UCF Opens Global Opportunities, Inspires Undergrad to Pursue Doctorate

As the daughter of two immigrants from Guatemala and Venezuela, Carla Garcia has always been passionate about understanding perspectives different from her own. It’s what inspired her to pursue political science at UCF, and it’s the reason she was recently chosen by the American Political Science Association for the Minority Fellowship.

The fellowship awarded to Garcia supports underrepresented students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in political science through a $4,000 scholarship and assistance with graduate school applications. That will sustain Garcia’s continued research in political science where she aims to study the impact of various economic factors on global political outcomes.

“I initially struggled trying to find a career path that blends my two majors, political science and economics, together,” said Garcia.

UCF gave Garcia the tools needed to explore her field with confidence. Exposure to a multifaceted career in international affairs during a summer spent in D.C. and the opportunity to work in an undergraduate research lab at Michigan State University is what Garcia points to as her inspiration to pursue her Ph.D.

“During my time in D.C. I was exposed to a number of different jobs in the field of international affairs which gave me a greater understanding of my field,” said Garcia. “The chance I had to participate in undergraduate research reaffirmed that I want to be able to apply my knowledge to research level thinking.”

Garcia is highly involved with the University of Central Florida and continues to make the most of the time she has left as an undergraduate. Her involvement with the McNair Scholars Program as well as her vice presidency in the UCF International Relations Club has pushed her to seek out opportunities that she never thought possible.

“I didn’t even think this was something I could qualify for. The McNair Scholars Program on campus really encouraged me to seek out various opportunities including this fellowship, and I cannot emphasize enough that it was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Garcia.



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