News from the Bush School

Bush School students earn first place for research focused on gender and terrorism

April 26, 2018

Female students and Dr. Hudson standing in front of a Bush School banner
Student researchers at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University examining the possible links between gender issues and radicalization recently received first place in their category at Texas A&M’s Student Research Week. The research is part of a capstone project that all second-year Bush School students are required to complete before they graduate.

Student Research Week is a research symposium that highlights student research conducted across Texas A&M’s campus. This year marked the twenty-first year of Student Research Week, and its theme “Bridging Disciplines, Engaging with Others” aimed to ensure that all colleges across campus were able to participate in the event.

Emiley Pagrabs, a member of the Bush School team, explained the project further. “We’re contracted by the State Department to complete an analysis of the impact of some gender factors on foreign fighters and radicalization and what compels individuals to leave their home countries and travel to ISIS territory.”

The team, led by Dr. Valerie Hudson, is using a database she created, the WomanStats Project, to gather data to complete the macro-level analysis. Research was conducted at both the macro and the micro level to try to fully understand what drives individuals to radicalize. At the micro level, the group obtained biographical data on nearly forty-five foreign fighters to examine potential factors that result in radicalization.

“It’s really interesting to see how these factors affect people on the micro level,” Pagrabs said. “No one has been looking at this yet, so we think it fills a void in the radicalization literature. Maybe this isn’t everything, and it’s not the answer because there’s no one-size-fits-all explanation for radicalization, but it helps complete the picture.”

Additional team members include Sara Ascol, Wiam Ayachi, Ashley Lovell, Kayla McGill and Ryan Yandell.