BYU Law Student Goes to Thailand for Boren Fellowship Award
BYU law student Spencer Humiston was getting ready to spend his summer preparing for the Bar Exam; that was until he received news that he would spend the next six months in Thailand as a recipient of the Boren Fellowship Award for International Study.
“I had grown really nervous about what I was going to do after graduation, but confident that something would work out for me,” Humiston said. “I was actually belaying my friend, who was climbing, when I got the email. I usually would never check my email on my phone while belaying, but I looked down and kind of yelled with excitement.”
Boren Fellowships provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions.The Fellowships also support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests. Humiston, who served a two-year LDS mission in Thailand and is fluent in Thai and several regional dialects, will be researching the political conflict between Thailand’s two major parties.
Since riots broke out in Bangkok in early 2010, Thai politics have been incredibly tumultuous. While in Thailand, Humiston plans to spend the first three months of his fellowship researching the class divides and political culture of Bangkok which has led many middle class, urban Thais to align with the political party commonly referred to as the “yellow shirts.” He hopes to interview political scientists, prominent political figures, and a number of everyday, middle-class Thais on this political issue and its impact on the future. Humiston will spend the last three months of the fellowship in a more rural, agrarian area where he will work with individuals who support the opposing political party commonly referred to as “red shirts.” Through in-depth interviews and independent research, he hopes to discover what has driven the movement and what the future holds. At the end of his experience, Humiston will compile a final report on his findings from both classes and discuss his prediction of Thailand’s political future and what impact this situation has on the United States.
“I hope that the experience will strengthen my Thai language skills as well as allow me to research a topic that I find incredibly interesting and equally pertinent,” Humiston said. “Personally, I believe the conflict between these two parties will define US and Thai relations in the coming decade.”
Humiston is also planning on leaving his wife, Brecken (3L) and 17 month old daughter until August when they can join him for the duration of his fellowship. Once Humiston returns from Thailand, he plans to study intently for the Bar while Brecken finishes law school. In the future, the Humistons plan to take their family abroad and seek careers in both law and a branch of the federal government dealing with national security.
Posted:June 06, 2012