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UCEAP Student Receives the Forum Undergraduate Research Award
DATE: 3/29/2012

Award highlights independent research being conducted by UC students on study abroad programs in diverse fields across the world.

Santa Barbara, CA – UC San Diego student Richard Hong, a participant in the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) fall 2010 Mexico Field Research Program, was one of the two national winners of the Forum on Education Abroad’s Undergraduate Research Award. On March 23, 2012, Richard presented his work on Central American migrants at the plenary lunch during the Forum’s Eighth Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.

The Forum on Education Abroad is the principal Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of international education. Its Undergraduate Research Award is an honor that showcases the most rigorous and significant undergraduate research that occurs as part of study abroad programs. Richard won the prestigious award for his project titled “Upon Greater Security, Greater Vulnerability: How the Growing Presence of Border Enforcement in Mexico has Affected the Flow of Central American Migrants.”

The research for his project was part of the UCEAP Field Research Program in which students prepare at the UCEAP Study Center in Mexico City and then work one-on-one with a Mexican professor at one of several sites. Richard was based in San Cristóbal de las Casas under the mentorship of Prof. Gracia Imbertón of the Autonomous University of Chiapas and Study Center Director Max Parra (UCSD, Literature). He commuted to border towns to carry out an ethnographic survey he designed to interview undocumented Central American migrants. He also interned with the Consulate General of the Republic of El Salvador, where he was in charge of tabulating, analyzing, and logging over 230 interviews with Salvadorian child-migrants.

“The initiative, independence, and critical thinking skills that resulted in this award are exactly the qualities study abroad tends to foster,” said UCEAP Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director Jean-Xavier Guinard. “Richard’s work also brings well-deserved visibility to the original research being conducted by UCEAP students in diverse fields all over the world.”

Richard thanked UCEAP for offering such an engaging program and UCSD for their support, adding that “the UCEAP Field Research Program is a unique opportunity for undergraduates who are hoping to expand their UC degrees through active engagement in on-site research.”

UCEAP offers its own annual undergraduate research awards to select nominees to the Forum’s national competition. Applications for 2012 are due on May 4; additional information is available on the UCEAP Undergraduate Research Awards web page.

 The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) 
Through international academic experiences, the University of California Education Abroad Program inspires students to explore and transform their lives, UC and the world. UCEAP is the only study abroad provider representing the entire University of California system. Its partner universities span more than 40 countries worldwide, and its UC-approved programs are fully integrated to offer UC credit, grades and financial aid.