February 9, 2016 at 9:35 am

CLJC Student Spotlight | Lydia Weiant Conducts Research in Northern Ireland


Lydia Weiant. Senior, Anthropology major, Political Science minor. with a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture, taking in the memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 1998 Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland.

Lydia Weiant. Senior, Anthropology major, Political Science minor. with a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture, taking in the memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 1998 Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland.

Ohio University Senior Lydia Weiant is an active member of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture community.

An Anthropology major and a Political Science minor in the Honors Tutorial College, she sat down to answer some questions about her experiences with the center, her research that was inspired by a study abroad trip, and her coursework in the CLJC certificate program.

How did you come to be associated with the center?

A lot of it was meeting with center Director Haley Duschinski early on in my undergraduate career and working with her closely. I went on the first Northern Ireland trip in 2013, and from then on out I became really passionate about the human rights law and justice aspect. At that time, Haley was working to get the center on the ground and get it running, and she sought out a group of interested students to promote and support it.

How was it to further your academic career and play a role as one of the first active student members at the Center?

It was super exciting. Everyone was very very passionate about it. There were a lot of amazing students on board. It was a great way to meet new faculty especially. I wouldn’t have picked up a Political Science minor if I hadn’t gotten involved with the center and if I hadn’t met some of the Political Science faculty. I started taking a more interdisciplinary approach to my undergraduate education rather than just sticking with Anthropology. That was really exciting for me personally but also watching the center be built…having a place to go with coffee and friends and bouncing ideas off each other was really great.

Can you discuss some of your thesis research and how it’s going so far?

I went on the first Northern Ireland trip my freshman year, and as an Honors Tutorial College student I’m required to do a senior thesis. I decided early on in my junior year that I wanted to focus Northern Ireland again. So I spent the entire year doing background research, particularly studying the regional literature as well as the thematic literature, and then I spent last summer living in Belfast with one other student. I spent three months talking to community workers specifically working with the organization “Community Restorative Justice Ireland.” But also the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and other statutory as well as local organizations and community workers. The interviews, the field notes and the site documents are the three main sources of data for my thesis. My entire thesis is based on my research in Northern Ireland.

How is being around the Center environment continuing to help?

It’s a great work center for one. Because my adviser is the director of the center, I spend a lot of time here bouncing ideas off the faculty and working with different faculty members to discuss my research and have them read all the chapters. And with the students it’s great because I’m constantly bouncing ideas off the people in this room. I will end up debating and fighting Katie (Conlon) over the right terminology to use in a certain context for Northern Ireland, or you’ll find me and Erin (Phillips) talking about ethical dilemmas about using human subjects and all of these other things and the students that kind of come here and that are involved in the center tend to know a lot of these issues better and they can help you navigate all of the million balls you have juggling at one time.

How has working towards a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture helped along the way?

The certificate program for me—because I was a part of its inception, and I was one of the students who helped get that running, I already had met a lot of the requirements before I actually applied to enroll, and I think that’s part of what helped facilitate the start of the certificate was that they realized that students had an interest in taking these courses outside of their major, and I was kind of a good example of that. So being part of the formal certificate program didn’t change much about my academic program other than that other schools will recognize that. Grad schools. They’ll see that this is professional program and a heavy competitive one at that.

Plans for the future?

I hope to go to law school. That’s the goal. I will not be attending next year. I’m hoping to take a year and get a job. I’m applying for jobs in the legal arena. Whether that’s paralegal jobs or legal research, apprenticeships, things like that. Places like NYU or D.C. all of that, so applying for those types of jobs and applying for law school in the future.

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