When Jacqueline Heard got into the back of a cab on her way to a local train station near Queen’s University in Great Britain during her semester abroad, she thought it would be just another ride. But it was far from it. It was in that cab that Jacqueline had found inspiration for her senior research topic, multiculturalism in Great Britain.
“During that ride, the taxi driver spent the entire 20 minute-drive explaining the adversity that he and his family faced as Indian immigrants in England,” she says. “That memory has stuck with me ever since and I felt the need to research the situation further.”
So the political science and history double major from Forth Worth, Texas did just that upon her return to Clarkson, spending her final semester deep into multiculturalism, race relations, and the history and politics of immigration in the U.K.
“The United Kingdom is today often lauded for being an exemplary multicultural nation. However, further examination of such a claim reveals that the true nature of Britain’s race relations is much more complicated than this general assertion implies,” she explains.
After a semester of research, Jacqueline wrote her senior thesis, titled “Re-examining the Claim of Multiculturalism in Great Britain.” Her main conclusion was that multiculturalism is an extremely complicated issue – one that is not nearly as resolved as it may seem - and that the future of race relations in the U.K. will be determined by the currently undecided general public, whose opinion in the past few decades has swung wildly.
Her paper also urges that the government and citizens of the U.K. must recognize and address the facts in order to make progress regarding racial relations instead of ignoring them.
Aside from finding an interesting topic for her senior thesis, Jacqueline also enjoyed spending the semester at Queen’s University Bader International Study Centre. She says, “Studying in the U.K. was the most amazing experience. It gave me the opportunity to study another country’s history while exploring that country. I was especially interested in the in-depth study of the U.K.’s political and legal structures, since they were the foundation of those in the U.S.”
That political and legal knowledge will come in handy for Jacqueline next year, when she heads to American University’s Washington College of Law, one of the top 50 law schools in the nation. While there, she will study international law or public administration as specializations.
Jacqueline credits Clarkson’s humanities department for preparing her well for law school. With her two majors, she has also pursued minors in literature and law studies.
“In the past four years, I have really gotten to know my classmates and my professors, which makes the class discussions more interesting and enlightening,” she says. “It’s also a close-knit department where the professors are extremely invested in their students and can help them develop both in and out of the classroom.”