Undergraduate Research

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Loyce Gayo

Loyce Gayo
African and African Diaspora Studies
“This is an opportunity to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to what you love.”

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Calvin Streeter, School of Social Work

Please tell us a little bit about your research project.

My research is on African Socialism and development theories with a regional focus on Tanzania.

How did you get involved with your current research project?

In the fall of 2014, I decided to do independent research in Tanzania. I had initially ventured to research the microfinance sector in Tanzania for my Social Entrepreneurship and Non-Profit BDP but because of the bureaucracy I faced with some of the organizations in Tanzania I had to take a theoretical approach. I decided then to research the history of development in Tanzania. This route proved to be very enlightening because not only did it trace the decision-making process within the Tanzanian government over time, it also showed the inception of microfinance in the region.

Do you see your research connecting with your plans for your future?

Most definitely! The research I have done on my country’s socialist history is what I intend to build on when I go on to study Global Policy in graduate school. History serves as a critical perspective for policy makers.

What’s it like working in Tanzania?

Doing independent research in Tanzania was the most fulfilling experience of my life. It was however very challenging. One of the biggest hurdles was language. Having spent a substantial of time abroad, my Kiswahili was rusty. The language barrier was very difficult to overcome. It did however make it possible for me to quickly learn interpersonal skills in order to attain the information I needed.

What advice would you give to a student who was thinking about research?

If you have an opportunity to do research, take it! This is an opportunity to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to what you love. Research offers what the classroom cannot and that is the opportunity to push the envelope and apply concepts, theories and your passion.

What is the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve gotten to do for this project?

One of the most interesting things I have gotten to do for my project was interview an acclaimed scholar and author from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Severine Rugumamu. In addition, my work was accepted in the annual Africa Conference held at UT later this spring. I will have an opportunity to share my work with scholars from around the world and my peers.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.