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Four JMC Students, One Alumna Nominated for Prestigious Scholarships

October 19, 2020

Michigan State University has nominated four JMC undergraduate students an alumna for nationally competitive graduate school scholarships: the Marshall Scholarship, the Mitchell Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarships. All of the scholarships support students attending graduate school in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

Anthony Luongo, an international relations and economics major senior and Honors College member, is nominated for the Marshall Scholarship. In addition to his work within James Madison College, Anthony has had a strong focus on research focusing on African politics and democratization. Since the beginning of his sophomore year, he has worked on a project - advised by Dr. Michael Wahman of MSU Political Science - to examine the relationship between trade with China and civil liberties in African countries. Anthony’s honors thesis focuses on the impact of United States democracy assistance on democracy levels in Africa. Anthony is a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow for the MSU African Studies Center, which supports Swahili language and Africa area studies coursework. This fellowship also funded a study abroad in Arusha, Tanzania, where he studied Swahili language and Tanzanian culture. Anthony has previously volunteered in English as a Second Language courses at the Refugee Development Center and interned at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan in Livonia.

Anthony was motivated to apply by his honors thesis advisor. “I was initially encouraged to apply for this scholarship by Dr. Zierler,” he said. “If selected, I would be able to learn from distinguished scholars at two excellent schools, which will be great preparation to pursue a PhD in Political Science after I complete the Marshall.” Anthony hopes to spend a year at the London School of Economics, earning his MSc in Comparative Government, then attend the School of Oriental and African Studies for a MSc in Politics of Africa.

Alexis Sargent is a 2019 social relations and policy and Honors College alumna who is nominated for both the Marshall and the U.S. Rhodes Scholarship. She currently works at the Washington Post as a Communications Coordinator in production and research.  In addition, Alexis is a soprano in the City Choir of Washington DC and serves as a volunteer staffer on the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline. As a student, Alexis interned for the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, the United Nations Population Fund, and the U.S. House of Representatives. She was also a student representative for the Associated Students of Michigan State University, as well as a chair on the James Madison College Student Senate. Alexis was previously a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship and nominated for the Marshall, Mitchell, and Truman Scholarships.

Alexis hopes to pursue a master’s degree in social policy at the University of Oxford, studying gender-based violence prevention and media. “All of these scholarships would be truly incredible opportunities to study in the UK,” she said. “I would be excited to develop relationships with UK social policy scholars, gender-based violence prevention activists, and media leaders, and participate in British and Oxford choirs.”

Katherine Paulot, a senior majoring in comparative cultures and politics, anthropology in the and women’s and gender studies, is nominated for the Mitchell Scholarship. Katie is currently the Senior Research Intern at the Center for Gender in Global Context at MSU where she conducts research on diverse issues relating to gender globally. She is serving her second term as the president of the Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention (SACI) team of students who volunteer for the MSU Center for Survivors. Throughout her academic career at MSU, she has been involved with numerous other organizations including the Prevention, Outreach, and Education department at MSU and Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

Katie is interested in pursuing interdisciplinary gender or advocacy focused master’s programs primarily in the UK/Ireland to study reproductive justice topics through an activist scholar lens. When it came applying to the Mitchell Scholarship, her primary motivation was her desire to make the world a better place and creating positive change. “It is my hope to take my graduate school education back to the community level to advocate for inclusive reproductive rights activism and healthcare,” she said. “One program of utmost interest to me is the MA in Public Advocacy and Activism at the National University of Ireland Galway. This program is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on growing young activists to be change makers through classroom-based learning and hands-on community placement.”

Evan Suttell is an Honors College senior majoring in international relations and comparative cultures and politics nominated for the Mitchell Scholarship. Evan was a 2017 recipient of the Alumni Distinguished Scholarship, covering full tuition and board to MSU. Evan was also a member of the undergraduate 2019 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament, winning first place along with MSU teammates.

Abii-Tah Chungong Bih, an Honors College senior majoring in international relations and comparative cultures and politics, is a finalist for the Global Rhodes Scholarship. Bih is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar from Cameroon. Abii-Tah Chungong Bih is an Honors College senior majoring in international relations, and comparative cultures and politics from James Madison College. She is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar from Cameroon, which is a global program aimed at “developing Africa’s next generation of leaders” who will transform their countries.

Bih is currently the President for the Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU), and serves on MSU’s Homecoming Court. She co-founded Displaced, Not Defeated Peace Project in Kribi, Cameroon, which raised over $11,000 to construct and equip work centers for internally displaced women and released war prisoners. Prior to coming to MSU, she attended the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.

At the University of Oxford, Abii-Tah plans to pursue an MPhil degree in Comparative Governance. Her research focuses on contemporary African politics and participatory governance. Her ultimate goal is to build stronger and more equitable democratic institutions across Africa by creating professional political schools that will educate aspiring politicians from marginalized backgrounds on the continent.