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Junior Erica Canzler spent her winter break examining the ability of developing countries to reform and sustain their economic systems, as well as what influence forms of government have on the process.

Canzler worked as an EXCEL Scholar with Praveen K. Chaudhry, visiting instructor of government and law. In EXCEL, students collaborate with faculty on research while earning a stipend.

A former scholar-in-residence at the International Monetary Fund, Chaudhry was a panel expert last year on Voice of America radio broadcasts. He specializes in non-Western countries, particularly Asia and South America.

“The project dealt with balancing economic reform strategy with the competitive interplay of democratizing political forces,” says Canzler, a government and law major. Her main responsibilities were to read and analyze research on the topic and form conclusions.

Canzler explored several unresolved issues, such as defining the nature of the relationship between developing countries and outsiders. She also examined why some authoritarian regimes find it easier to enact policies while others face greater challenges, and also attempted to pinpoint the constraints and opportunities faced by developing democracies as they seek to reform.

According to Chaudhry, the pair tried “to show that democracies are capable of implementing and sustaining economic reforms more efficiently than authoritarian regimes.” Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and other countries in Asia are among the nations they studied.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to get a head start on this kind of research, because I plan on using what I learned to develop my senior thesis,” says Canzler.

“Professor Chaudhry is wonderful to work with and is very enthusiastic about the material,” she continues. “It’s a great opportunity to be at Lafayette, where I can work one-on-one with a professor in my field of interest.”

Chaudhry says the project will help prepare Canzler for graduate school and is, in fact, comparable with early graduate study.

A member of the women’s basketball team, Canzler is a supervisor at Kirby Sports Center. She has also served on the Student Conduct Committee and participated in Lafayette Leadership Institute. A psychology minor, she spent last summer studying the relationship between marital quality and health in late adulthood through an EXCEL project with Jamila Bookwala, assistant professor of psychology.

Categorized in: Academic News