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Taylor Dempsey

Title of Program: Immigration Studies with an Emphasis in Latin America

E-mail Address: tdempse3@vols.utk.edu

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Year: Sophomore

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2022

Description of Program: My program observes and analyzes the cultural and institutional norms associated with immigration. Immigration policy is created in response to a multitude of factors such as: xenophobia, economics, instability in the countries of emigration, and the current political scene of the United States. In order to build an interdisciplinary understanding of the topic and its corresponding policy formation, my program studies the Spanish language and Latin American culture, the political economy and structure of the United States, and the philosophical foundation of social justice. Coupled with internships and community involvement, it aims to cultivate an understanding of the intersectionality of the topic of immigration and a basic foundation in immigration law, policy, and culture.

Departmental Emphases: Political Science, Philosophy, Economics, Hispanic Studies, Sociology, Anthropology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gary Uzonyi – Political Science Department

Plans after graduation (career, graduate/professional school, etc.): After I graduate, I plan to attend law school through a dual degree program in order to pursue both a J.D. and Masters in Public Policy or Latin American Studies. With these degrees and my undergraduate foundation, I hope to practice immigration defense law and eventually work in immigration advocacy as a community organizer and policy advisor.

Other Academic Interests: Social justice topics such as juvenile justice reform, history, and literature

Study Abroad: I will be studying abroad in the fall of 2021 in Oaxaca, Mexico. In order to discover the contemporary realities of international undocumented migration and border enforcement and their immense human impact and political and social tension, I will study in Mexico through the SIT Mexico: Migration, Borders, and Transnational Communities program.

Research Experiences or Internships: As a Research Assistant on Dr. Uzonyi’s research team, I have studied rebel formation, post-conflict justice, and human rights violations during civil wars. In March 2020, I will be presenting that research at the International Studies Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. This past summer, I was also a judicial intern at Shelby County Juvenile Court; I am now looking to intern at an immigration law firm or advocacy center this upcoming summer.

Part-time employment; Hobbies; Campus Clubs/Activities: I teach ESL at Centro Hispano and work as a Student Assistant at the International House. I am also a VOLbreak leader, a member of the Campus Events Board Issues committee, and a KAPi brother. I love to travel, read, and play tennis!


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