By now, you have probably learned that students who enter the Calvert Award for Undergraduate Research competition, whether or not they win, become better researchers, presenters and critical thinkers as a result of their participation. But have you ever wondered how they do in the “real world” with these skills? We recently caught up with three past Calvert Award winners and learned their experience propelled them toward success in their lives after graduation.
Vanessa Jaramillo-Cano, 2012
“An Examination of the Varying Role of the United Nations in the Civil Wars of Rwanda and El Salvador”
“Human Rights Abuses in 1970s Argentina”
Vanessa Jaramillo-Cano was raised in the Las Vegas valley and was the first in her family to attend college. She graduated in May of 2012 with a Summa Cum Laude distinction from the Honors College and a double major in political science and French from the College of Liberal Arts.
After graduation, she interned for United States Senator Harry Reid in both his Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. offices, focusing on Latino outreach, energy policy, and human rights issues. Jaramillo-Cano also volunteered at the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center. At press time, she was working as a research assistant in UNLV’s Communications Department but will begin graduate school this fall. After being accepted at Boston University, the University of Southern California, Georgetown University, Columbia University, and George Washington University, she decided to attend George Washington University, where she was awarded a $25,000 scholarship.
“In my time as an undergraduate student, I had the distinct pleasure of receiving the Lance and Elena Calvert Undergraduate Research Award on two separate occasions. The financial contribution from each award was used to further my education because it allowed me to fund a study abroad experience in the South of France and helped me with my graduate school application fees. Additionally, receiving the Calvert Award also allowed me to augment my public speaking abilities, and this gave me the confidence to become the 2012 spring graduate commencement speaker,” says Jaramillo-Cano.
She explains that receiving such praise for her academic research endeavors motivated her to seek admission to a prestigious graduate program. “I have been accepted to the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University,” she says. “It is because of the contributions of Lance and Elena Calvert that my education has been so dramatically enriched, and I remain committed to assisting future leaders as Mr. and Mrs. Calvert have assisted me.”
Claire White, 2008
"Commending Religion to All Around Us: Baptist Church, 1780-1850"
Claire White currently serves as the manager of education at the Nantucket Historical Association in Nantucket, Mass., where she creates and facilitates family, youth, and school programming for an historical association and museum that serves about 60,000 visitors a year.
“The award helped me to go to graduate school, both from an experience standpoint as well as financially. It helped me when I wrote my master's thesis. It was an honor having my research recognized as an undergraduate, and it helped me realize very early on how fruitful applying for fellowships can be.”
“My job does involve research. I research history topics to create programs and lesson plans. I do not do as much archival research as I did in school, but it is certainly a skill set that I utilize frequently,” she adds.
Paul Kirsch, 2012
“The Influence of Social Contagion and Technology on Epidemic Non-Suicidal Self-Injury”
Paul Kirsch is currently a UNLV student. He’s finishing up one degree in psychology and working on a second in romance languages and literature studies.
“I've been continuing my research and was able to travel to the American Psychological Association conference to meet with other researchers. I’ve also presented my research at other conferences as well as work in a psychiatric hospital and two psychology labs.
“It wasn't the winning the award part that helped me, but the deadline for sharing my research was a primary motivator. When you care about something (in science this something is often an answer to a question), if or when you find it, you want to share it with the world. The Calvert research that I did for my clinical/abnormal psychology course was certainly a highlight of my undergraduate career.”