JMCE Student Research Profile

Katja Greeson, TransAtlantic Master’s (TAM) Class of 2019, used her EU-funded research award to study Eurosceptic success and youth political participation in Europe. She spent her second year of TAM at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona. While there, Katja also earned a Master’s of Research in Political Science through the double-degree option. During 2019–20, Katja is conducting a self-designed research project supported by the German Chancellor Fellowship (Bundeskanzler-Stipendium). We asked her a few questions about her summer 2019 research, supported by a JMCE Summer Research Award from the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at the UNC-CH Center for European Studies.

Q: Please tell us about your research:

A: This summer I was fortunate to be able to investigate the relationship between Eurosceptic success and youth political participation. This research builds upon my Master’s thesis research which focused on the impact of Eurosceptic party success on youth attitudes toward the European project and support for pro-EU parties. In recent years, Eurosceptic parties have experienced a surge in support and even entered government in many countries. Given that young Europeans have more to lose from a weakened EU (economically and from an identitarian perspective), I anticipated that they would be galvanized by an increase in Eurosceptic success to support the EU attitudinally but also by becoming more politically active. In order to investigate these questions further, I conducted a project that took me to the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Germany to meet with academic experts, political operatives, and young activists to discuss their unique perspectives on how youth political participation has changed in their respective countries.

(L) Katja in front of UNC’s main quad; (R) Frau Europa Magazine Cover in the Haus der Geschichte, Bonn, Germany

Q: In what ways has the JMCE Summer Research Award enriched your research on the EU?

A: One thing I learned as a Master’s student at UNC-Chapel Hill was the value of a quantitative research approach, which I utilized almost exclusively over the course of the 2-year program. The JMCE allowed me to round out that data based approach with in-person interviews that gave me a nuanced perspective the numbers are missing. In meeting with in-country experts, I gained a more comprehensive understanding of cultural, individual and historical distinctions. Not to mention that I was able to expand my network and visit several beautiful European cities!

(Top L) Photo across the Danube after a day of meetings in Budapest; (Top R) A German and EU flag in front of Berlin’s Fernsehturm; (Bottom L) A building directory for the Haus der Jugendarbeit, where multiple youth-oriented German organizations are headquartered; (Bottom R) A weathered Momentum sticker spotted in Budapest

Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in applying for the JMCE Summer Research Award?

A: Don’t be too shy to apply! Select a project topic that interests you and work with a professor/advisor to conceptualize the idea. Also, know that people are typically willing to offer time and support when they can, so don’t be afraid to send a cold-call email to ask for a meeting or interview.

Q: What are your career aspirations, and how do these connect to the EU?

A: In October, I will start a year-long fellowship funded by the German Federal Foreign Office called the Bundeskanzler-Stipendium (German Chancellor Fellowship). During the year, I will conduct a self-designed research project with a German host organization investigating the German infrastructure for non-formal youth civic education. As the topic of my project denotes, I am very interested in enhancing political and civic participation, particularly for traditionally marginalized communities. As such, I hope to build a career around improving quality of and access to civic education and increasing political engagement both in the U.S. and abroad.

The JMCE EU Summer Research Awards are sponsored by the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence (JMCE) at the UNC-CH Center for European Studies. For more information on awards supported by UNC’s JMCE, visit our awards page. To learn more about UNC’s 2018–21 JMCE, visit our JMCE website.

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.