By Sydney Sanders

The SPIA classes I’ve taken over the past three years have all ignited different interests in me. I came to realize that these seemingly unrelated topics could all be converged under the idea of “human rights.” SPIA has a wide array of ways to get involved in the human rights world. The Center for the Study of Global Issues (GLOBIS) is a great place to get started if you are interested.

My personal journey with human rights started my junior year, when I joined the GLOBIS Human Rights Research Lab with Dr. K Chad Clay. This lab is an amazing opportunity to not only learn about human rights, but actively participate in human rights research going on around the world. In this lab, I’ve assisted with research for projects and organizations like the Sub-National Analysis of Repression Project (SNARP) and the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), which has a base of operations at GLOBIS. This has given me the opportunity to play an active role in human rights research, while also having the instruction and support to conduct my own human rights research. This is a unique opportunity that allows you to explore your own interest within human rights.

At the same time I began my work in the lab, I was also starting an internship at the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) through the Experiential Learning Internship Program. Through this, SPIA was able to connect me with HRMI, where I have been able to substantially increase my knowledge and interaction with human rights. During my internship, I have learned not only about human rights and HRMI as an organization, but I have gained invaluable skills that will undoubtedly help me in the future. I have participated in qualitative data coding, website editing, article/social media writing, communicating with human rights experts, UN Special Rapporteurs, and more. One of the most interesting aspects of this internship is seeing how a global human rights organization functions when its team members live all around the world. This experience has given me insight into what my future could look like in a global nonprofit organization, and has helped me shape my goals in the human rights world.

Aside from these opportunities, SPIA is constantly expanding their involvement in human rights. SPIA now offers a minor in International Human Rights and Security, which is another great way to tailor your educational experience to your interests. This new program is structured to give you a widespread understanding of human rights, as well as hands-on research through the GLOBIS Human Rights Lab, faculty-mentored research, a human rights internship, or more. Many SPIA faculty members have a wealth of knowledge about human rights, so if you have an interest in this field, I recommend that you take advantage of the amazing opportunities available here.