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Eastern Graduate Takes Her Talents Overseas

Michael Rouleau

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Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University alumna McKenzie Hyde '13, of Colchester, CT, has a record of volunteer work in developing countries and academic excellence that has led her to the London School of Economics (LSE). Hyde is pursuing a master's degree in international development with a focus on refugee and migration studies at the prestigious school. She is 2013-14's sole recipient of the Alumni and Friends of LSE Scholarship, which is paying for her tuition. How did she earn this distinguished scholarship?

 During her four years at Eastern as a political science major with minors in Spanish and peace and human rights, Hyde spent much of her time traveling and developing her skills as a humanitarian. In 2011, she volunteered in Haiti for three weeks, doing disaster relief after the earthquake of 2010. Soon after her stint in Haiti, she went on to Ghana, where she taught English in orphanages. Immediately after graduating in December 2012, Hyde went to India, where she taught English and nutrition education, worked on HIV/AIDS outreach programs, and rescued young girls and women from the sex trafficking trade.

 "After spending much of my career at Eastern researching global social issues, I believe we have a moral obligation to do something to combat these issues and make the world a better place," said Hyde. Some of her interests include anti-trafficking policy, postcolonial and postmodern feminist discourse, and social and political policies in developing countries.

While at Eastern, Hyde also presented her honors thesis, "Unraveling Sex Trafficking Policy in India: A Case Study of Political Discourse on Trafficking in India," at the Northeastern Political Science Association Conference in Boston, MA--an exceptional opportunity for an undergraduate student.

Hyde also held several internships with Connecticut political leaders, including U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal, as well as Chris Murphy during his U.S. Senate campaign, and in the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut.

When not volunteering, interning or studying, Hyde was heavily involved on campus. She was a member of the Student Government Association; served as vice president of the Peace and Human Rights Committee and treasurer of the International Students Association; and worked in the Intercultural Center and the Center for Community Engagement. She even served as an administrative assistant to Eastern President Elsa Núñez, who said, "McKenzie has a unique combination of moral strength, humility and compassion. I have no doubt that she will do something significant in the coming years as she continues to find ways to improve the quality of life in developing countries."

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