The Program in American Studies honored Tabitha Belshee '20 for her senior thesis with the Willard Thorp Thesis Prize. Belshee also completed the Undergraduate Certificate Program in Statistics and Machine Learning sponsored by the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML). Belshee heavily used data science techniques in her senior thesis.
Belshee’s thesis, “Doing Right by Our Children: Understanding and Redressing President Trump’s ‘Zero-Tolerance Policy’,” analyzes child separation at the U.S. border, focusing on migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The prize committee noted that Belshee, a politics concentrator, “deftly” deploys multiple methods — historical overview; policy analysis; and application of two models of quantitative data analysis, neural network modeling and game theory. “Her argument is persuasive,” the committee concluded, “and her presentation of data, including her predictive account of the fates of three fictional children using the neural network model, are compelling.”
The Thorp prize — named in honor of Professor of English Willard Thorp a founder of the program and for many years its director — is awarded to the senior in the American studies program who prepares the most outstanding thesis of a clearly interdisciplinary nature.
The full article can be found here.