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Global studies student explores the world


Emily Gough, recipient of the Barrett Global Explorers Grant.

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April 29, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Global studies majors focus on the globalized world and traveling to learn about the problems we face. Emily Gough is a senior at ASU studying global studies and women and gender studies; thanks to the Barrett Global Explorers Grant, Gough was recently able to conduct research across three different countries.

After completing a capstone project in high school on postcolonial literature, Gough gained an interest in indigenous theory. Wanting to continue her research on indigenous rights, Gough focused on Australia and its indigenous population for study abroad.

“I found and applied to this club called Walama Muru that centered on promoting reconciliation between nonindigenous and indigenous people in Australia,” said Gough when recalling making the most of her time studying abroad.

This experience cemented Gough’s desire to continue working with indigenous rights, leading her to apply to the Barrett Global Explorers Grant.

The application process for this grant is, as Gough called it, “arduous.” It includes writing a five-page proposal explaining the topic; if the applicant makes it to the final round of five applicants, they must submit a 10-page proposal and interview with a panel of ASU faculty.

Gough utilized her connections with the Centre for Indigenous Programs in Australia for advice and to gain connections with the indigenous populations in each of the countries she outlined in her final proposal. When she heard she had earned the grant, Gough felt elated.

“This is an issue I feel extremely passionate about and hope to continue working on after I graduate, so to be able to get this award really meant the world to me,” said Gough.

After receiving her grant, Gough traveled to Canada, Norway and New Zealand. As this trip meant traveling around the world alone, Gough had to manage travel, lodging, and meetings with experts on her topic.

“I also had to overcome some of my own fears and stresses regarding reaching out to people and asking for help,” explained Gough. “For me, just calling and emailing people that I had never met before to explain what I was doing and ask if they would mind me interviewing them was definitely quite stressful.”

Gough has some advice for those who are planning to apply for this grant: plan ahead: “Planning is key. The more research you have done and the more contacts you have in these places, the easier your life will be both in competing for the award and when you actually get abroad.”

After graduation, Gough plans on attending law school. She hopes to earn her JD with a concentration in indigenous rights. As she studies for the Law School Admissions Test, she’ll also be working as an au pair in Italy.

Reflecting on her journey, Gough had one last thing to say: “It was stunning and something that I do not think I will ever get to experience again, so to have that opportunity is unforgettable.”

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