Shining the Spotlight on Sam Garst RC Summer Scholar

Sam Garst is a junior at Roanoke College this year. After spending her summer in Salem, working on summer research Sam is beginning to reap the benefits of her hard work. In fact, Sam is preparing to present her research project at the ISA-South conference in Charlotte, NC, in October 2013. However, before Sam could take this step she worked diligently with Dr. O’Keef to examine the patterns of foreign direct investment.

Sam who was prompted to undertake a summer research project wanted the chance to research something on her own terms. Sam indicates,

“Class is great during the semester, but as a student there are specific guidelines you have to follow; not to mention the other classes you are taking, which increase the number of topics to focus on and limit the time you can dedicate to each topic.”

Summer scholars gave her the opportunity to focus on something that she never had the time for before; it allowed her to investment her time into solely one project.

Through her research Sam set out to answer what can governments do to attract more foreign capital at a time when they need it most—especially as they recover from civil conflict. Despite Sam’s background in her public affairs major, Sam was attracted to this topic due to the influx of studies on the effects of globalization on developing countries. Post-conflict countries have the hardest time in the international economy because they are considered high-risk areas. However, these areas are home to people who have suffered through an unimaginable reality and just need help. Sometimes, foreign aid isn’t enough. The only cure to a crippling economy is sustained investment that brings capital and steady economic growth to the country. Sam wanted to explore how a country could attract such capital despite their high-risk environment.

When Sam was asked about the most enjoyable aspect of the summer scholars program she remarked,

“The most important thing that I have learned is that it is an ongoing journey. Research never stops if you stay interested in your topic. One thing leads to another and you find yourself delving deeper and deeper into more things that interest you. What was even better, was being surrounded by a diverse yet like-minded set of individuals”. Sam encourages other students to pursue a Sumer Scholars project, not only for the research skills that one will gain from undertaking a project but also for the invaluable learning experience the program provides.”

Sam noted that not one Summer Scholar project was the same, which inspired students in the program to educate themselves on others projects.  For Sam, this project will lead the way to further research in her Public Affairs major. By identifying a topic that she was truly passionate about, Sam found that some of the conclusions of her paper, could stimulate further research. Previously Sam’s research for classes, focused on a case study approach. However Summer Scholars allowed her to make generalizations that could be supported in the broader scheme of International Relations theory, an experience that is truly invaluable for a student of Public Affairs.