Polisci students represent Eastern at prestigious policy competition at Yale University

By Alyssa Wessner

Last October, Eastern Connecticut State University was proud to sponsor a group of six Political Science majors to attend and compete in the Yale undergraduate International Policy Competition (Yale/IPC). The students who attended were Leigh Generous, Megan Hull, Nour Kalbouneh, Zoe Marien, Jacqueline Pillo, and Joahanna Vega lbarra. There were over 300 undergraduate students from a variety of universities and colleges at the event, including Yale, Harvard, Rhode Island College, Bard College, Bryant University, and West Point. The designated topic for this conference was the maritime crisis in the South China Sea and its implication on regional and global security.

Eastern students saw this experience as truly a transformative.  According to Leigh Generous (2019’) “…this event exposed me to what it might be like to work with future colleagues in the field of foreign policy, as well as both the challenges and rewards to such teamwork”. Leigh hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in International Relations and Security Studies so this event was extremely beneficial in helping her to gain some experience and work with experts in this field. For Zoe Marien (2019’), the event was a unique opportunity of policy application. Zoe highlighted the generosity of nearby coffee shops and restaurants near Yale which offered discounts to the students working on their proposals, which was a necessity for the extensive policy discussion among group members. Zoe kindly acknowledged Eastern’s sponsorship mentioning that  “…I would not have been able to attend had our Department not sponsored our team, and I am honored to have been selected to attend”. She plans to learn more about International Human Rights Law after she graduates from Eastern.

The inaugural meet at the Yale 2018 International Policy Competition (Source: Yale/IPC).

We are extremely proud of the work of our students at this event. They represented Eastern in a professional and intelligent way through their presentations and proposals, addressing issues relevant not only in the class room but beyond, like China’s growing domination in the South China Sea. Eastern will continue sponsoring events like this that allow our students to represent our school and gain invaluable practical experience.

Quinnipiac’s Law School Dean of Admissions visits Eastern

Mr. Barrett, discussing Law School options, and the President of the Pre-Law Society.

By Alyssa Wessner

On Wednesday October 3rd, the Pre-law Society hosted the Dean of Admissions of Quinnipiac Law School, Mr. Adam Barrett. This was an extremely interesting and informative event. Mr. Barret gave helpful advice on the admission process and how to find a school that best fits your professional objectives. The students who attended left feeling inspired to attend Quinnipiac and Law School in general.

The President of the Pre-law Society, Megan Hull, shared her thoughts on the event: “The atmosphere at the event was one of excitement, we had a bit of a celebrity in the Pre-law world. In essence Mr. Barrett would be one of the many individuals who will review our applications if we chose to apply to Quinnipiac.” As part of his presentation, the Dean emphasized that students need to find a Law School that fits you and your needs. This particular school also offers many opportunities to advance the careers of graduate students in the legal field and related areas, such as combining a law degree with other options such as business. Megan summarized her thoughts on law school in an easy to remember sentence: “Pain is temporary, a Law degree is Forever.”

Pre-Law students and other attendees learning the strong commitment that Law School entails.

Eastern Polisci-Economics student Tess Candler presents her work to members of Congress at Capitol Hill in Washington DC

By Joshua Newhall

Double major polisci-economics student Tess Candler presenting her work in Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The Council on Undergraduate Research is national non-profit organization. The goal of the group is to cooperate with legislators and universities in order to encourage undergraduates to assist their professors with research, and to conduct their own. One of the cornerstone events of the organization is its annual Posters on the Hill event that meets every spring on Capitol Hill, Washington DC. The purpose of the event is to gather students from undergraduate programs around the country in one location to present their independent research. These are not your typical presentations though. Rather than explaining research in an academic setting to professors and fellow students, the undergraduates who attend Posters on the Hill have the unique honor of presenting to various members of Congress.

Hundreds of applicants request to attend the prestigious conference every year, but only sixty are accepted. This year, Eastern’s own Tess Candler was selected as one of the few people to present at Posters on the Hill. Needless to say, her presence at this event is indicative of the quality of both Eastern Connecticut State University, and its Political Science and Economics departments. In the Fall, Tess submitted her application for the conference to the Council on Undergraduate Research. The application required an abstract on her research idea, her history with academic presentations, and a letter of recommendation from her advisor. In March, 

Connecticut Representative Joe Courtney shares some moments to chat and pose with Eastern’s Tess Candler during her work in DC.

Tess was informed that her application had been accepted.Tess, along with her advisor Professor Courtney Broscious, traveled to DC together to attend the conference where she presented her research on environmental policy. Specifically, her research project aims at identifying the determinants of environmental policies that conservatives support. Tess’ research found a negative correlation between conservative support for environmental policy and bills that directly increase the size of government, hinder businesses, or decrease states’ rights. Tess hopes this research will prove beneficial to legislators attempting to pass environmental policy.

While at the conference, Tess presented her work to an audience of legislators, academics and students from different corners of the country. Perhaps the most exciting dialogue Tess had during her time in DC was that with Connecticut’s representative Joe Courtney. Tess had a personal conversation with the state representative about the importance of undergraduate research.

Tess’ experience is just another example of an Eastern success story. She noted that she had a great experience at the conference, and enjoyed meeting plenty of academics and representatives of congress. Any student who is interested in undergraduate research should reach out to their academic advisers.

 Women in Politics, is it realistic?

By Carleigh Doyle

Women across the world are starting to become more involved in politics and political parties. However, for centuries, that was not the case. Men are historically known to overall be more involved at higher levels politically, automatically due to the assumption made that men are smarter, stronger, and overall more experienced than women. Women in history have been known to be home makers, and stereotyped as the sensitive gender. For myself, as a college student studying a field composed of mostly men, becoming a strong power is often harder than many think.

Although as a whole nation, times have changed and many countries have become more modernized, the stereotypes regarding women and their power is still prevalent. Growing up in a society dominated by men, it becomes hard to break the stereotypes that were put in place years ago. As a woman, you are described to be sensitive, caring, and most importantly the homemaker, responsible for bearing children and taking care of the house. From the time I was young, I declared that I wanted to be a lawyer, focusing on business law through the international sector. That seemed to be a goal, but never reality when looking at the percentage of women in politics.

For years, I was told that I am not capable of achieving academically in comparison to my male counterparts, and thus not capable of being successful in achieving my goals. As a child, what is constantly drilled into our brains is that we ARE capable of doing anything that we put our minds to, no matter how big or how small. But, what I have found is that, in accordance to that statement, it is actually meant in the terms that anything is possible except when you go away from traditional values.

 

Source: The Economist 2012.

After deciding to be one to break the stereotype that was set in place by my ancestors, I had found some information that was clearly shocking. In the case of Rwanda, a country demolished by the Rwandan genocide merely 20 years ago, they have one of the highest percentages of women in parliament in comparison to countries around the world. Is that due to the fact that the male population was almost completely wiped out during the genocide, or is it due to women deciding to make a change in politics and break their stereotype?

In the case of Rwanda, women are not restricted on boundaries. They are a pro-woman country, but the women that are in power are not feminists, they consider both sides, male and female as opinions and thus make decisions after analyzing all of the facts given. Many may think, due to the stereotypes that women will only consider basic human nature necessities, rather than focusing on law making policies, a topic that men are very involved in. In fact, it has been proven that a lot of women have the same characteristics of men when it comes to attitude and opinions.

As a young woman working hard to reach my goal, I have achieved much more than anyone thought that I would, yet the journey has just begun. I still compete everyday in classes filled with men, to voice my opinion, and show that I am equal to them academically. Women in politics is not something out of the ordinary, but in order for many to feel comfortable and work hard, such as myself, the stereotype needs to be broken. It needs to be understood that success is not derived from gender, but derived from how hard each person works, and the amount of time that one puts in.

Polisci Student Adam Murphy Wins Prestigious Fulbright-Hays Scholarship to Study in Indonesia

Adam Murphy (’18) a double major in Political Science and History, with a minor in Asian Studies, has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship to study Indonesian language in an intensive language program in Salatiga, Indonesia. Salatiga is a city on the Island of Java, the most populated island in the world. Java is one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands located in Southeast Asia. This program is sponsored by the Consortium of Teaching Indonesian (COTI) through Cornell University Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Adam will be in Indonesia this summer from June to August, living with a host-family and taking language classes at a local university.  

This is not Adam’s first trip to Indonesia. Last year Adam lived in Yogyakarta, Indonesia through an immersive language program when he was accepted to a fellowship through US-Indonesian Society. During the last program, in addition to taking language classes, Adam taught English at an organization called Stichting Jogja, that offers free English classes to people in poverty. Also, through the program Adam met with national leaders, and scholars, learning about current political events. Some of these leaders included the Minister of State, the Princess of Yogyakarta, Speaker of the House, and Deputy US Ambassador.

“I am ecstatic to return to Indonesia, to continue my language studies. I am very excited to try new foods, meet new people, live in a different area of the country, and of course visit friends I’ve met in my past trip there. I am honored to be accepted to this program and awarded the Fulbright-Hays Scholarship.” 

Adam enjoying coffee and ice cream with some of his Indonesian hosts during his last trip.

Eastern polisci students present their work at the Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Conference in Philadelphia

By Adam Murphy

A week ago, a group of us, polisci students, presented our work at the Northeast Regional Political Science Association annual conference in Philadelphia. The group included Tess Candler, Emma Avery, Mikhela Hull and me. We spent the entire weekend attending academic panels of scholar on a range of topics, together with Professors Nicole Krassas and Courtney Broscious. For me the conference was an amazing experience, as I was able to hear political scientists talk about food riots in India in one panel and educational assessment in another. Another group went to another panel entitled “Analyzing the Trump Presidency”. In her own words, Emma greatly appreciated “…the diverse viewpoints that came from around the country and the academic discourse

From left to right, Eastern students Tess Candler, Emma , Adam Murphy and Mikhaela a the NPSA 2017 Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

From left to right, polisci Eastern students Tess Candler, Emma Avery, Adam Murphy and Mikhela Hull at the NPSA 2017 Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

that took place”. Moreover, Emma and Tess presented a co-authored paper on environmental policy in congress; while Mikhela presented a paper examining child protection policy failures. My paper explored trust in government among college students. All of us received great feedback and enjoyed being able to present our research to a specialized audience. As part of this trip we were also able to take some time to view a historic city, and enjoyed our tour of the Reading Terminal Market, Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Magic Garden. In between academic panels, we were able to visit some food places unique to Philadelphia.We recommend anyone interested in presenting their research, take advantage of opportunities to receive valuable feedback from an audience and see a new city.

 

Welcoming Back Pizza and Politics

By Alaina Beyers

Economic prestige discussion

Eastern students participating in the last Pizza and Politics night.

November 1st marked the kick off of the Political Science department’s first Pizza and Politics event of the fall 2017 semester! The Political Science department, in conjunction with Eastern’s Pre Law Society, hosted an open discussion on the effects a country’s level of prestigious status has on its ability to interact politically and economically with the international community. Dr. Martín Mendoza-Botelho, Dr. Chris Vasillopulos and Dr. Patrick Vitale, each from different niches of the Department, lent their expertise as framers of the discussion by setting up individual arguments based on the three questions below to an audience of more than 30 students.

1. How do you define economic prestige from your discipline/theoretical perspective and how it relates to political power?

2. Would you say that there is a loss of economic prestige in the U.S. and in the Western World in general? If so, what are the immediate and long term effects?

3. In a globalized world (and economies), can governments still use economic prestige as a nationalist tool?

From the various responses that each of the professors gave, the students followed up by breaking into groups and conversing amongst themselves, picking out assumptions made by each professor, and deciding which of the arguments from their perspectives contained the strongest and weakest points. Members of the Pre Law Society Bianca Little, Kyle Gray, Alaina Beyers, and Taylor Moore lead the discussions in these small groups, and then reported out to the collective on the conclusions of each discussion.

Each of the professors were game to field any questions or comments sent their way from eager Eastern students, and the atmosphere of engaged excitement was tangible! Thank you to all the professors involved, the Pre Law Society, and the student audience. We hope to see even more Eastern students at the next Pizza at Politics!

For anyone interested in more information please contact the President of the Pre Law Society, Megan E. Hull at prelawsociety@my.easternct.edu.

Polisci Student Megan Hull joins Connecticut State Universities’ March on Hartford

By Joshua Newhall

Governor Malloy’s recent round of budget cuts clearly indicate that the financial crisis in Connecticut is far from finished. Even though the governor vetoed the state’s prior budget the threat of budgetary restrictions still looms over the heads of many state-run organizations.

This round of budget cuts hit the Connecticut State University system particularly hard, delivering affects that both students and faculty at the universities felt. In order to meet reductions in the budget, faculty members agreed to take three furlough days, or uncompensated days off, which has negatively affected both them and their students who have subsequently lost class time. Faculty members of the schools also received a three percent salary decrease and lessened benefits. Lastly, it is likely that student tuition, housing and meal plan fees will rise because of these proposed budget changes, along with reductions to financial aid.

From left to right, State Representative Susan Johnson, ECSU Professor David Stoloff, ECSU Political Science Senior and President of the Pre-Law Society Megan Hull, and State Senator Mae Flexer.

From left to right, State Representative Susan Johnson, ECSU Professor David Stoloff, State Senator Mae Flexer, and ECSU Political Science Senior and President of the Pre-Law Society Megan Hull.

As these changes to the state’s budget were clearly bound to impact the quality of education received at state run campuses around Connecticut, the CSU community decided to take action and express their concerns at the epicenter of these reforms, Hartford. On September 27th a plethora of professors, faculty and students from all of the State’s colleges protested at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

At this rally both students and faculty displayed their discontent for what they deemed a misappropriation of states funding away from public universities. All of the Connecticut State Universities and UConn had representatives present at the rally, including Eastern’s own Elena Tapia, David Stoloff and Theresa Bouley. Along with the presence of these Eastern professors, there were also Eastern students that took the time to voice their concern at this event. Among them, Megan Hull, senior of Eastern’s Political Science department and president of the Pre-Law Society. At the rally, Megan was able to address the press and fellow rally attendees about her personal quarrels with these new restrictive budget cuts. She gave her own story, one that can resonate with the majority of the student body at Eastern and the other state universities of Connecticut. Megan, along with her full-time student status at Eastern, also has worked full-time in order to support her education for most of her life. While she already had concerns about the debt she acquired from receiving her undergrad, Megan now faces the risk that attendance to her dream law school at UConn could be threatened by budget reforms such as this one. In her closing plea, she directly addressed the state’s lawmakers “…from both parties, to do what you were elected to do, and represent the people of Connecticut’s interests and come to a bipartisan agreement on a fair, equitable and fiscally responsible budget.”

While the future of the Connecticut State Universities’ budget is unclear, the September 27th rally certainly made one thing clear, that the body of students and faculty that were affected by this budget change will not sit by idly without vocalizing their concerns. As the state’s representatives continue the process of organizing the budget it is evident that they must reconsider the value they place in their public education, since there appears to be a clear disconnect between how the attendees of this rally and their representatives feel about how to meet these budget constraints. No matter what the outcome of the next budget proposal is, it is clear that the faculty and students of the Connecticut State Universities will stand united in order to protect their community and their education system.

The Pre Law Society gets ready for a busy semester

By Megan Hull

Greetings from the Pre Law Society, here at Eastern Connecticut. The Society was present at Eastern’s Student Fair last week and shared with interested students its mission to prepare undergraduates in their path to Graduate and Law schools. Our first meeting was this past Tuesday September 19, where we began our preparation to give undergraduate student the tools they will need to conquer Graduate School and Law School. We went over key aspects of accepting CV, as well as what law schools are looking for when looking over applications. We spoke lightly on what is to be expected the day you take your LSAT and the different test prep that is available.

The board of the Society at Eastern's Student Fair. From bottom right (clockwise), President Megan Hull, Vice President Caitlyn Sampson, Secretary Andres Villar and Treasurer Bianca Little.

The board of the Society at Eastern’s Student Fair. From bottom right (clockwise), President Megan Hull, Vice President Caitlyn Sampson, Secretary Andres Villar and Treasurer Bianca Little.

If you are thinking about graduate school and law school, we welcome you to join us. As we too prepare for what comes after Eastern.

For further information please contact the President of the Pre Law Society, Megan E. Hull at prelawsociety@my.easternct.edu.

Pre Law Society members talking about their career plans during their first meeting.

Pre Law Society members talking about their career plans during their first meeting.