Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sierra Weir Humanities and Social Science

The women of the Minutemen

My project investigates the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a paramilitary group that holds monthly border-watch operations with the ostensible purpose of stopping illegal immigration from Mexico and Canada. The far-right patriot movement of the 1990s has been resurging since the nomination of President Obama, and the recent acts of domestic terrorism show that this movement is growing. According to the camp facilitator, the MCDC is just one of three hundred distinct organizations using a variation on the Minuteman theme. This summer I will transcribe interview recordings from two trips to Camp Vigilance. The transcriptions will be turned into weighted diagrams, or word clouds to reveal patterns in concept association. This will reveal the frames and metaphors that structure members conscious understanding of their own ideology.

Message To Sponsor

Winning this grant has been very meaningful to me. It will allow me to devote myself full-time to examining a question that is at the intersection of my two fields of interest: Gender and Womens Studies, and Linguistics. This is also very important to me personally because this past year, I have had to adjust to a chronic pain condition. Without the financial support from SURF, I would not be able to spend the summer preparing for my senior thesis with the freedom to be flexible given my health constraints. Designing and pursing my own research project has been exciting, challenging, and very rewarding, and I feel incredibly lucky to attend a university that supports me and gives me opportunities like this.
Profile image of Sierra Weir
Major: Gender and Women's Studies
Mentor: Melinda Chen, Gender and Women's Studies
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