GWYou: Bethany Leap

GWU Research Experience Helps Graduate Obtain Full Scholarship to Pursue Doctorate

GWYou: Bethany Leap

Bethany Leap, of Sarasota, Fla., a recent graduate of Gardner-Webb University, has been accepted into the doctoral program at American University in Washington, D.C. She was awarded a full scholarship and research funding to continue her studies in justice, law and criminology.

Leap received a bachelor’s degree in global studies from GWU in May. She plans to research terrorism, political violence and radicalization of extremist groups, specifically focusing on the use of social media platforms in the radicalization process.

“I always wanted to join the fight against terrorism in some way, but I was unaware how I could best contribute until I was exposed to the impacts of academic research on the topic,” Leap observed. “The interdisciplinary nature of the doctoral program at American is unique as it offers me the flexibility to further my passion for both counterterrorism research and conflict studies on a broader scale.”

While at GWU, Leap received a grant from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. She chose to study the effects of long-term indiscriminate violence by rebel forces on the outcomes of civil wars. Her mentor was Dr. Casey Delehanty, assistant professor of global studies. She presented the research at the Alpha Chi Honor Society’s National Convention and won a Region III graduate fellowship and was first alternate for the national Benedict graduate fellowship. She also presented at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) National Conference in Chicago, Ill.

“This would not have been possible without the care of the amazing faculty or the incredible research opportunities provided at Gardner-Webb,” Leap praised. “As a recipient of the Summer Scholars Undergraduate Research fellowship, I was able to devote nearly 200 hours to strictly researching my interests.”

Leap added that her professors, specifically Delehanty, Dr. Elizabeth Amato, Dr. June Hobbs, and Dr. Joseph Moore, connected her with research opportunities. “These professors were able to teach me the specific skillset needed for my career aspirations,” Leap affirmed. “More importantly, they helped shape me into the person I am today.”

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