One of nine such scholars chosen this year, Tobias chose his research focus while conducting more general research on the interactions between terrorist groups. He was curious about the effects of tactic sharing between groups, and saw a need for a different approach.
"Most research I have encountered has focused on developing a theory of suicide bombers which can be applied to all conflicts," said Tobias, a senior in international studies and Spanish from Juneau. "While this is useful in finding the commonalities, it does not highlight the differences, which can be important to combating the tactic."
His research compares profiles of the perpetrators of suicide missions between different conflicts where the tactic has been employed. The goal is to compare both commonalities and differences, and determine if the same factors motivate the actions of individuals from different cultural backgrounds. His research will be valuable in determining which counter-terrorism strategies are likely to be more effective.
Like Tobias, other Martin Scholars are researching topics with international implications. Allison Neterer, junior in philosophy and classical languages from Ketchikan, is working on "The Developing Role of Maritime Strategies in Peacekeeping Operations."
This year, Martin Scholars were chosen from two fields of study in the university to study two broad topics: those from the Honors Program will focus on peacekeeping; and those working on international studies degrees are researching conflict and possible resolutions. The program is designed to let a small cadre of students work toward a defined goal with a focus on international conflict.
Scholars receive a stipend of $500-$1,000. Participants must be seniors; a one-year commitment is required.