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Published on February 07, 2023

Conducting Undergraduate Research at Eastern


      In April, I will travel to two research conferences to present my work: "Interventionism and American Foreign Policy: Tracking Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy and Recent International Events." This research came about after the events of August 26, 2021, where 13 U.S. service members were killed during the final departure of U.S. Forces from Afghanistan (after 20 years of war). This incident has brought U.S. foreign policy decisions into the spotlight. As soldiers and Gold-Star families begin to process the disaster in Afghanistan, more and more Americans have grown concern with American foreign policy. For those coming of age in the U.S., the conflict in Afghanistan has spanned their entire lives. Utilizing quantitative and qualitative research methods, my partners and I cared to determine the effects of the current political climate on young citizens' attitudes towards foreign policy and whether or not these sway outcomes of policy decisions. We did so by collecting data from 121 students at ECSU and examined the relationship between certain demographics (i.e. party identification) and attitudes towards opinions on ideas like hosting refugees and military intervention. Given both mine and my co-authors' personal interest in the topics of foreign policy & international affairs, this project was a great way to gauge an understanding of the field while developing the research skills required to enter it. Hopefully, our findings will motivate others to audit their own beliefs and see the other side of the fence in terms of policy.

      The first conference I will be presenting at is the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) taking place at the University of Wisconsin - EAU Claire. The second conference is the New England Political Science Association's Annual Conference taking place in Mystic, CT. I am very excited to have the experience of presenting my work to the wider academic community. In turn, I will be able to gain transferable skills (like presenting to an audience I am unfamiliar/uncomfortable with) which I will utilize further in my professional career. I would encourage any interested and dedicated student to submit proposals to present at conferences like these. The research that is conducted in the methods courses, or on your own via an independent study, can serve a larger purpose than a final grade. Not to mention, typically, the research you conduct reflects your own interests. Using the resources that both the Political Science Department and the University have to offer has made this experience possible. Don't take them for granted! 

Written by Marcel Vicente