2016-2017 Luce Scholar

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

For her Luce year, Rebecca Schectman has the opportunity to work in Kuala Lumpur with UNHCR Malaysia. UNHCR began its operations in Malaysia in 1975, and works with government agencies and civil society to protect refugees and assist in their welfare needs while they are seeking temporary asylum in Malaysia. Malaysia is not a State Party to the 1951 Convention and its Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. As there are currently no legislative or administrative provisions in place for dealing with the situation of asylum-seekers or refugees in the country, UNHCR conducts all activities related to their reception, registration, documentation and status determination, in cooperation with the Malaysian Government.

Rebecca graduated from the College of William and Mary in May 2016 with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Latin American studies. She has worked extensively with AidData, a research lab investigating international development finance. Experienced in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, she has worked as a geo-coder to track the impact and effectiveness of foreign aid, developed methodologies to study governance reforms, and helped design field experiments. As an AidData Summer Fellow at UNICEF Uganda in Kampala, she piloted AidData field research initiatives on aid management platforms and citizen feedback data, the findings from which she presented at USAID’s 2014 TechCon. In January 2015, she worked as a Global Policy intern at the ONE Campaign in Washington, DC, where she wrote for ONE’s official blog and provided research support for Global Policy staff. While studying abroad in La Plata, Argentina, she interned with the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria, and documented human rights sites for the commission’s multimedia map. Rebecca has co-taught an English literacy class and individually tutored adult learners at Literacy for Life in Williamsburg. She has worked with the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville as a family mentor to newly arrived refugees. An International Orientation Peer Leader, she has welcomed over 150 new international students to campus each fall. She enjoys competing in races with W&M’s Triathlon Club and playing violin with the Appalachian Music Ensemble.