Rochester grad recipient of Rotary Global Grant Scholarship

July 23, 2014
Jordan Shapiro ’14

Jordan Shapiro ’14

This fall, University of Rochester alumna and Bennington, Vt., native Jordan Shapiro ’14 will continue her study of international relations through the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship. The first Rochester graduate to earn this scholarship, Shapiro will use the grant to pursue a master’s degree at Aberystwyth University in Wales.

For Shapiro, the grant provides the opportunity to return to Wales. In 2011, she became the first Rochester student to be selected as a US-UK Fulbright Summer Institute participant. Through the program, she spent six weeks in Wales, visiting Cardiff University, Bangor University, and Aberystwyth, studying the culture, history, economy, and language of the country. During her trip, she met with faculty members in Aberystwyth’s highly regarded international relations department. It was this first experience learning about Wales on the socio-political stage that sparked Shapiro’s interest in the field of study. “I’m very interested in how the UK nations’ system of government can be a model for other countries,” she explained, noting that her research interests coincided with the Rotary Global Grant’s focus on peace and conflict resolution. “The UK system allows for the representation of everyone’s will, and I plan to study how this system can be applied to countries embroiled in separatist conflict.”

As an international relations and history major, much of Shapiro’s undergraduate career was spent immersed in humanities research. She was hired as a freshman to work in Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation at Rush Rhees Library. There, she actively participated in the digitization of two large collections, the Post Papers and the Seward Family Papers. This work shaped several research papers, including her senior thesis, which explored four decades of Frances Seward’s personal correspondence. She also curated several exhibits that featured the Seward collection.

She will use this experience with primary research as she pursues her master’s thesis, which will analyze aspects of the 1998 Devolution Referendum. Shapiro plans to use primary documents housed in the National Libraries of Wales to aid in her research.

Shapiro also developed an impressive international relations resume through study abroad trips and civic engagement while at Rochester. Through a scholarship from the University’s Department of Modern Languages & Cultures, she studied Russian during the summer of 2013. She also spent the spring 2013 semester pursuing research on the immigration population of Denmark during a study abroad trip.

Civic engagement has also defined Shapiro’s time at Rochester. She participated in the Urban Fellows program in summer 2012, working with a local nonprofit that connects City of Rochester residents to nature. As a fellow, she also coordinated summer camps for children and community garden efforts in local neighborhoods. The experience taught her a great deal about community organization. “I found programs were most successful when organizers worked directly with the neighborhoods,” she said. “I truly believe that when people are given the tools to advocate for themselves, change can happen.”

While in Wales, Shapiro’s passion for civic engagement will translate into a position at Penglais School, teaching a seminar on elections, voting, and political advocacy to high school students during the winter semester. “I’m excited to work with Penglais, as encouraging political advocacy in young people helps them not only feel confident in their ability to make a difference, but creates the active citizenship essential to democracy,” she said.

According to the Rotary Foundation, Global Grants “support large international activities with sustainable, measurable outcomes … grant sponsors form international partnerships that respond to real community needs.” The Rotary Foundation has a long history of awarding scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies. Since 1947, more than $532 million has been awarded to 41,000 men and women.

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