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Laidlaw Faculty Projects

You will spend your first summer as a Laidlaw Scholar working on an internationally-focused research project—one that you have proposed or selected from our list of projects. Every Laidlaw Scholar must work closely with an academic supervisor or an experienced research team. 

Available faculty projects are organized by topic below; however, students are not limited to working with these faculty. If you are interested in working with any of the faculty or projects below, contact the faculty member directly. 

Keep an eye on this list as we continue to add more projects! 

Faculty who are interested in working with undergraduate research assistants on their internationally-focused projects should complete our faculty project form, or email our Laidlaw coordinator

Asian Studies

Chiara Formichi

Project: Towards Healthy Progress: Body, Soul, and Nation in Indonesia

Professor Formichi is reading archival materials and comparative scholarly literature to explore the tension between Western and indigenous ideas about healthy practices. Examining women’s writing about nutrition, family health, and home economics will shed light on women’s political participation and the buried connections between women’s domestic work and the sociopolitical project of building a modern Indonesia. 

Student requirements: You will need to be familiar with aspects of Asian cultures, religions, and histories. Your work would include exploring relevant scholarly literature and archival research. Likely majors and minors include pre-health, Asian studies, history, and feminist studies. 

Jane-Marie Law

Project: Small Religious Communities Working on Strategies of Resilience

Professor Law's project will take place in two parts: first, a summer in central NY and second, a summer in Japan. During your first summer, you would work in central New York, learning how small-scale religious communities engage in activities promoting sustainable solutions to stresses on local food systems and ecologies. These activities include gardening, soil conversation, creative reuse of waste stream materials, reforesting, pollinator habitat creation, and other physically demanding activities. 

You will also learn to take oral histories and engage with community leaders and organizers to understand how religious paradigms are employed to frame ecologically relevant actions. Using these skills, you would work in the Kansai region of Japan to continue this work. 

Student requirements: You will need a basic level of fitness, interest in ecologically sustainable practices, and an ability to interact with people from faith-based traditions. Preference will be given to students with a strong interest in religious studies and/or environmental sustainability. Knowledge of Japanese is preferred.

Business and Economics

Christopher Barrett

Project: Do No Harm: The Welfare Effects of Behavioral Index Insurance Interventions in Ethiopia

Building upon Barrett's work on index-based livestock insurance for pastoralists in East Africa, this project seeks to structure "do no harm" insurance contracts for livestock herders in southern Ethiopia. Circumstances permitting, this project will be collecting new household survey and field experimental data in Ethiopia, in collaboration with multiple partners. 

Project: Identifying the Rangeland Health Impacts of Index-Based Livestock Insurance

This project uses remotely sensed and administrative data to estimate the impacts of index-based livestock insurance on environmental conditions in the rangelands of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia.

Project: Using Big Data and Machine Learning to Predict Poverty and Malnutrition

This project uses remotely-sensed and crowd-sourced data, along with machine-learning methods, to try to improve humanitarian agencies’ capacity to predict poverty and undernutrition in low-income regions.

Student requirements: You will need to be familiar with machine-learning methods, in addition to R and/or Python. 

Lourdes Casanova

Research Internship with the Emerging Markets Institute

Cornell’s Emerging Markets Institute provides thought leadership on the role of emerging markets and emerging market multinationals in the global economy. As a research intern for the Emerging Markets Institute, you will be part of the EMI research team to assist in the creation of EMI’s annual report. This will build your familiarity with widely used databases, including CapitalIQ, Bloomberg, and Orbis, develop your skills in understanding key trends and policy issues in emerging market countries, and refine your business writing.

Gender Studies

Sherna Alexander Benjamin

Project: Quantifying the Cost of Violence against Women in Trinidad and Tobago

This study aims to identify and quantify the cost of violence against women in Trinidad and Tobago and the impact of COVID-19 on this population. It is collaborative and interdisciplinary with a specific focus on Black women in rural communities and the impact of COVID-19 on increased violence. Research findings can guide culturally specific prevention programs, public policy, victim services, programs, and support; violence against women would be quantified for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago's history.

Student requirements: You should be an excellent writer, possess analytical and communicative skills, and be familiar with aspects of Caribbean culture, issues surrounding interpersonal violence against women, and COVID-19.

Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR)

Matthew Saleh

Project: Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Barbados

Saleh is working on multiple projects related to topics like global comparative disability policy, disability law, and disability and employment policy. In fall 2021, he will conduct a mini-term abroad in Barbados for his research and bring along a student research assistant during fall break. The research will focus on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Barbados, and the policy measures in place to ensure Employment First and community participation measures within the country. The research focus is exploratory and qualitative, followed by a comparative analysis of disability policy regionally in the Caribbean and globally.

Student requirements: Ideally, you will be interested in law (e.g., pre-law or law and society minor). Some training in qualitative methods is a plus, but not necessarily required.


Kathryn Fiorella

Project: Managing Hazardous Algal Blooms in Kenya's Lake Victoria Fisheries

Fiorella's project is collaborative and interdisciplinary, studying harmful algal blooms in Kenya. Students have the opportunity to contribute a dimension of the project that best matches their qualifications:

  1. Natural sciences, with work in fish sampling and GIS data analysis (GIS or statistical analysis skills would be an asset)
  2. Social sciences, with work in household surveying, food security data analysis, or nutritional analysis

Student requirements: Excellent writing and analytic skills are required. You should be communicative, have a high level of cultural competency, and be excited to contribute to an interdisciplinary project.