Virginia Marta Bertero Leape focused her studies on policy change in fragile states, with a regional focus on the Middle East; exploring this field included studying economics, statistics, international law, and Middle East politics. The summer offered Virginia the opportunity to spend 10 weeks in Iraq conducting research on institution-building in the Kurdistan Region, which consisted of 45 interviews with current and former government officials, governors, academics, journalists, UN staff, World Bank staff, and British, American, and French diplomats. After learning about the implementation of a biometric registration program in Iraq, she undertook a directed reading with Jackson lecturer Nathaniel Raymond to explore the phenomenon of biometric registration programs in fragile states. She has also been investigating the potential for oil hedging in Iraq as a means of revenue smoothing, measuring the differences in poverty and inequality between governorates in Iraq and looking at the impact of state fragility on foreign direct investment (FDI) and terrorism. After graduation, she is looking to return to working in the Middle East on institution-building and stabilization.