In every discipline, UMD supports undergraduate students who work with a faculty member on research.
Madiha Mirza — College of Liberal Arts
Madiha Mirza, is a senior international studies major and journalism minor at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). She is conducting a Undergraduate Research Opportunity Project (UROP) on the role the bilingual ethnic media plays in the identity construction of the immigrant population in the Twin Cities.
Mirza, an international student from Pakistan, said that the idea for the project came from her own experience. She said that living in a community different from her own changed her worldview significantly. “I want to learn more about how recent immigrants in Minnesota have adapted to their new environment,” she said.
The Twin Cities metropolitan area is home to the largest community of Hmong and Somali immigrants in the U.S. The majority are refugees from war-torn countries. Mirza wants to learn how the different cultural settings have impacted the assimilation of these immigrants. “I was interested in researching about the challenges faced by these groups to maintain their cultural identity, the clash between cultural traditions and American values, problems faced by the youth in schools, home, and community, and their engagement in the political and social affairs in their country of origins,” Mirza said.
“John Hatcher, an assistant professor in the Department of Writing Studies and the recipient of the 2012 CLA Research Award, is my advisor. I feel privileged to work with him,” she said.
Mirza said the UROP, which examines issues of two bilingual news publications and interviews with editors and journalists, allowed her to integrate her academics with her cultural interests. “The project helps us learn more about the cultural, political and cosmopolitan impacts of immigration in the “changing” face of the Twin Cities metropolitan area,” she said. “The project strongly benefits the community.”