Jasmine Okidi, a third-year University Scholar studying English, was selected as Mason’s first-ever recipient of the Beinecke Scholarship. The award, which was established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke, supports graduate study in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
As early as her freshman year’s Principles of Research and Inquiry (HNRS 110) course, Okidi has demonstrated her commitment to multi-dimensional and interrogative research. Okidi, who is from Kampala, Uganda, utilized her HNRS 110 coursework to explore community-inclusive strategies to address wetland degradation in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.
In her initial investigation of the wetland degradation in Kampala, Okidi featured a proactive three-phase plan for educating the public on the current state of the area: 1) survey the community, 2) spread information, and 3) assess how perceptions are influenced. Afterwards, Okidi went on to develop the project under OSCAR’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP), investigating the political ecology of Kampala’s wetland management.
Alongside her passion for conservation, Okidi’s interests in African and African diasporic literature, ecocriticism, and Black feminist ecologies highlight the strength of her academic prowess and reflect the interdisciplinary nature of scholarship within the Honors College. Whilst keeping in line with this tradition of scholarly excellence at Mason, Okidi blazes a trail for future Beinecke scholars in the Honors College.
Each recipient of the Beinecke scholarship receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school which Okidi looks forward to using in her pursuit of a PhD in Africana Studies and exploring race and ethnicity, gender, and environment in Ugandan literature and culture.