Researching Human Rights Among Uyghurs, Creating Policy for Mexican Gender Violence, Model UN Officer—This Schar School Student Made the Most of His College Career

A dark haired man in a brightly colored striped shirt looks at the camera.
Remmy Salinas Calderon: ‘You have to learn how to speak your mind, especially in the field of politics.’

Remmy Salinas Calderon spent the summer of the 2022 semester researching human rights around the world. What he found regarding the Uyghurs was compelling: The Turkic ethnic group, with a population of some 13.5 million people, is “a laboratory for surveillance that is being exported” to other countries around the world, he said.

Calderon, a 2022 cum laude graduate of the Schar School of Policy and Government’s government and international politics program (GVIP), discovered that the Uyghurs inside the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China live in a constant state of government surveillance. Calderon describes this scrutiny as a pipeline to “re-education camps,” essentially creating an environment of fear within Xinjiang.

The work he did on the Uyghurs was part of a study abroad internship with the nonprofit Educación Diversa, a network of more than 100 volunteers focusing on women’s and children’s human and education rights.

While conducting his research, Calderon said he further refined his investigative skillset, which is important for his studies at George Mason University. “This was the first time I was doing research that was nonacademic, so I had more freedom with it,” he said of the experience.

Before signing on to help the organization, he did his own research—on them. “I interviewed for a lot of internships, but I found Educación Diversa to be the most genuine,” he said.

Calderon wasted no time as an active Mason student: In addition to his research endeavors, he served as director general of the mid-Atlantic Model UN and working with the organization Students Helping Honduras. He also took part in conferences across the region, including a major one at the University of Virginia.

As a member of the Schar School’s International Relations Policy Task Force, he made inroads with professors at the Schar School, including associate professor Eric McGlinchey, who guided him through the process of crafting a policy proposal on gender violence in Mexico.

As for the future, Calderon said he is open to multiple potential career pathways including nonprofit research, governmental work, and even law school.

Reflecting on his experience as a college student, Calderon offers this pithy advice: “You have to learn how to speak your mind, especially in the field of politics.”