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Global Urban Lab under new leader

By Zhifan Li     9/19/12 7:00pm


Kinder Institute for Urban Research Co-Director Michael Emerson is the new faculty leader for Global Urban Lab, a study abroad program organized by the School of Social Sciences. 

Emerson said the reason for the leadership change is that both the Kinder Institute and Global Urban Lab prepare students for a globalized world. 

"With the support of the School of Social Sciences and the university, the Kinder Institute is developing an Emerging Global Cities Initiative, and Global Urban Lab is an important component of our strategy," Emerson said. "The program allows for research to be conducted by students in world cities and helps develop connections with scholars and officials from key locations around the globe."

Jones College freshman Yuan Chang said she is excited by the collaboration with the Kinder Institute. 

"The new connection with the Kinder Institute is a great chance to learn about urban research and to publish papers," Chang said. 

According to the School of Social Sciences Gateway program website, the program offers an opportunity for students to study abroad by directly taking a course instead of applying for transfer credit. Students who submit the application by Oct. 12 can get the chance to complete an independent research project in London starting Jan. 7 during the spring semester of 2013 or in Istanbul from Feb. 23-March 3 during spring break. There are four project themes: immigration, transportation, urban sports and city culture. Students will finish a 10-page factual white paper about one of the themes. According to Dr. Emerson, the white paper that students complete will become part of the School of Social Sciences and Kinder Institute's paper series, which are paper collections about London and Istanbul. Internships for the London provider, CAPA International Education, are also available during the stay in London. 

According to Associate Dean of the School of Social Sciences Ipek Martinez, students need to take three required courses - POST 350: Global Urban Lab, SOSC 422: Internship Abroad and POST 359: Analyzing and Exploring the Global City: London-Modernity, Empire and Globalization - and choose two electives from a selection of seven, including POST 351: Ethics in Media and POST 352: International Economics. 

Martinez said this year's program will concentrate on the underground transportation system in London and the Olympic bid committee in Istanbul, Turkey. The program for the spring of 2013 will allow more time than in previous years with Rice faculty by expanding three weeks of lecture time to five weeks, Martinez said. 

Jones College senior Angie Bautista-Chavez said the she appreciated the opportunity to go abroad while doing meaningful work with the Global Urban Lab. 

"The Global Urban Lab allowed me to engage in independent research projects that were meaningful to me, as well as live and work in one of the most interesting cities in the world," Bautista-Chavez said. 

McMurtry College senior Satoshi Mizutani said the variety of activities made the trip unforgettable. 

"Whether eating amazing Turkish food, visiting with different city officials, meeting with the Olympic bid committee or being treated as celebrities at a local elementary school, Ms. Ipek Martinez and Dr. Melissa Marschall orchestrated a week that I will always remember as one of the greatest experiences of my life," Mizutani said. 

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