BA ES alumna wins CES 2018 Undergraduate Project Prize

Evelin Rizzo, alumna of the BA European Studies, has been awarded the CES’s 2018 Undergraduate Project Prize by the Council for European Studies. Evelin received the prize for an essay based on her bachelor thesis, which analyses the impact of air pollution on the interest of international students to migrate to the European Union. The CES Undergraduate Project Prize recognizes talented undergraduate students in the field of European Studies.

Her essay “Assessing the Impact of Air Pollution on Students Interest in Migration to the European Union: A Study on Students at the University of Macau”, based on her bachelor thesis supervised by prof. Maarten Vink, analyses the impact of air pollution on the interest of international students to migrate to the European Union. The relation between environmental pollution and international migration is subject to a controversy between so-called “minimalists” and “maximalists”, who consider environmental factors as, respectively, one of several push and pull factors or, by contrast, a main determinant of international migration.

The paper builds on original survey data (N=350) collected among students of the University of Macau and the quantitative design includes bivariate correlation analyses and a multivariate regression analysis. The main findings show that while having experienced air pollution is associated with students’ interest in migration to the EU countries, other factors such as education and family networks play a more significant role. Hence, these findings provide empirical support to the “minimalist” side of the on-going debate between “minimalists” and “maximalists”.

According to her supervisor, prof Vink, Evelin’s paper merits the European Studies Undergraduate Project Prize for its original focus on an increasingly important migration flow between Asia and the European Union, its interdisciplinary approach and the original data collected in an online survey by the student drawing on her contacts from a semester abroad in Macau at UMAC University. “All in all, Evelin’s paper fully deserved to win the European Studies Undergraduate Project Prize because of its ability to contribute to ongoing academic debates and societal questions and by doing so in a theoretically sophisticated and empirically original and ambitious manner”, says prof. Vink.

The Council for European Studies (CES) is a prominent and longstanding network in the field of European Studies bringing together, especially, scholars from North America and Europe. Maastricht University is an institutional member of the Council for European Studies. The CES Undergraduate Project Prize recognizes talented undergraduate students who have conducted original research in the field of European Studies. The prize is awarded to the best research paper written in English on any subject in European Studies as part of an undergraduate university degree program. Two Undergraduate Project Prizes are awarded in 2018.

The award for the 2018 Undergraduate Project Prize winner includes a check for $500, along with public recognition in CES’ European Studies Newsletter, and on CES’ social media sites.

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