Elon senior awarded UK Fulbright to research political communication

Mary Rouse, a political science major from Charlotte, North Carolina, will study strategic narratives next year at Royal Holloway, University of London, as she works toward a graduate degree in media, power and public affairs. 

One of Elon University’s top seniors moves to the United Kingdom next year for a graduate program at Royal Holloway, University of London, funded through a Fulbright U.S. Student Award.

Senior Mary Rouse, a political science major from Charlotte, North Carolina, received the prestigious international fellowship to help continue her ongoing work on “strategic narratives,” which, broadly defined, are the stories leaders tell about the international system, state identity and policies.

Her Honors thesis examines the role of hypocrisy in international relations and it addresses two questions: If it matters what leaders say in the world, as many experts argue, then why do leaders sometimes say one thing and do another? And what are the repercussions of hypocrisy for states in the international realm?

Rouse has used Elon University’s Lumen Prize to conduct that research under the mentorship of Professor Laura Roselle, a leading international scholar on strategic narratives. She hopes to eventually join the foreign service through the U.S. Department of State.

“As an aspiring diplomat, this master’s program will allow me to build on my undergraduate research pertaining to political communication while gaining a broader understanding of the media landscape that shapes our increasingly interconnected world,” Rouse said. “I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to study at Royal Holloway, University of London, among scholars pioneering the idea of strategic narratives in the international context necessary for successful public diplomacy.”

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright was established in 1946 by Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

Since its establishment under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

In addition to her research through the Honors Program and the Lumen Prize, Rouse has been active in the university’s Politics Forum, the Student Government Association and the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement. She also has served as a student supervisor for the Elon University Poll.

The Honors Fellow is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States.

“Mary’s research skills are outstanding, as is her intellectual engagement,” Roselle said. “Royal Holloway is an excellent fit for her. The program will allow Mary to directly address her research interest on the nexus of power and communication. It has been a pleasure to work with her on this fascinating and important research project.”

Rouse is the daughter of Stephen and Annette Rouse of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Elon students and recent alums interested in this award or other nationally competitive fellowships are invited to visit the Office of National and International Fellowships in Lindner 200 or by calling (336) 278-5749.

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