CDDRL student receives Stanford award for top thesis

Schickele Logo

Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) is pleased to announce that undergraduate senior honors student, Anna Barrett Schickele, received the Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. This university award is given to the top ten percent of honors theses in social science, science, and engineering.

Schickele's thesis entitled, "One Drop At A Time," examines the factors that inform farmers' decisions to use modern irrigation systems in the Lurín Valley of Peru, where she spent several months conducting fieldwork with a Lima-based NGO. Schickele — a public policy major —was able to collect primary data through interviews with farmers and fieldworkers to inform her research study that includes policy recommendations to the NGO community and government officials.

Anna Schickele (center) with Francis Fukuyama (left) and Larry Diamond (right).

Martin Carnoy, the Vida Jacks Professor of Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, served as Schickele's thesis advisor together with Rosamond L. Naylor, the director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at FSI.

"Ana's thesis is an important contribution to our understanding of the barriers and openings for stimulating agricultural development among subsistence farmers," said Carnoy. "Her original insights make the thesis particularly valuable for those addressing development issues in the world’s poorest regions."

In August, Schickele will begin a research position at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

CDDRL's best thesis award was given to Kabir Sawhney, a management science and engineering major, who wrote his thesis on the effect of regime type and the propensity to default on sovereign debt. Advised by Professor of Political Science Gary Cox, Swahney cited the cases of Romania in the 1980s and more recently of Greece to conclude that the quality of government — rather than regime type alone — determines whether a country chooses to default. 

After graduation. Sawhney will join the consulting firm Accenture as an analyst in their San Francisco office.  

Three honors students' received fellowships from Stanford's Haas Center of Public Service to pursue public service-related work after graduation. Keith Calix and Imani Franklin both received the Tom Ford Fellowship in Philanthropy and will be working in New York for grant-making foundations, and Lina Hidalgo received the Omidyar Network Postgraduate Fellowship to work with an international organization.     

The CDDRL Undergraduate Senior Honors Program is an interdisciplinary honors program led by Francis Fukuyama, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI. The program recruits a diverse group of talented students interested in writing original theses on topics impacting the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law. During the year-long program, students write their thesis in consultation with a CDDRL faculty member, participate in research workshops, and travel to Washington, D.C. for "honors college."

The nine members of the graduating class of 2013 CDDRL undergraduate honors students include:


Keith Calix


International Relations 

Wie is ek? Coloured Identity and Youth Involvement in Gangsterism in Cape Town, South Africa  

Advisor: Prudence Carter

Vincent Chen


Earth Systems; Economics

Democracy and the Environment: An Empirical Analysis and Observations from Taiwan’s Maturing Democracy  

Advisor: Larry Diamond

Holly Fetter


Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity 

From DC to the PRC: Examining the Strategies and Consequences of U.S. Funding for Chinese Civil Society  

Advisor: Jean Oi

Imani Franklin


International Relations

Living in a Barbie World: Skin Bleaching and the Preference for Fair Skin in India, Nigeria, and Thailand  

Advisor: Allyson Hobbs

Mariah Halperin



Religion and the State: Turkey under the AKP 

Advisor: Larry Diamond

Thomas Hendee


Human Biology

The Health of Pacification: A Review of the Pacifying Police Unit program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

Advisors: Beatriz Magaloni & Paul Wise 

Lina Hidalgo


Political Science

Tiananmen or Tahrir? A Comparative Study of Military Intervention Against Popular Protest  

Advisors: Jean Oi & Lisa Blaydes

Kabir Sawhney


Management Science and Engineering

Repayment and Regimes: The Effect of Regime Type on Propensity to Default on Sovereign Debt    

Advisor: Gary Cox

Anna Schickele


 Public Policy

One Drop at a Time: Diffusion of Modern Irrigation Technology in the Lurín Valley, Peru  

Advisors: Martin Carnoy & Roz Naylor