community-based, culture-centered participatory public education campaign for
environmental risk perception, mitigation, and adaptation.
Brenden Higashi, a Ph.D. candidate in political science, is using his Foley Fellowship to conduct field
work and data collection for his dissertation, which focuses on the connection between judges’ social
backgrounds, especially their class backgrounds, and how judges conceive of their professional role in the legal system. Brenden’s goal is to use his dissertation as an opportunity to expand knowledge on the role social and class backgrounds play in an important institution of American government.
Armando Medinaceli, a Ph.D. student in cultural anthropology, is using his fellowship to complete
the first phase of his research into traditional hunting techniques and the effects of national
and international regulations on cultural practices. He will be visiting a Q’eqchi’ village in the tropics
of Guatemala, where he will gather information regarding the traditional and historical ways of
hunting and fishing for subsistence living, and the social and environmental changes in the region.
Samuel Rhodes is a third year Ph.D. student in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs.
His research centers on political communication and behavior relating to voting and elections. He is
interested in televised political advertising, as well as campaign activity on websites and social media.
He is currently engaged in a project on the geotargeting of campaign email in the 2016 presidential
election, the results of which will be presented at the annual conference of the American Political Science
Hans Schmidt is a Ph.D. student in political science, whose research interests focus on the ways in which states cooperate to achieve particular goals. These goals range from improved security to the removal of restrictive trade barriers. His research involves an examination of the factors that perpetuate the disparities in international tax regimes and looks at possible areas of improvement in policy. The Foley Fellowship will enable him to use archival materials from the United Nations relating to negations on tax treaty frameworks. Hans received approval to visit the UN library in Manhattan, and the relevant committee also agreed to grant him special access to documents that would normally be restricted for the next 20 years.