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Andrew Young Nyanchoka

Majors: Political Science and Africana Studies
Minor: International Affairs
“The Effect of Contact on Attitudes Toward Immigrants and Immigration Policy in the United Kingdom”

Andrew Nyanchoka

In the United Kingdom (UK), immigration has become a central political topic as anxiety over new waves of immigrants has reached an all-time high. The proposed research will examine how contact with immigrant and minority populations influence public attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy in the UK. Using data from the 2011 UK Census and the 2011 Dataset of the British Social Attitudes Survey, this research will test some of the most important theoretical explanations regarding contact and attitudes toward immigration, synthesize the findings of other researchers and add to the existing literature.

When did you join the McNair program?
I was selected to participate in the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Scholars Program for the 2013-14 Academic Year.

How did you find out about McNair?
I learned about the McNair Scholars Program from a good friend of mine. He had just completed his fellowship at the McNair Summer Research Institute (SRI) and he told me that it was a wonderful opportunity.

What have you gained from being a McNair scholar?
The McNair Scholars Program has provided me with experiences a classroom setting will never provide. I am gaining first-hand knowledge about how to navigate the graduate school application process while establishing lasting relationships with my fellow McNairs and the various staff and professors involved in the program.

What is your most recent independent research project?
My most recent independent research project focuses on the formation of public attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy in the United Kingdom. The research will examine how contact with immigrants influences attitudes and suggest that increased contact with immigrant and minority populations reduces anti-immigrant attitudes.

How did you find your mentor for this project?
I found my mentor for this project with the help of Dr. April Householder in the McNair Scholars Program. She compiled a list of possible mentors for me after I provided her with information on my research topic. I certainly would not have been a participant in the SRI without the program or my dedicated mentor Dr. Cynthia Hody. I have also had the opportunity to work with Dr. Okomof Boakyewa and Dr. Gloria Chuku from the Africana Studies department whose advice and guidance helped me a lot as an undergraduate researcher at UMBC.

How did you know this was the project you wanted to do?
I studied abroad in the UK during the fall 2013 academic semester and I thought this would be an interesting topic to explore. Plus, this project relates to my major in Political Science, because it focuses on the formation of public attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy.

How much time do you put into it?
I have spent a significant amount of time working on my research project. Although the SRI consists of 8 weeks, I had begun working on my research project earlier in the spring 2014 academic semester.

What do you hope for yourself and your research upon completion of the SRI?
As a McNair Fellow at UMBC, I have become even more enthusiastic about conducting my own independent research, and I have high hopes that upon completion of my research this summer, I will have a paper worthy of publication.

How much did your mentor help you with your research?
My mentor has given me advice since my freshman year at UMBC. In addition to her being my McNair mentor, she has also acted as my academic advisor, helping me and guiding me throughout my time at UMBC.

What has been the hardest part about your research?
The hardest part about my research is trying to organize and keep track of all the literature I have reviewed and effectively incorporating it into my research.

What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
As I learned in my POLI 301 Research Methodology class, “The annotated bibliography is your friend”.

What are your career goals?
My goal after my final SRI experience is to pursue a doctoral degree with the knowledge that my time in the McNair Scholars Program has made me a more sought after and appealing candidate.

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