Life after Eastern… and a good one!

By Dale Thompson

Picture Dale Thompson2

Tall Dale in the back with heavy weight democrats Nancy Pelosi and Joe Courtney.

Graduation night was one of the scariest nights of my life. Walking across a stage in front of thousands did not bother me, as many professors can attest that I love the spotlight. It was the thought of what now? I had spent my entire life up to that point in classrooms, working side jobs and just grinding along. Now it was time to actually start my career, which I wasn’t sure I was prepared for!

Lucky for me I graduated during a campaign year, so there were many jobs out there. I had recently finished my internship at the Connecticut General Assembly, so I had many people I could call and beg for work. I had no idea that I was going to get a call back to work for the Democratic State Party. The party asked if I was interested in being a Regional Field Organizer, meaning I would be given a section of the state to oversee

Dale with democratic candidate for congress Joe Courtney

Dale with democratic candidate for congress Joe Courtney.

and coordinate a multitude of field events for any and all candidates running for office in my area. Due to where I was placed, I had the pleasure  of working along side the likes

of Congressman Joe Courtney, State Senator Mae Flexer, and many others. I have learned so much from this campaign, and I still have many days left! When I sat down for my first class at ECSU four years ago I had no idea I would end up here. I am so thankful for everything I learned from our great Poli-Sci Department!

So, if you’re a senior reading this blog, wondering where you’re going to end up in May, just know that you have the skills to go far, probably even farther then me! While Eastern may not be the biggest school in the state, it definitely prepares you for the real world. Do not worry about a thing, you are going to be fine.

Dale campaigning in Connecticut

Dale campaigning in Connecticut.

Professors Martín Mendoza-Botelho and Ricardo Pérez (Sociology) interviewed for Hispanic Heritage Month at the Wayne Norman Show

Willi RadioSptember 15 to October 15 has been designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month by Congress. The main purpose of this period is to celebrate the contribution of Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean cultures and societies to American society in the U.S. This observation started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period and was enacted into law on August 17.

As part of the celebrations the Wayne Norman show of WILI-AM radio invited Professors Ricardo Pérez (Sociology) and Martín Mendoza-Botelho to comment on the importance of this celebration. The interview also includes comments on the current presidential race and the intention of some of the candidates to build a wall to prevent South-North migration to the U.S. Both guests agreed on the lack of viability or practically of this measure and the risks that this type of inflamed rhetoric brings to American democracy. You can access the interview at the Wayne Norman Show Webpage (click here).

Student utilizes Skype technology for internship with international non-profit

By Adam Murphy

Adam at work and in the middle of a Skype session with high level industry managers worldwide.

Adam at work and in the middle of a Skype session with high level industry managers worldwide.

This summer was spent working as an intern for the international development organization, Katerva. The organization serves as a platform to provide recognition and consultation to technologies and startups relating to sustainable development, specifically targeting innovation that will help raise the quality of life in the developing world. Each year Katerva presents awards for different areas of environmentally friendly innovations, often referred to as “The Nobel Prize of Sustainability”. The award provides recognition and credibility for new ideas to receive needed investment so their technology can be implemented on a larger scale. Katerva serves the mission of connecting innovations with investors for a great cause.

My task as a researcher is to spot new technologies out of top research universities and analyze the potential value for the developing world. This is not an internship of pushing paperwork or getting coffee, but instead an inside look into non-profit management, international development and business intelligence. Starting the internship in June and working through until December, work is completed remotely, by searching through research news and creating reports on potential technologies. I’ve had the opportunity to become well acquainted with the office of technology transfer at several leading universities, and exchanged dialogues with leading experts and professors from around the country. This internship with Katerva has had me conducting skype calls with researchers in the Netherlands in the morning, exchanging emails with a Professor from UC Berkeley at lunch, and reading academic journals about the new age of efficient batteries in the afternoon. Skype has allowed me to quickly connect with researchers from around the world to produce meaningful analysis for new technologies and ideas. All of this has been a great learning experience and I look forward to continuing through the year.


Polisci Students present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2016

By Alaina Torromeo

Sabreena Croteau presents her findings on U.S. - Saudi Arabia relations

Sabreena Croteau commenting on U.S. – Saudi Arabia relations.

On April 7-9 three of Eastern’s Polisci students Alexandra Cross, Sabreena Croteau, and Erin Drouin presented their research at the 30th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Eastern had 11 students accepted, a prestigious honor considering that the selection process was so competitive, with over 4,000 submissions. According to the conference “…the work of the students accepted to present at this conference demonstrated a unique contribution to their field of study.”


Alex Cross discussing issues of Russian nationalism and homophobia.

Alex’s paper (mentor Dr. Martín Mendoza-Botelho) “Straightening Out the Russian Mold: How Russian Nationalism Intersects with Homophobia,” focused on how the government of this country has entangled homophobia and nationalism. Sabreena (mentor Dr. Caitlin Carenen History) presented her Honors Thesis, “Influence and Interference: U.S. Foreign Policy towards Saudi Arabia 1956-1971.” Her work examines the beginnings of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, looking to uncover how the U.S. government felt about the relationship and how the American populace felt about it. Erin’s research (mentor Dr. Nicole Krassas) “From Tradition to Twitter: An Analysis of Traditional Media and Social Media Coverage of Sexual Assault on College Campuses” explores the use of modern media in contentious issues.

Erin Drouin presenting her findings on the use of new media in current social issues.

Erin Drouin presenting her findings on the use of new media in current social issues.

Eastern Professor Carlos Escoto, who attended the Conference with this group commented that “…the ability of Eastern students to learn from the work of other students from across the country is informative.” He remarked that there is something invigorating about the ability for students to participate in a conference of this size and to interact with other student scholars. Research and scholarly activity are seen as desirable skills by employers and graduate schools and presenting your research at a national conference is seen as a culminating activity.

Polisci student Alexandra Cross is the 2016 student recipient of the Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award

By Alaina Torromeo

Pic Alex Grasso Award

Proud recipient Alex poses with her mom.

On March 30, 2016 Polisci student Alexandra Cross received the Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award at an Awards Ceremony held in the Student Center Theater. Alex received the award for her hard work and dedication with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered + community (LGBT+) on campus. Alex Safe Zone Trained faculty and staff, helped run the Pride Alliance Organization, worked with the American Association of University Professors against an unfair contract suggested by the Board of Regents in Connecticut, and most importantly, helped create the new Pride Center that will open this summer.

When asked about how she felt to receive the award Alex stated, “I have never felt so appreciated on campus before. Much of the work that I have done was behind the scenes and without too much recognition.” In regards to how this award will influence her future Alex said, “It will stand as a very real reminder that the work I do, and that the work everyone does in the name of equity, is worthwhile and important.”

Congratulations Alex, keep up the good work!

Eastern College Democrats sponsor a voter registration drive

By Adam Michael Murphy
ECSU College Democrats President

voter registrationElection season is upon on! Eastern College Democrats held two voter registration drives in the past few weeks encouraging people to vote in the primary on April 26th. A total of over 90 voter registration forms were filled out and collected throughout the weeks! The registration drives received great feedback from the community and it was wonderful to see so many people want to become engaged in this election. This election is more important than ever for students and other members of Eastern’s campus to get involved and learn about the candidates, who they want to vote for in the general election. In recent elections, the primary here in CT never received this much fervor and anticipation because our primary is later in the process, but this year the primary is receiving a lot of enthusiasm.

            These events went along with the mission of the club to promote civic engagement and raise awareness of political issues on Eastern’s campus. A few other events sponsored by College Democrats this year were Dominoes for Democracy, and hearing from local elected officials about issues facing our state. College Democrats even collaborated with the Conservative and Libertarian club this past semester to hold a Bipartisan Bake sale where we simultaneously help a straw poll for students to pick a candidate they would like to support. Similar events can be expected to be seen next semester as the general election for president get closer in an attempt to raise the political awareness students have for important issues.

Student opinion – Donald Trump vs. The Republican Party

Donald Trump vs. The Republican Party. Brokered Convention: Curse or Blessing for the Republican Party?

By: Meaghan McFall Gorman**

This past week I was fortunate enough to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C. with several other college students. One of the largest conferences held annually, it was especially well-attended this year due to the looming presidential elections.

At the conference Republican Presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump were scheduled to speak. Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio gave the typical campaign trail speech, with calls for action, promises of significant reform, improvement, and a general sense of hope for the future. Ben Carson announced he was no longer running for nomination.

Even more news-worthy however — Donald Trump rescheduled, and then ultimately cancelled his appearance. At the conference there was some confusion as to the reason why, and while Trump released an explanation stating that he needed to be campaigning in-person at key primary states, the real reason was revealed later on.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, a Walk Out had been organized to take place at Trump’s speech. This had actually occurred the year prior, only the victim was Jeb Bush, and the effects were scarring in that the video of that Walk Out was actually used by the media months later while he was campaigning for president.

A walk out is therefore quite serious, and while it may seem petty, it demonstrates a real resentment and genuine dislike for a candidate. Donald Trump was supposedly the golden child of the Republican Party – or at least that was the misconception.


Trump: Leaving an Empty Stage at CPAC 2016

While attending this conference, at any mention of Donald Trump, outbursts of booing and heckling would erupt from the audience. Keeping in mind the haunting whispers of a potential Brokered Convention, Donald Trumps’ divisive popularity is all the more important.

To explain, a Brokered Convention takes place when no one candidate has secured the necessary amount of delegate votes to earn the Presidential nomination, and instead one of the candidates must be chosen through a process of re-voting (think of it as a do over, where all the states are able to recast their Delegate vote in hopes that people have changed their minds and a clear winner will be revealed).

However, at these conventions Vote Trading takes place also, and as the name would imply, it is not overly Democratic. The danger here is that no clear winner is proclaimed, or that the establishment will use its power to manipulate the re-vote process through vote trading to ensure that a candidate of its choice is given the nomination.

That is where Donald Trumps’ failure to win the heart of the Republican Party comes into play. A majority of Republicans seem to not like Donald Trump, and yet, he is leading in many polls.

So what is the Republican Party to do? Tactically, they must damage him in some way, and take him down a few pegs to decrease his popularity and demonstrate how another candidate would be a better choice. The dilemma is that in order to do this, another Republican figure must take it upon themselves to damage Trump – and essentially commit political suicide.

Despite his lack of popularity with the political establishment, Donald Trump has a substantial political backing from the general American populace. Any candidate that attacked Trump seriously would lose his voting base, and be woefully behind the Democratic Party nominee whoever they may be.

That is potentially why former Presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke out against Donald Trump this past week; as a former candidate, one who held a large voting populace, Mitt Romney has some political favor still, even though he is out of the lime light for the current primaries.

Donald Trump fought back against Romney in his usual fashion, but the damage is done, and the Republican Party has officially begun a dauntless war to stop Trump.

Overall, should the nominee selection be brought to a Brokered Convention, Donald Trump would (based on delegate votes) more than likely be the technical choice.

However, he is clearly not wanted. His utter lack of political experience and exorbitant ability to alienate and estrange people will not win him many swing voters.

That is what the Republican Party needs to achieve their ultimate goal of re-gaining the White House. They will compromise at nothing to ensure they have the greatest chance possible at the Presidency, and a little Vote Trading at a Brokered Convention does not intimidate them at all.

After all, as Frank Underwood said, “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table”.


** Entry for the student competition Elections 2016. The views on this piece do not necessarily reflect those of the Department or the University.

Polisci student and actress Lucy Shea performs in an upcoming play based on poet Eve Merriam’s work

Pic Lucy Shea

Polisci student Lucy Shea will be part of the cast of the upcoming play “Out of Our Father’s House”, directed by Caitlin McDonough, which is part of the student director showcase POWER PLAYS!

Based on Eve Merriam’s Growing Up Female in America, this moving play is drawn from the diaries, journals and letters of women: founder of the Women’s Suffrage Movement Elizabeth Cady Stanton, astronomer Maria Mitchell, labor organizer Mary Jones, minister and doctor Anna Howard Shaw, and Eliza Southgate. They are seen as they grow up, marry, bear children and face being ostracized for wanting careers.

April 14 – 18, 2016
Thursday-Monday at 7:30pm
in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Studio Theater

Growing up female in AmericaTickets: Free for Eastern students; $5 for students other than Eastern, senior citizens, and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, and alumni; $15 for the general public.