Political Science Student Becomes Minority Fellowship Program Fellow

The Minority Fellowship Program, hosted by the American Political Science Association (APSA), recognizes the research and hard work of political science students from underrepresented backgrounds. It’s a competitive scholarship, and the APSA only honors 12 students each year. UCF student Angie Torres has just become one of those 12.

“I am excited and grateful when I found out,” Torres said. “There were a lot of qualified applicants that applied and I was happy to be named among such hard-working and high-achieving students.”

Torres is an undergraduate student, but she has already spent years pursuing her research. She’s currently interested in the role gender plays in international security, post-conflict resolutions and the political development in Latin America.

“It’s an evolving area and there are not a lot of Hispanic, female international relations scholars working on it right now,” she said.

Torres is pursuing it as part of her Honors in the Major thesis. Last year, she even presented her findings at APSA’s 2017 Annual Meeting.

“It was my first conference and it just so happened to be the biggest conference in political science in the United States,” she said. “I was intimidated. However, thanks to the help from professionals and the other undergraduate students presenting alongside me, I was able to present my work and gain valuable insight. It was a great experience.”

Torres first realized she enjoyed research when she started working as a research assistant for assistant professor Jonathan Powell, Ph.D., discussing experimental methods and analyzing data. Now, it seems natural that Torres is pursuing a research career in political science, but she originally didn’t know she wanted to major in it until she took her first international and global studies class and loved the material.

“My first year and a half at UCF, I was a biomedical sciences major,” she said. “I was not happy and decided I should enjoy my classes instead of dreading them.”

Torres switched her major to international and global studies and then added a minor in global peace and security studies. She was much happier with the change.

“Growing up I was always interested in how things worked, specifically how governments worked, why people went to war, etc.,” she said. “I knew I wanted to work for an international entity or one day teach, but now I get to study the world instead.”

After she graduates this spring, Torres plans to pursue a graduate degree and eventually get her doctorate in political science. She has already been accepted to Cornell, Vanderbilt and Pennsylvania State University, but hasn’t yet decided where she’ll end up. The one thing she knows for sure is her time at UCF has helped shape her education and future.

“My time at UCF has been filled with invaluable experiences, tremendous growth and incredible opportunities,” she said. “The faculty, resources and research programs here have allowed me to achieve more than I could have thought possible.”

Torres has certainly worked hard to make her mark within UCF’s research department.

“When I first came to UCF, I was told that being at one of the nation’s largest undergraduate institutions made me a ‘little fish in a big pond’ and if I could survive here, I could survive anywhere,” she said. “I worked really hard to make that statement true. Being named an APSA Fellow allows me to feel like my hard work has paid off.”

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