Student Research Reaches New, Broader Audiences through CUGS

New Website, Co-authorship with Faculty Put Student Scholarship at the Forefront

Hartford, CT, May 1, 2015 – The Center for Urban and Global Studies is well known in the Trinity community for promoting the first-rate scholarship of both students and faculty. Through Common Hour lectures, student summer research, and other events and mechanisms, CUGS presents research from Hartford and around the world to diverse audiences on campus. But now, students and faculty are finding ways to bring that work to broader audiences across the country and the world.

Through a new student-developed website for CUGS, student scholarship is reaching wider audiences than ever on topics from the racial composition of Hartford to technology-driven development in India.

“This was a great way to feature student research in Hartford and around the world,” said Tom Rice ’17, who developed the new CUGS blog along with fellow student Andrew Housman ’17. “It’s giving CUGS a wider presence and showcasing the ways that students do research.”

Xiangming Chen, Julia Mardeusz '16, Andrew Housman '17, and Tom Rice '17 at the Center for Urban and Global Studies
 Not only does the research extend around the world, but the audience does as well. Taking a look at the blog’s analytics, Rice saw readers coming from China, Italy, and Germany, in addition to Hartford and other cities across the United States. In coming years, he’d like to see video and other digital content featured alongside more traditional student research. 

In the March-April 2015 issue of The European Financial Review, CUGS Director Xiangming Chen and Julia Mardeusz ’16 co-authored “China and Europe: Reconnecting across a New Silk Road.” In the article, they write that economic relations between China and Europe have grown dramatically in recent years. Instead of traditional indicators, they examine factors such as transportation infrastructure, real estate, and tourism to demonstrate the relationship.

Much of the research was conducted while Mardeusz studied abroad in Paris.

“The rise of the Chinese middle class, which has a great deal of purchasing power, and the increasing openness of China to the international community have enabled them to participate in the European economy in various ways,” she said. “Their levels of foreign direct investment in European Union countries have skyrocketed, and Chinese investors have even paid for infrastructural upgrades for some European cities.”

Chen and Mardeusz’s article is indicative of an emerging trend within CUGS, which has invited more than 20 students to participate in various research and writing projects. In recent years, nine students have published 13 journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly essays. High-quality student research has become a hallmark of both CUGS and the Trinity experience. This coming summer, six Trinity students are planning to carry out field research in Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, and Yangon supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation through CUGS.

“These research and publishing opportunities have contributed greatly to the students’ intellectual development, analytical and writing skills, problem-solving capacities, willingness to engage the real-world issues, and collaborative spirit and work habits,” said Chen.

“Coming to Trinity, I never expected that I would be able to be involved in research like that as an undergraduate, let alone having it published,” Mardeusz added. “This experience has been invaluable.”