The first-ever Mark Q. Sawyer Summer Institute will bring four undergraduate fellows from Howard University in Washington, D.C., to the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles this June for an immersive six-week academic research program that explores the crucial role of race, ethnicity, and politics in society. The multiyear program seeks to boost the number of undergraduate scholars from historically Black colleges and universities who enroll in and complete advanced degree programs at University of California campuses.
Dr. Sawyer, a professor of political science and African American studies who died in 2017, co-founded the race, ethnicity and politics program in UCLA’s political science department in 2006 and was instrumental in establishing the campus’s department of African American studies in 2015.
Fellows in the program will focus on race and ethnicity as a central category that informs political processes in the United States and will help produce research that spotlights the underrecognized political role played by African American and other communities of color. The scholars will familiarize themselves with empirical research methods through innovative workshops and participate in seminars that explore theories of U.S. racial and ethnic politics, specifically Black politics.
The newly launched summer institute will be led by UCLA’s Lorrie Frasure, an associate professor of political science and African American studies, and Natalie Masuoka, an associate professor of political science and chair of the Asian American studies department. Their Howard counterpart is Niambi Carter, an associate professor of political science and director of graduate studies.
“Our objective is to create an inclusive and supportive environment for students to develop their skills in research methods and design and to encourage participants to see themselves as confident and qualified applicants to an advanced degree program in political science,” said Dr. Frasure, who also serves as vice chair of graduate studies in political science.
Dr. Frasure has taught at UCLA since 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois. She earned a master of public policy degree from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in government and politics from the University of Maryland.