Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

Past Clark Scholars

markwernerMark Werner

Mark Werner, a senior, is double-majoring in Government and Economics in the College of Liberal Arts. Mark grew up in Prosper, Texas just north of Dallas. In the fall of 2018, he took the Australian Society and Politics course and signed on with the Clark Center as a Research Intern. In that capacity, Mark has collected data on voting patterns in the Australian Senate as part of a project on bipartisanship in Australian politics, and he has coded the policy content of bills introduced into the Australian Parliament as well as legislation enacted by the Australian Parliament. In his free time, Mark likes to travel, watch movies, and read.


ainslietisdaleAinslie Tisdale

Ainslie Tisdale is a senior majoring in International Relations and Global Studies as well as a minor in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic.  She grew up in a Maryland suburb of Washington D.C. but now happily calls Austin home.  Ainslie joined the Clark Center as a Research Intern in the spring of 2017 and thereafter collected and coded data for projects concerning newspaper coverage of High Court of Australia decisions and the policy content of bills introduced into the Australian Parliament.  After becoming a Clark Scholar in the fall of 2018, she began work on a project that considers the factors that drive newspaper coverage of judicial decisions. Her research considers whether a decision of the High Court of Australia is more likely to receive coverage if its subject matter aligns with prevailing policy themes otherwise in the news. This year Ainslie also serves as a Next Generation Scholar for UT’s Strauss Center for International Security and Law. As such, she is drafting policy proposals directed at major health organizations and working on publishing an op-ed article with the Strauss Center. The skills that Ainslie has acquired from her Clark Center work have served her well in other internships, including a stint as a health policy intern at Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Ainslie’s interests lie at the intersection of human rights and global development. She plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Public Health and ultimately aspires to work for an international non-profit organization that seeks to advance human rights. In her free time, Ainslie loves to hike, eat vegan food, and befriend the dogs at Zilker Park.


katestricklandKate Strickland

Kate Strickland is a senior Plan II and Government double major. She is passionate about disability rights and serves as Vice President of Disability Advocacy: Student Coalition, a student organization that works to raise disability awareness on campus. Kate joined the Clark Center as a Research Intern in the spring of 2017 and thereafter collected and coded data for a project that examines newspaper coverage of the High Court of Australia. In the fall of 2017, she became a Clark Scholar and worked on a new project that examines whether the policy salience of a case plays a role in the High Court’s decision to accept it for review. Kate is also completing a Plan II Honors Thesis under the supervision of Clark Center Director Rhonda Evans. In an ambitious three-campus study (UT-Austin, UT-Arlington, and Texas A&M), she analyzes the ways in which university accessibility standards affect the extent to which students with disabilities are fully included in the higher education experience, and she documents the impact of these standards, both positive and negative, on students. Kate received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the School of Undergraduate Studies and an Undergraduate Research Award from the College of Liberal Arts to support her research. After graduation, she plans to attend law school in the hopes of advancing disability rights both domestically and abroad. In her spare time, Kate enjoys reading, gaming, and spending time with her beloved cat Boots.


sierraroweSierra Rowe

Sierra Rowe, a Government major with a global business certification, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from UT-Austin in 2018.  She began working with the Clark Center as a Research Intern in the spring of 2017. During her time at UT-Austin, Sierra also held internships with Battleground Texas and Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and she worked in a local law firm’s medical malpractice group. Sierra’s interest in global society, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, led her to spend the spring of 2016 studying abroad at the National University of Singapore. As a Clark Scholar, she completed a research project that analyzed the salience of decisions of the New Zealand Supreme Court. In addition to contributing to existing Clark Center datasets concerning the New Zealand Supreme Court, Sierra created an original dataset of the New Zealand Herald’s coverage of the Court’s decisions. Her project received funding from the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Undergraduate Studies. She accompanied Dr. Rhonda Evans to New Zealand to assist with additional research in the field. An avid international traveler, by our last count, Sierra has reached more than 25 countries. After graduating from UT-Austin, she took a part-time, paid position as a researcher with the Clark Center, continuing her work on the New Zealand Supreme Court, and she realized her goal of becoming certified to teach English as second language. In February 2019, Sierra embarked to Shanghai, where she will spend the next year teaching English to adults with the company English First. Sierra is excited to cultivate her teaching skills and explore this region of the world. 


Kirsten Wolfford

Kirsten is a third year Government major and Liberal Arts Honors student. She is from Orange, TX and is proud to be from the Southeast Texas area. She currently interns for State Representative Phelan at the Capitol doing case work, researching legislation issues and addressing constituent questions. She volunteers every summer at the American Legion Auxiliary Texas Bluebonnet Girls State program, a program that educates around 500 young women across Texas about government from the local level to the state level. She is a member of Texas Phi Alpha Delta and Texas Phanos. Kirsten studied abroad in Würzburg, Germany Summer 2016 earning credit towards her German minor. She enjoys running, movies and going to Zilker Park with her friends. She hopes to pursue research throughout the remainder of her time in undergraduate school and attend law school after graduation. Long term, she hopes to work to secure women’s rights both in the United States and worldwide.


shivani-shahShivani Shah

Shivani is a senior majoring in Government with a double minor in International Business and Advertising. She has been with the Edward A. Clark Center for Australian & New Zealand Studies for three years and is currently a Clark Scholar. She has held two business internships: Discover Financial Services as a sophomore and and International Business Machines as a junior, and has plans to move to Washington DC to work for IBM as a full-time employee fall of 2017. She also has aspirations to attend law school in the DC area after working for a few years and serve as legal counsel for an in-house space exploration company. She is the president and honorary inductee of the Burnt Orange Society/Burnt Orange Student Staff team and is members of Spark Magazine, a UT-ran fashion publication, and Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed business fraternity. In her free time, she enjoys boxing, hiking, fashion, cooking, travel, and living a healthy lifestyle. She will be graduating in May of 2017 and is looking forward to what the future has in store for her. 

Emily Rohles

Emily Rohles is a senior Government and International Relations & Global Studies double major. She was born in California and raised in Cypress, Texas where she attended Cypress Woods High School. She recently took her studies abroad to Geneva, Switzerland where she explored her academic interests in security, migration, and human rights.  Currently, Emily works as a legal assistant for an immigration attorney in Austin and works directly with clients while guiding them through the immigration process. She has served as the President of Women in Foreign Affairs for the past two years focusing on promoting and expanding the role of women in international relations and global activism. Additionally, Emily serves on the officer board for the UT Pre-Law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International and plans on attending law school after graduation. She enjoys practicing yoga, reading, playing tennis, and paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake.


Darcey Holender

Darcey Holender is a senior International Relations and Global Studies major focusing on Russian and Eastern European studies. She attended Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas where she found a passion for serving those in need. Darcey has remained an active volunteer throughout college traveling to Haiti four times to work with the Missionaries of Charity in Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes. Previously, she worked as a teacher’s assistant at the University of Texas’ Child Development Center. Darcey is currently a volunteer at the Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin. Her love of Russian and Eastern European studies originated at UT in her Polish language course. She was the recipient of the Austin Polish Society’s University of Texas Polish Studies Endowment Scholarship, which helped send her to study Polish language and culture in Krakow, Poland. In her free time, Darcey enjoys practicing aerial silks, swimming, and studying other languages.


Maureen Clark

Maureen Clark is a Liberal Arts Honors, Government and Humanities double major. She was born and raised in Grapevine, Texas and attended Colleyville Heritage High School. Maureen has interned at the Office of the Attorney General in Austin and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, where she wrote the Office’s quarterly publication, The Justice Report, as well as public service announcements and press releases on major felony court cases. As an intern in the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division, she now helps process grant applications and awards for victims’ advocacy groups and diversion courts. Maureen is writing her humanities thesis on international human trafficking. She serves as the Local Vice President for Against Cruel Trafficking, a UT student organization that raises awareness about human trafficking and collaborates with other Austin-based organizations to help victims become survivors. Maureen takes pleasure in cooking, reading, and watching movies. She is a former competitive jump-roper and still holds a Junior Olympic World Record in the doubles speed event.
Maureen spent the 2014-15 academic year researching the impact of the Northern Territory’s mandatory sentencing laws upon Indigenous Australians.  Her research was supported in part by an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts.  With support from the Clark Center and the College of Liberal Arts Honors Program, Maureen spent much of July and August 2015 in Australia.  While in Darwin, Maureen met with lawyers, activists, and Territory officials in order to learn more about the NT’s laws and their effects.  She also spent time in Canberra, where she assisted Dr. Evans with data collection for the Clark Center's research on the High Court of Australia. During her visit, Maureen presented a paper on mandatory sentencing at a Workshop for Undergraduate Research organized by Dr. John Uhr, Director of the Center for the Study of Australian Politics at the Australian National University.  In October 2015, she received the Mr. and Mrs. Marvin K. Collie Endowed Presidential Scholarship for her outstanding thesis work and research regarding American and Australian legal systems.


Conor Danaher

Conor Danaher is a Plan II/Government major. Iowa-born and Texas-raised, Conor grew up in Sugar Land, Texas and attended Lamar Consolidated High School. He has interned at the Texas House of Representatives and has studied Spanish abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Currently, he works as a mentor for the KIPP Austin Academy of Arts & Letters, a part of the national "Knowledge is Power Program" network of college-preparatory schools in disadvantaged communities. An ardent acting enthusiast, Conor is part of the Plan II program's student-run theatre group, "The Broccoli Project." He also enjoys running, kayaking, "old school" newspapers, and restaurant-hopping. 
Conor spent the 2014-15 academic year researching the influence of business interests upon the legislative process in Australia’s Federal Parliament. His research was supported in part by an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts.  With support from the Clark Center and the Plan II Honors Program, Conor spent much of July and August 2015 in Australia. While in Canberra, Conor met with representatives from major business lobby groups in order to learn more about their legislative strategies.  He also assisted Dr. Evans with data collection for the Clark Center's research on the High Court of Australia. During his visit, Conor presented a paper on the role of business interests in Australia’s legislative process at a Workshop for Undergraduate Research organized by Dr. John Uhr, Director of the Center for the Study of Australian Politics at the Australian National University. In October 2015, he was named a Highly Commended Entrant in the Undergraduate Awards, an international research competition, and invited to attend a global summit in Dublin, Ireland after his paper was judged to be in the top 10% of the 2015 submissions. Conor was also selected to be an Archer Fellow and will spend the spring 2016 semester in Washington, D.C."  
Click here to read "Research, Perspective, & Teakettles: Looking back on my year as a Clark Scholar", Conor's reflection on his time as a Clark Scholar.


Charlie Stephens

Charlie Stephens, a Government major at the University of Texas at Austin, who graduated in May 2014.  He was born and raised in Dallas, where he attended the Law and Government Magnet High School.  During his time at UT-Austin, Charlie has served as a mentor with the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan and as a student fundraiser and supervisor at the UT-Austin Call Center.  Beyond the Forty Acres, he has interned with the Dallas County Criminal Courthouse and the Law Offices of John C. Sherwood.  Charlie devotes his free time to the arts, most especially drawing and composing rap songs.

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