Three UMKC Students Win Grants to Study Abroad

Tyler Center for Global Studies funds student research projects in Argentina, Iceland and Jordan
Mya Thomas selfie taken inside lava tube at Diamond Craters, Oregon

Three UMKC undergraduate students have received $2,000 grants from the Tyler Center for Global Studies to fund research projects in foreign countries.

Yasmeen Hanon will study international issues such as Arab-Israeli relations, regional conflicts, politics, international relations, environment and more in Amman, Jordan. Maximus Reeds will research media bias involving news coverage of the indigenous Mapuche people in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Mya Thomas will work on creating a safer and more accurate modeling system for volcanic lava tubes at the Askja volcano in Iceland.

They are the first UMKC students to receive research funding from the Tyler Center, which works to advance global education through funding organizations and programs that support international education, innovation and research, with priority given to Pell-eligible students.

Maximus Reeds, Argentina

Reeds, of Lee’s Summit, launched his project in the capstone seminar program in the UMKC Department of History. His ethnic background is Welsh-Argentine, and he has been following the struggles of the Mapuche people in Chile and Argentina and the Welsh people in the United Kingdom for several years.

In his preliminary research, he found significant differences in media coverage of these issues between media outlets with a nationwide audience, and those primarily serving local communities. In Argentina and Chile, he said, the national media tend to portray these issues through the lens of their individual political leanings. He also noted that violent interactions dominate coverage.

“These interpretations disregard the daily, peaceful interactions between Mapuches and Argentine and Chilean citizens, which is the focus of local newspapers.”

Mya Thomas, Iceland

Thomas is from Columbia, Missouri and is majoring in earth and environmental science with an emphasis in geology; she is also enrolled in the UMKC Honors Program and is pursuing a minor in astronomy and a certificate in geographic information systems. She will be traveling to Iceland with her research mentor, Prof. Alison Graettinger.

The basis for her research is that volcanoes are dangerous places, and not just when they erupt. Scientists often have to navigate dangerous terrain, including caves and lava collapse features, lava tubes and holes. Thomas is working on a method to create accurate digital models of features such as lava tubes.

“Understanding the nature of lava tubes is important to my academic path because my interest falls in planetary science,” Thomas said. “Studying cave environments is important to planetary science since they may be considered as living quarters for astronauts on extraterrestrial lands.”

Yasmeen Hanon, Jordan

Hanon recently received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for her research project in Jordan. Hanon, from Kansas City, will spend this summer at CIEE in Amman, Jordan, conducting an analysis of how western and Middle Eastern media outlets perceive and portray conflicts in the Middle East. She is pursuing a double major in political science and environmental science, with an international studies minor.

Top Stories