IS students win President's Award for research

International studies majors Mikalynn Katlack, left, and Laura Doolin, right, pose with Bradley University President Joanne Glasser at the awards ceremony for the Undergraduate Scholarship Expo.

April 30, 2013

By Rebecca Bartels ‘13

International studies majors Mikalynn Katlack and Laura Doolin took home the Presidential Award for Undergraduate Research from Bradley's Undergraduate Research Expo, an event where students from all five colleges gather to present their research projects.

Katlack and Doolin have been working closely with Associate Professor Dr. Jeanie Bukowski on her current research project about epistemic communities and the role they play in policy making. Dr. Bukowski and her students are researching the special relationship between scientists and politicians, and how scientific information affects and is affected by policy. The trio has been specifically researching the FNCA, the New Water Culture Foundation, a water management organization in the Iberian Peninsula.

Graduating in May, Doolin prepared the theoretical models for the research by creating a sliding continuum to measure collected data. At the top of her spectrum, hard science and politics are separate with no overlap or interaction, and policy makers are left to use and interpret the facts without the aid of the epistemic community. At the bottom, science and politics have a regular interactive relationship where the epistemic community is actively involved in the translation of science into policy, and where politics shape the formation of science as well. Her continuum contains six interval points to measure and compare data.

Doolin explained, “We want to see where the FNCA falls on the continuum, which one of these models does it adheres most to.”

While Doolin has constructed the tools for measuring data, Katlack, a sophomore, has been using her Spanish skills to collect data on the FNCA. She has interviewed several members in the FNCA to determine where they fall within the scientific and political community. Katlack provides important empirical characterizations of the members in the FNCA and their focus as a group, by classifying members and their research as primarily research orientated, advocacy orientated, or a mixture of both.

Doolin will attend the University of Chicago in the fall for a graduate degree in international relations, but will still be involved with Dr. Bukowski's research until its publication. She believes her work with Dr. Bukowski has improved her communication, research and presentation skills.

This summer,Katlack will travel to Spain with Dr. Bukowski on the Bradley OTEFD Grant to conduct further research on the FNCA to gain a better perspective on the inner-workings of the organization. Katlack hopes to work for the State Department one day.