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.

On Presidential Powers

By Mark Marcy

Prof Hayes Pizza Politics

UConn Professor Thomas Hayes with ECSU students Emily Margolis, Nicole Coughlin and Jared Latour

It was nice to see a full attendance at Pizza and Politics the other night for the discussion with keynote speaker, Dr. Tom Hayes. The discussion centered around the historical rising power of the presidency, the use of executive powers to circumvent the partisan divided congress, and what we can do as citizens to check the rise of authoritarianism.

To open the discussion, Dr. Hayes, outlined the historical gains in power of the presidency and how congress has allowed the president obtain these additional powers.  The power of the purse lies in the hands of the House, but presidents often present a proposed budget for the House to then push through congress.  While congress is the legislative branch, many legislative issues originate in the executive.  And, as the de facto leader of the party, the party coalesces around the president to further the presidential agenda.

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The Pizza and Politics crowd

As the evening wore on, it became clear that Dr. Hayes was not enamored with this current administration, questioned the capabilities of President Trump, and implied that the current administration is led by Steve Bannon and Steve Miller, advisors to the president.  While this is a harsh view of the administration, I must agree that this seems to be the case.  A few examples of instances where an administration that rises from outside government was uninformed about the nuances in the working of government (such as, the first Muslim nation ban), as well as a few examples of a president that didn’t know the basic’s like; the nuclear triad (among others).  Dr. Hayes suggested that the most powerful way, we as citizens, can voice our concerns about this rising authoritarianism, is to VOTE (as well as peacefully protest).

The audience had well thought out informed questions indicative of a group of polisci majors having a chat session.  It was awesome!

Eastern Students participate in CPAC 2017

By James Dignoti

In late February the Eastern Conservative/ Libertarian Club attended the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor Maryland

Professor Chris Vasilopolus surrounded by the Eastern participants at CPAC

Professor Chris Vasilopolus surrounded by the Eastern participants at CPAC (the author third from left).

just outside of Washington DC.  Having also attended the conference last year there are some similarities and differences between the two conferences for several different reasons. The highlight of this trip by far was being able to see President Trump and Vice President Pence speak.  We also got to see several other good conservative speakers and had the chance to meet some of the speakers.

As far as differences between last year’s conference and the conference this year was that this year felt more like a victory rally for conservatives while last year there were several Republican Presidential Candidates still competing for the nomination, this year, there was much more unity within the party having won.

The Trump speech was by far the highlight of the Conference.  He came out to a strong ovation by the crowd.  The speech however, felt more like a rally than a speech from the President.  President Trump was very engaged with the crowd and in his speech highlighted what he is going to do in his Presidency.  President Trump addressed several policy areas including immigration and the Middle East.  President Trump also addressed the media and how the media has treated him.

Eastern students with Senator Ted Cruz

Eastern students with Senator Ted Cruz

Besides the speeches by both Trump and Pence, there were also several other great speakers worth noting.  One really good panel discussion was a discussion of the Constitution with Senator Ted Cruz and Radio Host Mark Levin.  They discussed the importance of protecting the Constitution.  There was also a very good discussion about Women and Politics with Trump’s Campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway and Mercedes Schlapp.  Furthermore, there were several other panel discussions and speeches concerning several different issues including, Abortion, Defense and The Second Amendment.

The conference also had an anti-establishment feel and a new Republican feel to it. There were very few establishment speakers at the conference this year and the Majority of the Speakers supported Trump during the General Election.  This overall was a great week and our club is fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this conference every year.  We are also grateful to our Advisor, Professor Vasillopulos for attending this conference with us every year.  It is very beneficial to our Political Education and we are able to meet many amazing people at this conference every year.

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View of President Trump at CPAC 2017

A Future for Equality

By Courtney Regan

As kids, we’re programmed to view gender as a concept that distinguishes femininity from masculinity based on social and cultural characteristics, rather than biological differences. We’ve all heard of common stereotypes regarding both genders: Women are associated with the color pink, they are nurturing, and they’re more likely to gossip. Men are associated with the color blue, and they’re braver, stronger, and better at sports. Among stereotypes regarding gender, is the common myth that men perform more efficiently in positions of office or legislative seats.

Courtney Regan

Polisci Student Courtney Regan

In history, men have been viewed as superior role models. According to the chart titled “Most of the World’s Nations Have Never Had a Female Leader,” by the Pew Research Center, between the 50 year gap (1964-2014), only sixty-three of one hundred and forty-two nations have had a female head of government or state. In fact, in two-thirds of these nations, a woman was in power for less than four years. Women make up the majority of graduates almost everywhere in the developed world, but ironically, take up a smaller percentage of the workforce the further up the corporate ladder they go.

With assumptions creating such a division between men and women, certain countries have found it necessary to implement gender quotas laws, which require that a certain proportion of candidates for office or legislative seats be reserved for women. Gender quota laws have been implemented in developed countries, which have modern societies. Modernization goes hand in hand with attitudes regarding gender, giving more thought to freedom and gender-equality. The law is not present in developing or under-developed nations, where most societies continue to hold traditional values of gender roles, which assume that a man works and a woman stays home to care for her children.

Of course, controversy facing the law exists. The result can mean blocking off potential employees who are more qualified, just to fit the required percentage of gender quota within the workplace. For example, if there are ten qualified men, and eight semi-qualified women applying to work together, and only twelve people can be hired, the deserving men will not each be given the job, and vise versa. People should be judged on their qualifications, rather than their gender. My hope for the result of gender quota laws is for humans to realize that men and women are equally capable of performing efficiently in positions of office, legislative seats, and elsewhere, in any work place. The ultimate dream is for one day, to have equal political, social, and economic equality among all people in developed, developing, and under-developed countries. If this were to come true, gender quota laws would not necessarily need to exist. We are humans, our worth should not be determined by our gender.

 

 

Polisci student Sabina Mamedova share her life experiences as part of the Immigrant Project at the Democracy at Work series at ECSU

By Sabina Mamedova

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The Performance at the Immigrant Project

The Democracy at Work series at ECSU included political views, artistic talents and information before the presidential election. There were a variety of events such as drawing cartoons about candidates, lectures and debates, and even students dressed in candidate costumes. As a political refugee it was not hard for me to share my story for the Immigrant Project because of my experiences in Russia and being deported to the United States without speaking any English. My advantage in a major project like this was that I am a theater major while also studying politics. Before the event I already had a memoir, which was turned into a script and play informally called “The Sabina Project”. The play involved Syrian refugees’ stories and crises, which brings awareness about them and asks what are we doing to stop these crises and how are we helping. I was deported twice and am the grandchild of refugee survivors, their stories started during World War II when Stalin uprooted them from their land. My great-grandparents did not know any country but Georgia, however, they were exiled just because they practiced a different religion and belonged to a different ethnic group than that of the majority of people living in Georgia.

The narrative of the Sabina Project starts on November 14, 1944, when Stalin exiled the Ahiskan or Meskhetian Turks from Georgia due to ethnic cleansing and religious persecution, under the excuse that my people were collaborating with the Nazis. My people were exiled into five different countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Siberia and Turkey. The cold journey continued for several weeks causing people to die in freezing temperatures. My great-grandparents died as soon as they arrived in Uzbekistan where I was born. Most healthy men were sent to serve the Soviet army and, when some returned, they could not find their exiled families. Some families were not reunited until 1956, more precisely after Stalin’s death. In 1989, my people were deported from Uzbekistan to Russia due to ethnic cleansing. In 2005, my people were deported again due to ethnic cleansing and religious discrimination in Russia to the United States. So the play starts with an introduction of my journey and expands to a narration of the Syrian refugee crisis. It explains how the Syrian civil war started from small riots and soon became a great catastrophe.

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Polisci student Sabina Mamedova sharing her life story as a political refugee.

In the play, five different narrators read the historical parts of my memoir and blend with the story of journalists’ experiences about the Syrian civil war and the refugees leaving the country while hoping to survive. Through the play, dancers interpret the ongoing narration and their movements relate to my story and to that of many Syrians. The group had the guidance of Professor David Pellegrini of the Department of Performing Arts. There is also music that creates an appropriate atmosphere while the narrators and performers are on stage. Part of the play also includes videos of me being interviewed on sensitive subjects about my life in Russia. Overall, the play blends art and my personal history as a refugee.

The Economic Value of a Political Science Major

By Joshua Newhall

JoshEvery year Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce releases a comprehensive analysis of the economic benefits of the 137 most typical college majors, titled “The Economic Value of College Majors.” The 2015 report shows that a major in political science can lead to a highly prospective career. While social sciences, as a major subgroup, comprises a mere 6.9% of all college degrees, this report reveals that political science and government studies are actually the 15th most prevalent major course of study, making up nearly two percent of all college degrees being earnt.

After earning their degree, political science majors fair very well when beginning their careers, earning a median income of $64,000 yearly at entry level jobs. This made political science tie with chemistry, geosciences and consumer services as the 50th most profitable major at an entry level position. This ranking makes political science one of the more profitable college majors to receive a bachelor’s degree in compared to all 137 majors featured in this study. Entry level income in this field is already strong, but the prospect of a long term career in a social science has a 44% wage growth rate, making political science one of the best social sciences for long term success. Along with this, political science was ranked as the 12th best degree to receive a graduate degree in, with yearly earnings increasing by 50% on average after graduate school. This explains why just under half of political science majors go on to graduate school, since this extra education can help lead to a flourishing career.

Median Income of Social Science Graduates

Chart Josh

Information from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce’s “The Economic Value of College Majors.”

The graph above shows the national median incomes for entry level jobs in the top fields of social sciences. This graph makes it clear that economics and political science have the largest economic returns amongst the social sciences, especially when considering how valuable graduate degrees in these fields are.

Aside from the clear economic benefits of a political science major that were presented in this year’s report from Georgetown University, there are also many pros to this field of study that are not quantifiable. A degree in a social science appeals to an individual interested in understanding how aggregate human behavior and society works. While a degree in STEM or business may provide a relatively higher wage after graduation it does not provide its workers with the same level of fulfillment that comes from the human interaction and public service that social sciences are founded on. A degree in political science in particular can provide an individual the necessary education to begin a career in numerous fields including government, public administration, law, international relations, business and many more. This means that a political science major is incredibly diverse compared to most majors, which allows its graduates to seek a career that is more meaningful and specialized to their interests.

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.

Katerva

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.”

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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

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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!