Alicia Barry (SFS’20) conducts research with Georgetown associate professor of government Diana Kapiszewski (G’94) for a Georgetown database project called States and Institutions of Governance in Latin America (SIGLA). The project aspires to serve as a crucial tool for academics working in the field, as well as policymakers, civil society organizers, business people and others.
Hometown: Revere, Massachusetts
Major: Regional and comparative studies; concentration on Latin America and the Middle East; minor, Arabic
Research: SIGLA, which updates an older database that brought a great deal of attention to Georgetown’s Center for Latin American Studies, will initially feature data on Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, and expand over time to include other Latin American countries. Barry is a research assistant on the Colombia team, with her research thus far focusing on institutions of intelligence, the military, state-owned enterprises, the judicial branch and participatory institutions.
Most influential Courses: Barry cites States, Drugs, and Bugs in Africa with Scott Taylor, professor and director of the African Studies Program, as a favorite course, as well as Latin American Government and Politics with Kapiszewski.
“Professor Taylor challenged us to think critically and break stereotypical patterns of thinking that are all too commonplace in the U.S. concerning the African continent,” she says. “Professor Kapiszewski is among the most knowledgeable and hard-working people I’ve ever met. She taught us to think analytically as well as how to construct viable hypotheses about political theory and trends, and that skill has proven useful time and time again.”
A Professor’s View:
“I very much enjoyed having Alicia in my class and have been absolutely thrilled with her work on SIGLA,” says Kapiszewski. “She is the model research assistant – intelligent, conscientious, committed, careful – a great team player who is also exceptionally effective working independently.”
Why Georgetown: Barry says the Georgetown Scholars Program, which helps low-income, often first-generation college students thrive at the university, was instrumental in helping her decide to attend Georgetown.
“I’m really lucky that GSP has worked to fill the gaps in areas where I, like so many other college students with similar backgrounds, could so easily fall behind compared to our peers from more privileged backgrounds,” she explains.
Campus and Community Activities:
- Blue & Gray tour guide
- Orientation advisor, New Student Orientation
- Lannan Poetry Fellow
- Former member, Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy
Jobs and Internships: Barry works about 30-35 hours a week in addition to her classes and including her research. She’s an intern at The Campaign Workshop, a progressive political consulting firm, and a salesperson at The Gap clothing store.
“I’ve loved my work with The Campaign Workshop and want to continue working to promote progressive policy, candidates, and issues in the United States,” says Barry, who also worked as a student ambassador for Georgetown’s Discovery Initiative. “Though my major is international, it’s become clear during my years at Georgetown that a lot of change is necessary domestically as well.”
Career Goals: The Georgetown senior is interested in immigration policy and law. She studied migration and transnational identity while abroad in Morocco last fall and says the trip helped her “more clearly understand trends of migration both theoretically and as received in the Mediterranean region.” She is considering going to law school to work on immigration policy and advocacy for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
“Living in the Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy was a unique experience, and I was incredibly lucky to get to live there as a sophomore,” Barry says. “The Spirit of Georgetown emphasizes the Jesuit values in general, but also specifically focuses on creating a community of acceptance and care for one another and ourselves.”
Advice for New Students:
“Take advantage of everything that is Georgetown and DC while you can – events, lectures, renowned professors, museums, festivals and so much more. It’s really easy to get caught up in everything you have to do, but it’s just as, if not more important, to take time for things you want to do.”
Favorite Spot on Campus:
“Yates Field House because fitness has always been a really important part of my life and something that helps to keep me centered and manage my stress,” Barry says. “Challenging myself every day with physical activity and being thankful that I’m able to is important for me to keep things balanced.”