Social Science Scholars excel in nationally competitive scholarship contests

December 2, 2020 - Karessa Weir, Liz Schondelmayer

While 2020 has been a collectively challenging year, Michigan State University Social Science Scholars Maysa Sitar and Jasmine Jordan have persevered through the obstacles and rounded out the year as finalists in multiple prestigious, highly-selective national scholarship competitions. 

Both seniors majoring in Political Science, these remarkable social scientists have a lot to celebrate. While Jasmine placed as a finalist in the Rhodes, Mitchell, and Marshall scholarship competitions, Maysa won the Mitchell scholarship, which will pay for her to study in Ireland for a year. Maysa is one of only 12 students honored with the national scholarship.

Mitchell Scholars are expected to have a strong record of academic achievement, service, and leadership. Maysa (pictured left) exhibits all three of these qualities, especially when it comes to getting out the vote. Maysa became interested in voting at an early age while growing up in Michigan's sparsely-populated Upper Peninsula. As the ASMSU Vice President for Governmental Affairs, she has hosted on-campus debates for local elections, doubled dorm voter registration efforts, and created easy-to-read, nonpartisan guides for every election. 

Maysa also serves as the first college student on the board of directors for East Lansing's local newspaper and is a representative on MSU's Police Oversight Committee. She interned with a local gubernatorial candidate in 2018 and most recently worked for the DC office of Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. Maysa is currently conducting independent research to examine the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on electoral manipulation in countries with regularly scheduled elections during 2020. 

With the help of the Mitchell scholarship, Maysa will study Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. Maysa is not only a Social Science Scholar, but an Honors College scholar and a finalist for the U.S. Rhodes Scholarship. She is only the fifth Spartan to be named a Mitchell Scholar. 

Jasmine Jordan's journey has been a notable one as well. Though she ultimately did not secure one of the scholarships, she placed as a finalist in all three competitions, which is an incredible achievement in its own right.

Jasmine (pictured left) grew up in Detroit and came to MSU to study Political Science. As an undergraduate in the Honors College and Social Science Scholars Program, Jasmine has held several prestigious internships and research positions, focused on criminal justice reform and disability activism. She also serves as the co-president of the Council of Students with Disabilities.

After graduating, Jasmine plans on pursuing a career in criminal justice reform, focusing on making the system work better for people of color and those with disabilities.

"Maysa and Jasmine are simply brilliant Spartans. It is a source of the deepest pride that we have been able to recruit students of such exceptional caliber," said Dr. John Waller, director of the Social Science Scholars Program. "They are both more than model students who have not only excelled in all their classes, but have undertaken independent research projects, and devoted thousands of hours to community service, campus leadership and professional roles demanding the highest level of professionalism. 

"MSU is very fortunate that they came to study here and the Scholars Program will miss them sorely when they graduate in the spring."