Meet Ursula

Ursula Simmons (Political Science)
New York City Field Studies
Project: “Origins of Conflict Among Refugee Populations in Host Countries”

My time in New York City with the New York City Field Studies program gave me the experience of a lifetime! Throughout my junior and senior years at Pitt, I have been working on a research project studying the effect of domestic policies on refugees in host states. I am curious to find if domestic policies—such as the rights to work, own shelter, vote, receive an education, and other factors—contribute to civil conflict between refugees and their host states.

I applied to the New York City Field Studies program because the New York Public Library and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are two outstanding sources for me to continue my research. Through this Pitt program, I was able to work with both sources. The support I had from the University to work on my research project allowed me to interview a UNHCR policy officer. The New York Public Library offered me documents that their libraries exclusively held. With both sources I was able to find information that I did not have access to in Pittsburgh.

Not only did the New York City Field Studies Program support me academically, but I also left New York feeling accomplished for carrying out an extensive research project in one of the most world-renowned international organizations. My career goal is to work for the United Nations in pursuit of solving and preventing international conflicts. Without this program, I would not have been given the chance to move one step closer in fulfilling a dream of mine.