The URECA website regularly features students’ perspectives on research and/or creative activities. This month’s student is Jean-Claude Velasquez, a senior who is completing the honors program requirements for both of his majors in philosophy and political science in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is also in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP-AIM) at Stony Brook. Velasquez’s philosophy honors research, supervised by Eduardo Mendieta, investigates ethical dilemmas of immigration policies in the United States and explores the history of xenophobia, racism and ethnic tensions faced by immigrants in the US. His honors project in political science is supervised by Robert Alessi, Esq., and investigates Hispanic political behavior and identity, examining the strategies made by Democrats and Republicans in reaching out to Hispanics in both primary and local elections.
Velasquez has served as a TA for Politics and Society, and Philosophy of Law (PHI 105, PHI 375). Last summer he was one of 10 winners of a SUNY/CUNY essay competition sponsored by The Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force of the New York State Legislature for his essay on raising the minimum wage. He has published “Domestic Violence, Gender Justice and the Importance of Civic and Moral Education” in Libertas: the Undergraduate Journal of Political Science at Stony Brook University (Fall 2013). Recently Velasquez was notified that his essay, “The Invisible and Voiceless: The Plight of the Undocumented Immigrant in America” was one of 13 chosen nationwide as a finalist entry for the 2014 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics essay contest.
In Summer 2013 Velasquez was a public health scholar at Columbia University’s School of Public Health and did a summer research project on “Deceit and Persuasion: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Advertising,” which focused on marketing techniques used in fast-food advertising by major corporations. In summer 2012 he was a pre-law undergraduate scholar at IIT Chicago-Kent Law School.
Velasquez has been involved as a tutor with the EOP program on campus. He also serves as president of the Delta Chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, a philosophy honor society that was inactive for a decade and he reestablished on campus. He has also given his time as an ESL teaching Assistant at Columbia University Community Impact (serving the Harlem and Washington Heights community) and was part of the Volunteer Corp at City University of New York Citizenship Now to assist immigration attorneys in helping immigrants complete forms regarding the naturalization process.
Velasquez plans to pursue a master’s in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University next year, with a concentration in Healthcare Management and Law, and then to pursue a Juris Doctorate.
Velasquez is one of 15 Stony Brook recipients of the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, a SUNY award that will be formally awarded on April 2. It recognizes graduating seniors who have integrated academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, such as leadership, campus involvement, community service, arts, athletics and/or career achievement.
Click here to read the full interview.
Click here for past researchers of the month.