The institute, in its 31st year, is an annual, intense five-week summer program held at Duke University. Its purpose is to familiarize undergraduate students from under-represented racial and ethnic groups to doctoral studies in political science while seeking knowledge on issues affecting underrepresented groups.
This year, students will attend from May 28-June 29. The RBSI Scholars will enroll in two courses over the summer session and complete an independent research paper.
Participants are drawn from a competitive national applicant pool. Koli was one of 15 students selected and one of only two from Michigan.
“I think some people underestimate how hard it is to walk into a room and see no one who looks like you or know you are going into a field where you may be the first of your specific background,” Koli said. “Sometimes, we need some reassurance that we can do it, which is exactly what (the institute) does. I recognize how privileged I am to be able to have this experience, and I hope to use it to create a better future.”
Koli, who is from Warren, is majoring in political science at Eastern, with minors in public law and government and Asian studies. She says she places great importance on academic research related to topics about developing countries and the immigrant experience in America.
She is active in student affairs, serving as vice president of the University’s mock trial team, the director of social justice for student government, a political science tutor, and director of special events for college democrats. Koli also ran for Student Body Vice President this past spring, losing in a close and substantive campaign
Koli presented on the topic of religious extremism in developing countries at the 2017 Eastern Michigan University Undergraduate Symposium and is working on a senior thesis on this topic. She plans to pursue that research in her graduate studies in the hopes that she can contribute to the formation of a positive relationship between the U.S. and its international counterparts, as well as advocate for immigration policy reform in the U.S.
“When I first came to EMU, I never thought I would be doing something like this, but my past three years here have shaped me into being someone who wants to create a difference using the power of academia,” Koli says. “I can't wait for this program and I appreciate the support the school has showed me.”
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.