Reflections on Water and Politics

By Lindsey Berube

Veronica Herrera

UConn Professor Veronica Herrera challenging students on their views on water and politics during her talk about her new book on Mexico.

Last March, I had the opportunity to attend a talk on the water crisis in developing urban cities by UCONN Political Science Professor Veronica Herrera, author of Water and Politics: Clientelism and Reform in Urban Mexico. As a political science student, I enjoy the Pizza and Politics events organized by the department because it gives students the chance to learn about topics within the field that we might not get the chance to throughout our time at Eastern. In my experience, I have not studied the concept of water systems and the political implications associated with them in great depth and was not fully aware of the connection it had prior to the presentation. The speaker was able to present the issue in a way that was easily understood by discussing her qualitative research approach performed throughout eight Mexican cities. She analyzed the effect that water distribution had on the citizens’ lives and found significant results. I discovered that within those Mexican cities, political corruption is rampant and can affect citizens’ daily lives. For instance, the occurrence of water being shut off to part of the urban area due to a lack of votes for a specific candidate is not uncommon. The basic need of water is distributed unevenly and unfairly and has severely affected the populations based on the political conditions in place. I believe this topic is essential for students to be aware of and I strongly urge fellow students to engage in these great opportunities offered by the department.

Polisci student Sierra Colon receives the César Chávez Distinguished Service Award

By Phillip Hoeps

Sierra award

Sierra (center) surrounded by family love during the Award Ceremony. At her right aunt Migdalia, abuela Carmen and at her left abuela Gina and her proud mom Denise.

We are very proud to announce that the 2017 student recipient of the César Chávez Distinguished Service Award is our fellow Political Science student, Sierra Colon! We wanted to showcase some of Sierra’s many achievements that lead to her receipt of the award. Sierra has worked as an intern with the Department of Environmental and Energy Projection, where she composed a bill for disposal of mercury thermostats to be reviewed by the legislature.  She has also advocated for affordable tuition at college appropriations meetings hosted by state representatives as well. Last summer, Sierra was awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship, that allowed her to complete a two-month internship in Cape Town, South Africa, working on agriculture reform and social justice issues within the community. Notable is also her four-year devotion to the Organization of Latin American Students, where she created the annual Latin Fest, a celebration of Latin culture and the merge of cultures in the United States. We are very proud to have such an engaged student in our department and at our University, a big CONGRATULATIONS SIERRA!!!

Talk on Voting Behavior – Professor Nichole Szembrot, Trinity College

Dr. Nichole Szembrot, Trinity College, will present her paper entitled “Perceptions of Special Interest Influence and Voting Behavior” on Wednesday, April 26 at 3:00 in Webb 437. 

Prof. Szembrot

Dr. Nichole Szembrot

This paper documents voters’ perceptions of interest group influence on candidates’ policy positions and the effect of perceived influence on intended voting behavior. The literature on campaign contributions has several explanations for why interest groups contribute to campaigns and how those funds translate into votes. Closing these models requires assumptions about voters’ responses, but there is little empirical evidence on the relationship between voters’ perceptions of interest group influence and their voting decisions. This paper uses an online survey conducted during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to begin to close that gap in the literature. Subjects answer questions about their own opinions on 10 policy issues and make hypothetical choices between pairs of candidates. Then, they answer questions about the opinions of the leading candidates for president on the same set of issues. One treatment does not mention donors; another asks subjects to consider the possible influence of special interests; and a third treatment asks pairs of questions about policy preferences with and without taking donor influence into account. Respondents also rate candidates in terms of 7 personal characteristics. Controlling for candidates’ policy intentions, voters are neither more nor less likely to choose a candidate whose positions on issues were more influenced by interest groups. However, they are less likely to vote for a candidate they perceived to have received more money. When controls for personal characteristics are also included in the model, the effect of donations on vote choice disappears.

For more information contact Dr. Brendan Cunningham, Department of Economics. 

http://www.easternct.edu/cunninghambr

Polisci alumna (’16) Quanece Williams receives a highly competitive Fullbright grant award to serve in the Czech Republic

By Ed Osborne

Quanece Williams ’16 of Bridgeport, CT, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to serve an English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic. The grant, which is for the 2017-18 academic year, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Fulbright-Scholar-Williams-225x300-225x300

Polisci and History student Quanece Williams, first Eastern student to receive a Fullbright award.

Williams will be placed in an English language class as an assistant teacher in a secondary school in the Czech Republic. During her time there, she plans to partner with the European Environmental Agency to inform local residents about the environment and conduct cleanup projects. Williams also plans to utilize her dance training by hosting weekly modern and hip-hop classes.

Williams is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad for the 2017-18 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as a record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

“Having been selected as a Fulbright recipient, I will have the opportunity to promote my passion for education while immersing myself in the rich culture and history of the Czech Republic,” said Williams. “I am both humbled and excited to embark on this journey and would like to thank Eastern faculty for helping me with the process!”

Williams graduated summa cum laude from Eastern last May with a double major in political science and history. As a senior, she was one of two Eastern students to receive the prestigious Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award from the state university system. While a student, she volunteered with Jumpstart, providing literacy instruction to preschoolers. She is currently in a graduate program taking elementary education courses while working at a charter school serving underprivileged students.

“Ms. Williams was a student leader and impressive scholar on our campus, and we are pleased that the Fulbright program saw those same talents in her,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Many of our faculty have been named Fulbright Scholars over the years, and we are proud that one of our students has also been recognized with this honor. I know Ms. Williams will make a special contribution to the students she works with in the Czech Republic, and it is my hope that her experiences will pave the way for continued participation in the Fulbright Program by Eastern students in the future.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at Eastern by Julia DeLapp, coordinator of national scholarships and fellowships, with support from a faculty advisory committee. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/fellowships.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research annually. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in more than 140 countries throughout the world. Lists of Fulbright recipients are available at: www.fulbrightonline.org/us.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the United States Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. In the United States, the Institute of International Education administers and coordinates the activities relevant to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.

 

 

Original link: http://www.easternct.edu/pressreleases/2017/04/03/eastern-announces-fulbright-student-award/

Polisci Professor William Salka receives a prestigious Fellowship from the American Council on Education (ACE)

By Ed Osborne

The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that William Salka, professor of political science at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named an ACE Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year.

Professor William Salka

Professor William Salka

Salka, who resides in Somers, CT, joined Eastern’s Political Science Department in 2000 after receiving his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, he has also served as chair of the Political Science Department and as president of Eastern’s University Senate. Salka is in his fifth year as the director of the University Honors program and also chaired the University’s strategic planning process that produced the latest 2013-18 Strategic Plan. He is the coordinator of accreditation in preparation for Eastern’s next re accreditation review, and is also co-chair of the Senate committee assigned to improve assessment of Eastern’s academic programs.

“As a scholar, teacher, faculty leader, mentor and role model, Dr. Salka continues to serve Eastern and the greater academic community with distinction,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Bill has demonstrated an intellectual depth and possesses outstanding leadership skills that I know he will develop and expand during his ACE fellowship.”

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. Nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, 46 fellows were selected this year following a rigorous application process.

“This is an incredible opportunity and honor, and I would like to thank President Núñez for nominating me,” said Salka. “This fellowship has helped develop many leaders over the past five decades, and I hope to bring new skills and ideas back to Eastern to help in our ongoing efforts to provide a high quality liberal arts education to all of our students.”

Nearly 1,900 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of fellows going on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities. The 2017-18 class will kick off its work this fall as ACE prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.

“Fulfilling higher education’s 21st century mission depends upon a visionary, bold and diverse global community of institutional leaders, and the ACE Fellows Program plays a key role in cultivating these leaders,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “The diverse and talented 2017-18 Fellows class demonstrates why the program has made such a vital contribution for more than a half-century to expanding the leadership pipeline for our colleges and universities.”

The program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.

During the placement, fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement

 

Original link: http://www.easternct.edu/pressreleases/2017/04/03/eastern-professor-named-american-council-on-education-fellow/

Polisci student Meaghan McFall-Gorman is the winner of the 2016 Election Blog competition

Meaghan

Meaghan McFall-Gorman receiving her well desserved award for the Election 2016 Blog competition

On March 8, 2017 Meaghan McFall-Gorman received an award for winning the Elections 2016 Blog Competition. Dr. Mendoza-Botelho and Dr. Krassas were happy to present the award to Meaghan for her excellent post on the rift between Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the 2016 election. Meaghan is a senior English and Political Science major who has written blog posts on a variety of topics in the past. In this particular blog post Meaghan wrote about her experiences at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2016, and particularly the perception of Donald Trump at the conference. I caught up with Meaghan after she received the award, and we talked how perceptions of Donald Trump have changed since last year. Meaghan had an interesting outlook on the topic because she was able to attend CPAC in 2017 as well as 2016, and she thought President Trump was extremely well received this year. She explained that the change in perception of Donald Trump over the year was a complete turnaround from 2016 when he didn’t attend the conference allegedly because of threats of a walk out planned by conference goers. Meaghan thought that President Trump’s 2017 CPAC address was a very presidential call to action. She appreciated him focusing on unity rather than a usual call to arms. Another one of her favorite moments from the conference was an International Relations panel featuring Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus because even though many people see the two as opposing each other, she thought the two complemented each other well in their views and approaches.

After graduating Meaghan is enrolling at her graduate school of choice, Queens University in Ontario, to pursue a Master’s Degree in English Literature and Language.

Visit of Polisci Eastern alumna and JD candidate Raagan Mumley

Polisci student Megan Hull (left) with JD candidate and Eastern alumna Raagan Mumley (right).

By Megan Hull (Political Science and Pre-law Minor)

This week I had the great opportunity to meet Eastern Alumna and JD Candidate at Vermont Law School, Raagan Mumley. Over breakfast at Not Only Juice, in Willimantic, we deliberated such things as the successful structure of a CV, in preparation for law school, the LSAT as well as how her political science background given to her by Eastern Connecticut State University gave her the skills she would need to conquer her law degree. Her advice and experience is greatly appreciated for the continuation of pre-law studies at Eastern.

** Students interested in a law degree or legal studies can contact Megan Hull at hullme@my.easternct.edu for potential student related activities.