Junior Lavar T. Thomas, of Brooklyn, N.Y., earned a spot in the academically intensive and competitive 2012 Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) at Duke University for five weeks, from June 3-July 4. Thomas is one of 20 students chosen to participate.
The Institute will provide Thomas with two transferable credit courses, one in quantitative analysis and one in race and American politics. It will expose him to the intellectual demands of graduate school coursework and political science research methods. For the final project in both courses, Thomas will be required to prepare original, empirical research papers which—depending on his academic performance—he may be able to present at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting, all expenses paid by the APSA. At the Institute, participants also benefit from interaction with prominent political scientists and Duke University faculty, a special session on Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test-taking strategies by Princeton Review, and a recruitment fair with Ph.D. granting institutions from across the country.
Ravi Perry, assistant professor of political science who also serves as Lavar’s advisor, says Lavar is “an ideal student to participate in the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute.”
“[He] has the necessary drive and ambition to tackle difficult subject matter and regularly engages the material of his courses with a critical lens,” said Perry.
Thomas majors in political science and ethics, with a concentration in public policy. He is the financial chair of the Millennium Leadership Conference, member of FOCUS and the Clark Intramural basketball team. Thomas was also named to the fall 2011 Dean’s List. He is a Kaplan Leadership scholar; a Phi Theta Kappa Scholar.; a Salzburg Global Seminar Scholar, and recipient of the Rachelle Goldsmith College Now Honors Program Award and the New York Leaders of Tomorrow Award.
Thomas is a 2011 graduate of Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. He is the son of Rudolph and Sylvia Thomas of Brooklyn.
The Ralph Bunche Summer Institute began in 1986 and is named in honor of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former APSA President, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche. The Institute is designed to simulate the graduate school experience, provide mentoring, expand academic opportunities, and to address under-representation in the discipline of political science. The institute is co-sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Duke University and the American Political Science Association.