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Meet Northwestern's two Carnegie Junior Fellows

Image if Gustavo Berrizbeitia and Alli Divine.Gustavo Berrizbeitia (’17) and Alli Divine (’16) will spend next year at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., as research assistants through the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program. Each year, the endowment offers 10-15 fellowships nationally to graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past academic year. They are selected from a pool of nominees from close to 400 participating colleges. Carnegie Junior Fellows work as research assistants to the endowment’s senior associates.

Gustavo is completing his bachelor’s degree this June with majors in political science and philosophy and a minor in critical theory. He has pursued a rigorous research program in both major disciplines, culminating presently in two departmental honors theses. His political science thesis investigates how the “Fight for $15” minimum-wage movement accomplished its goals in California and New York by taking advantage of high public opinion, amenable political elites, and direct democracy. His philosophy thesis shows how activist movements using disruptive tactics and direct action like Black Lives Matter are inherently democratic and deliberative, despite what commentators may claim.

These two honors theses reflect the latest stage in what has been recognized as a stellar undergraduate career in research. At the end of his sophomore year, Gustavo was selected to be a fellow in the national Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, awarded to promising academics from backgrounds underrepresented in the professoriate. As a sophomore, he conducted a content analysis of the debates held in the 2011 Texas state legislature on whether to adopt voter ID laws, concluding that Texas legislators’ party affiliation corroborated whether they brought up race in discussion. As a junior, Gustavo presented his research on the development of contemporary oligarchy in the United States at the International Association of Political Science Students conference, in Berlin. In the long term, he seeks to advance the intellectual project of democracy by deepening the knowledge of the processes that can potentially erode it around the world, and by providing policy answers to thwart this erosion.

Outside of research, Gus has been involved in Northwestern University’s student theater program, serving for four years on Lovers & Madmen, a student theater company specializing in classic and classically inspired works. He is also the current president of the Undergraduate Critical Theory Workshop, a philosophical and critical discussion group. Gus’ family originates from Venezuela and now lives in Concord, Massachusetts.

Alli holds a bachelor’s degree with majors in political science and international studies and a focus on the Middle East. Her extensive research experience as an undergraduate focused on the Middle East and the Syrian Civil War. As a research assistant to Professor Wendy Pearlman, Alli transcribed interviews in Arabic and English of Syrian refugees and analyzed counterterrorism and deterrence policies of Middle Eastern countries. This work supported multiple academic papers and, most recently, an oral history of the Syrian people.

Alli’s personal research focuses on the role of religion in state and non-state actors’ policies, the role of minorities as targets of state policies, and terrorism. Her honors thesis in political science analyzed the impact of foreign interventions on non- state actor alliance formation in the current Syrian conflict.

Alli is currently working as a special assistant in the Office of the Dean on the Doha campus. Long term, she plans to work in public service to support the US government’s efforts to protect civil society and civil rights overseas and at home. She is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. Alli was placed in a new program at Carnegie called Geoeconomics and Strategy.

Contact Amy Kehoe in the Northwestern Office of Fellowships for additional information about the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program and for application materials.