Dedication Near and Far
Conflict management graduate researches across the globe
(Jul 24, 2019) — Brittany Foutz first heard about Kennesaw State University while she was half a world
away in the Netherlands while interning at the International Criminal Court. Her roommate
there, Nicole Junker, told her all about the incredible Ph.D. program Junker was in
While she first learned about KSU, a piece of her heart already lived in Georgia, her family had settled in St. Simons Island after moving from Maryland. The beautiful campus, incredible program in conflict management and proximity to her family is what Foutz says made her realize Kennesaw State was the perfect fit for her.
Beginning her college career in Maryland, Foutz always knew she wanted to be a doctor. “When I started in school, I planned to become a medical doctor,” Foutz said. “Now, I still have become a doctor, just without having to take organic chemistry.”
Foutz has traveled all over the world and interned with ambassadors, the International Criminal Court, the Diplomatic Training Institute and more both before and during her time at KSU. Criss-crossing the globe was all part of her time as a student as she dedicated herself to her dissertation helping to give a voice to child soldiers and victims of sex trafficking by exploring the impact that these traumas have had on people.
“When I began my research in 2016, no one was quite sure how including victims would impact proceedings in the International Criminal Court. I wanted to highlight the perception and understanding of justice through the victims of these crimes while also providing recommendations regarding reparations for the victims,” Foutz said.
Her research found that individual reparations led to a higher sense of satisfaction as opposed to group compensation.
The work Foutz did to complete her dissertation has been a journey that ignited her passion for research and a drive to help others. For her research, she interviewed more than 50 people around the world, from Washington, D.C. to The Hague in the Netherlands. According to Foutz, listening to the stories was vital but it was also the hardest part of her work.
“You are hearing about all of this trauma and asking people to relive it. It’s hard to not get caught up in the emotions of it sometimes,” she said.
Through her experiences, Foutz worked with United Nations prosecutors and psychologists, learning the best ways to talk about the challenging subjects and not get too overwhelmed with the emotional weight of that trauma.
Her work with survivors gave her the opportunity to teach courses about sex trafficking in Atlanta. Offered through the UN University’s partnership at the University of Philippines in Cebu, the course served delegates from the United Nations Global Regional Centres of Expertise locations. She also presented her insights during the 11th Global Regional Centres of Expertise World Conference in December 2018.
“Teaching those classes at the UN is what really showed me that I love to teach,” she said.
Now as she graduates, she will head to Salisbury University – where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, – as a full-time professor. She also plans to continue her work with the United Nations, including establishing a relationship between Salisbury and the United Nations.
Through her work on her dissertation, there’s been one piece of advice that’s helped her through the rough times. “Drown out the noise,” Foutz said. “Just focus on your goals, on your dreams and ignore everything else.”
— Andrea Judy
Photography by Lauren Kress
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers close to 200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.