Anthropology Student Sheds Light on European Crisis

Adam-Kersch-250x244Adam Kersch, second-year master’s student and graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Anthropology, has been named a guest columnist with the Orlando Sentinel. His new article, which was published April 13, was about the migrant crisis taking place in Europe.

Adam published a piece in the Orlando Sentinel in 2014 regarding his preliminary fieldwork analyzing the poor provision of health services to migrants in Italy. This most recent piece is about “how the migrant crisis and recent austerity measures in Europe are increasing tensions within the European Union, threatening the cohesiveness and unity within the organization,” explained Adam.

Associate professor of anthropology at UCF,Joanna Mishtal, Ph.D., believes “he offers a very interesting analysis and important UCF public presence on our most pressing issues of immigration.”

Adam’s master’s research focused on the migrant crisis in Europe. “More specifically, I examined how the state and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide legal and health services to incoming migrants.” He also explored how refugees perceived and accessed these services, as well as their changing goals in Europe. Adam defended his thesis in April and is expected to graduate May 2016.

Below are a few spotlight questions about Adam and his research:

Where were you located while doing your research?

My research was January-July 2015 in Siracusa, Italy on the island of Sicily. I plan to return for 2 weeks this summer and for a few months the next 2-3 summers after I start my Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology at University of California, Davis (UC Davis).

Have you won any awards for your research?

I received a grant from National Geographic Society and have received a fellowship in Comparative Border Studies at UC Davis, as well as the Provost’s Fellowship in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Is there anyone you would like to thank for the success of your research?

I am incredibly grateful to all members of my committee, Ty Matejowsky, Ph.D., J. Marla Toyne, Ph.D., and Vance Geiger, Ph.D., who have been helpful beyond measure in my training as an anthropologist, formulation of my research question, doctoral program applications, and my experience at UCF as a whole. Dr. Joanna Mishtal, my thesis chair and main advisor, in particular is phenomenal, deserving of serious commendation.

What are your future plans?

I will begin my Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology at UC Davis in September 2016. I will continue research in Italy, examining European identity and migrants’ adjustments to life in Europe, as well as NGO service to migrants.

What advice do you have for current and future Anthropology students?

When doing fieldwork, the most important piece of advice is to remember that you will make mistakes. The most useful thing is a good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself. Additionally, it’s important to keep the larger picture in mind. We all have to do things we dislike sometimes to be able to do the things that we love and to try to make a difference in the world.

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