On April 7, Russian and International Studies major Austen Dowell ’17 presented his original research at the annual University of Pittsburgh Undergraduate Research Symposium. Austen’s presentation, titled “Cultural Education Trends in Kyrgyzstan,” addressed issues of Kyrgyz identity and state-building in modern Kyrgyzstan through the lens of the education system. He was especially interested in how people decide what it means to be Kyrgyz and how shifting trends in the way culture and history are taught impact this process. Austen spend three semesters abroad (two in Moscow and one in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) and was a finalist (alternate awardee) for a Fulbright Fellowship to Kyrgyzstan.
“I had a really great time; it was a really humbling and yet empowering experience to be around so many experts and up-and-coming academics in my chosen field of study. The University of Pittsburgh was a great host, and I felt that having the chance to present research in front of audiences allowed me to receive some great feedback and ultimately help make me a better speaker and researcher. It was pretty neat to bring something unique to the table, and then simultaneously hear about other students’ fascinating research.” –Austen Dowell ‘17