SIT alumnus receives research prize at Notre Dame conference

SIT alumnus Ernest Tan, who conducted research on land use during an SIT Study Abroad semester in Kenya, has been awarded the Rev. Ernest J. Bartell, CSC, Prize for Undergraduate Research on Poverty and Development. He received the award at the Notre Dame Human Development Conference last weekend.

Tan presented his research, “Living off the Land: Sand Mining, Property Rights, and the Preferential Option for the Poor in Kenya,” at the annual student-led conference at the University of Notre Dame. Sponsored by Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the conference draws students from around the world to share their multidisciplinary development-focused research.

Tan is one of two recipients of the $1,000 prize, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate research on poverty and development. One prize goes to a University of Notre Dame student and the other to a student from another institution.

Tan, of Singapore, is an urban studies major at Yale-NUS College, where he is scheduled to complete his BA in May 2019. He studied abroad in spring 2018 on SIT Kenya: Global Health and Human Rights. Independent research is central to SIT’s immersive, semester-long programs. SIT research projects require original fieldwork, a final presentation, and a formal paper. Tan is one of 12 SIT students who presented their research at the Notre Dame conference and one of nine students who received competitive grants from School for International Training to attend the conference.

“Conducting research on land-use changes in a village on the outskirts of a Kenyan city was an important learning experience for me,” said Tan. “I saw firsthand how cities are dependent on resources, like sand and crops, that primarily come from rural places. This challenged me to think about how urban and rural development can occur hand in hand as mutually beneficial processes.”

The award is named for the Rev. Ernest J. Bartell, CSC, emeritus professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, who served as founding executive director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies in 1982. A scholar of development economics ordained as a priest in 1961, Fr. Bartell concentrated principally on the relationship of Catholic social teaching to economics and the economics of education.

SIT Study Abroad is an accredited study abroad provider offering semester and summer programs for undergraduate students. Each year, SIT sends more than 2,000 students from more than 250 colleges and universities on programs in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as comparative programs on multiple continents.