Ayesha Akbar, a junior majoring in government, psychology and Arabic language and culture, has received a 2013 Montgomery Summer Research Fellowship in Law and Social Science from the American Bar Foundation.
She is among four outstanding undergraduate scholars to receive the highly competitive national fellowship, which is designed to introduce promising, diverse students to the rewards and demands of a career in law and social science.
Akbar focuses primarily on South Asia and the Middle East and is interested in researching international law, Islam in politics, poverty, war and corruption. Additionally, she is interested in disability, mental health policy and community activism in those regions.
She is also an Arabic Flagship Scholar and is completing a certificate in human rights and social justice. She was raised primarily in Pakistan and the United States, but spent her high school years in Saudi Arabia. She has been involved in research since her first year at The University of Texas at Austin, working first in psychology labs researching both mental health and management behavior and later researching Islamic family law and reform in the Department of Sociology.
She has been awarded numerous scholarships for her writing and serves as an undergraduate writing TA and as a consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center. This summer she will work with John Hagan, professor of sociology and law at Northwestern University, on his project, “Crime, War and Wealth in Pre- and Post-Invasion Iraq.”
Akbar has been involved with Amnesty International throughout college and currently serves as the president of her university’s chapter. She spent last summer researching constitutional reform at the Lahore University of Management Sciences Department of Law and Policy in Pakistan, and is currently working on a mapping foreign aid in collaboration with AidData and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.