News Archive

Senior Earns Fulbright, Heads to Morocco for Nine-Month Research Project

Denise Sewell plans to study at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

5/9/2008 8:49:01 AM


Denise Sewell '08

Denise Sewell plans to earn her graduate degree in Islamic Civilizations and Urban Policy Planning from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

LYNCHBURG — Denise Sewell, a member of the Class of 2008, will spend nine months in Morocco as a Fulbright Scholar beginning in August.

This is her second research trip to Morocco, but her first as the recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant. Her original research was a part of a four-month study abroad program.

Her Fulbright research will allow her to spend nine months in Morocco studying the effect of housing restoration in the Medinas for tourism purposes and the effect this restoration has on the original residents.

“No one has researched the effect of housing in the Medinas in Morocco, and it needs to be researched,” Sewell said.

Before heading abroad in August, Sewell will complete an internship with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. She’ll spend the summer in D.C. researching and assessing the economies of Sudan, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This internship is part of another honor received in 2006 when Sewell was named a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow by the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program. She was one of just a few nationwide chosen for the award.

The economics and math major plans to earn a Masters concentrating in Islamic Civilizations and Urban Policy Planning from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She will begin graduate school in August 2009 — after finishing her Fulbright research.

“This school gives you the attitude that you can do it all,” she said. “The faculty members are always challenging you to think differently and think through things on a broader level.”

Denise Sewell in Morocco - pictured on far right

Sewell’s real interest lies in housing issues, especially those related to low income and underrepresented people, which she believes transcends our national boundaries.

“No matter where you are, lower income populations are underrepresented, under researched and generally ignored,” Sewell said.

Her honors research at Randolph focused on a low-income development in the city of Lynchburg. She spent a semester helping the Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Foundation study the residents of the College Hill low income housing development and homeowners in the neighborhood. Through statistical research as well as door-to-door surveys and interviews, Sewell was able to study the needs of the neighborhood from a development standpoint.

She used the interviewing skills she learned during her first trip to Morocco to help with the face to face interviewing. And while the situations in Morocco and Lynchburg are different, Sewell was able to see many similarities.

“The residents of both places saw just talking to me as potential for change and representation,” she added. “This was the most rewarding thing for me. I always came back feeling like I was doing something good.”

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations