Last month undergraduates Stella Dee and Katie Soltis received highest honors for their ICS distinction projects.
Political Science and ICS double major Soltis received Duke’s 2012 ICS Distinguished Thesis Award for her study of the gun law referendum in Brazil and ICS major Dee received highest honors for her translation of an oral epic from Mali.
Soltis’ "'Biting the Bullet’ and Banning Guns: The Brazilian National Referendum of 2005 and Its Defeat at the Polls,” took her to Brazil to interview locals and experts on the defeat of legislation that would have placed a country-wide ban on guns.
“In addition to focusing on issues already raised in existing scholarly literature, she conducted an original statistical analysis of regional variation, which allowed her to overturn some of the conclusions previously reached by scholars,” said Marcy Litle, Soltis’ faculty supervisor and former director of the ICS Honors Program.
“It has been an enormous pleasure to work with this sharp, inquisitive, and disciplined young woman,” said John French, a history professor and Soltis’ other faculty supervisor.
Soltis said that writing her thesis was an “incredibly rewarding academic experience.”
Dee’s thesis, “’The Thing That God Almighty Put on This Cassette:’ Translating Leadership in Mali,” examined “the role of cultural material in supporting or questioning political authority,” according to Dee.
Her faculty supervisor Bruce Hall, a history professor, called her work “original and sophisticated.” Litle noted that Dee’s thesis “artfully illustrates one facet of the political history of Mali through the lenses of regional radio, oral narrative, and literacy.”
Katie will begin studies at Harvard Law School this fall with a focus on international law. Stella's future plans include a doctoral program in history in pursuit of a career in academia, government or archival work.