Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)
Madison Bates '22

Student Spotlight: Madison Bates '22

What inspired your interest in human rights and humanitarian research? What current CHRHS research project are you involved with?

I was initially interested in humanitarian research through the course PHP1802, taught by Dr. Levine. The course piqued my interest in humanitarian health and emergency response systems, and led me to continue taking similar courses through the public health department. Similarly, through the courses IAPA 1803 and IAPA 1804 taught by Professor Polatty, I was able to explore the technicalities of humanitarian aid in complex emergency settings, including how the humanitarian ecosystem operates in conjunction with armed forces. Currently I am involved with CHRHS as the Civil Military Program Research Assistant, where I have primarily been helping to support the PRM research project on civil-military interactions in conflict settings, as well as through working as a student rapporteur for the 2022 Civil Military Humanitarian Response Workshop. 

Which of Watson’s resources have you found most useful in your research and in your time at Brown?

I’ve really enjoyed the mentorship and collaboration that comes from being a part of Watson, whether through courses, conferences, study groups, or through simply interacting with other students in the study areas. I was a part of the Spring 2020 study group with Senator Heitkamp, which was an amazing opportunity to engage with the many current issues the US is facing. Additionally, I’ve always loved the many lectures and learning opportunities Watson has provided with experts in the fields of human rights and humanitarian affairs. 

What did you do last summer and how did you apply it to your work with CHRHS?

Last summer I worked as a Civil Military Program intern with CHRHS, working with faculty at both Brown and the Naval War College to support civil-military policy creation for humanitarian organizations. Additionally, I worked as an UTRA research assistant for Professor David Polatty, where I was able to help revise and improve existing course simulations regarding humanitarian aid in conflict and disaster settings. Both opportunities were incredible, and they allowed me to further explore career opportunities in this field beyond the classroom. 

What do you envision yourself doing after leaving Brown? How has the work you have done with the CHRHS shaped your academic and professional goals?

I am excited to go on to pursue an MSPH in International Health and Health Systems next year, to hopefully continue research in this field of humanitarian health. I eventually would like to work either for an NGO working in healthcare and emergency response capacity building, or to work as a program coordinator for a humanitarian health organization. I would love to continue research regarding Civil Military coordination, in how to most effectively and safely provide aid in complex emergency settings. Overall, the work I’ve done with CHRHS has been incredibly influential in determining my future career plans, as it’s exposed me to fields I had never before considered.