Earlhamite appointed to serve on International Political Science Association research committee
September 04, 2018
Caitlin Corrigan-Orosco ’19 was elected this summer to share the American view of migration and citizenship with scholars from around the world through an appointment with the International Political Science Association.
“I’m the youngest board member and the only American,” she says. “From the family detention centers on our border, to the victims of domestic abuse that no longer qualify for asylum status in our country, to the Muslim Ban, it’s crucial for someone from America to be on this committee. It’s a four-year position, and I hope to collaborate with scholars from around the world and encourage others to research migration and citizenship.”
Corrigan-Orosco’s election to the board of an IPSA research committee came during IPSA’s World Congress in July in Australia, where she also presented research from her study abroad experiences in Earlham’s Tibetan Studies program in Dharamsala, India, and an internship at Casa del Tibet in Barcelona, Spain.
“It was extremely intimidating serving on a panel with men that all held doctorate degrees and were 30 to 40 years older than myself,” she says. “I’m grateful for the people I’ve met, their passion to discern hypocrisy and eagerness to promote social justice. While I haven’t met many students who have dedicated their undergraduate career to work on international issues, it was comforting to speak with and learn from scholars from different countries working to support women, refugees and other marginalized groups of people.”
In addition to participating in the IPSA World Congress this summer, Corrigan-Orosco interned at the World Organization Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland.
“From this, I grew a greater awareness to the amount of injustice, inhumanity and hatred there is in the world,” she says. One of her tasks included reading and listening to medical records of torture victims and then writing their stories for the organization’s annual report.
Also as part of the internship, Corrigan-Orosco attended the International Youth and Student Movement of the U.N., where she met with U.N. experts and researchers. She also learned how climate change is affecting human rights when people are displaced by natural disasters and don’t qualify for refugee status, a topic she hopes to continue researching.
“The experience was super-empowering,” she says. “I got to meet amazing change-makers from all around the world. I was able to attend classes at the United Nations and South Center, which is a system similar to the U.N. made up of developing nations. This experience was super interesting and one of the major highlights of my summer.”
Another highlight was “simply being in Geneva.” Corrigan-Orosco applied for 25 internships in Geneva because she wanted to live and work in the city known as the world headquarters for human rights organizations.
“With its mountains, Geneva is the most beautiful city that I’ve ever been to, and everyone you meet on the streets or in coffee shops is working at an organization trying to make a change in the world,” she says. “Just being in that space was inspiring and motivational.”
Corrigan-Orosco is quick to credit Earlham for making opportunities available to her. As a McNair Scholar, a program for first-generation college students seeking entry to graduate school, she was encouraged to take part in multiple research projects. And two campus grants for students attending conferences, one from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and one from the Campus Dean, paid travel costs from Geneva to Australia and back.
“One thing that is really special about Earlham is that we work closely with our professors. Gene Hambrick from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has advised, mentored and supported my academic pursuits since I was a first-year student, and I’m beyond grateful” she says. “Earlham has given me a lot of amazing opportunities.”
For example, she designed her own major in human rights studies.
“It’s an interdisciplinary major combining politics, international studies, economics, management, religion, and PAGS (Peace and Global Studies),” she says. During the summer after her first year at Earlham, she interned at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center looking into environmental law and indigenous rights.
“The two go hand-in-hand, which is the pattern I’ve seen in every internship that I’ve worked in,” she says. In addition to Alaska, India and Spain, she has studied in California and Taiwan and presented project initiatives in Boston and Berkeley. During summer of 2017, Corrigan-Orosco was one of 10 undergraduates out of 400 applicants to participate in the Oxbridge Future Leaders Program at Oxford University.
While Earlham may have helped to make some of these opportunities known to her, a near-death-experience in 2014 when she was 16 caused her to seek and take advantage of her opportunities.
“I had three tick-borne illnesses, and my organs were beginning to shut down,” she says. Early administration of antibiotics saved her life, and the overall experience increased her ambition to help others who are facing hardships. Within a month of being released from the hospital, she was interning on environmentalist Adrienne Esposito’s unsuccessful run for the state senate in Corrigan-Orosco’s home state of New York.
“Since then I haven’t stopped,” she says. “I want to make sure that I live my life to the fullest, and that has become my life motto.”
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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. We rank 7th nationally for Best Classroom Experience, according to The Princeton Review.
Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and email@example.com.