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Merlin MacGillivray

Merlin MacGillivray

About

Why I'm majoring in Urban Studies: I'm majoring in Urban Studies because the discipline brings many different fields together, endowing its students with a unique way of thinking about social issues. It combines design, history, sociology, literature, and more, to create an understanding of society at one of its most basic levels: human settlement.

What I like best about Urban Studies: I love how the major turns its students into involved and informed residents of the Bay Area. I've done projects interviewing Stanford service workers about the housing issues they face, I've gone to San Francisco several times to examine the urban landscape there, and I've done research on the local politics of housing and marijuana regulation. Few other majors can claim to contextualize students' education in this way. I also really appreciate the fantastic faculty! So many of the classes I've taken in the major have fantastic and engaging lectures, given by faculty with really deep knowledge of the topics. The staff and faculty are also super helpful and friendly and can provide great advising when you need it.
 
Honors Thesis or other research project: For my senior research project, I'm interested in the Syrian refugee population in Germany, especially the refugees resettled in small town and rural areas. I'm curious about how the refugees, who are mostly coming from large cities in Syria, are adopting to rural life, and how the nature of tight-knit small communities in the German countryside can present both barriers to and facilitation of integration.
Other academic interests (major, minors): ILAC and German Studies