May 20, 2019 Final Newsletter

     Opportunities and Announcements

     for the Week of May 20, 2019


This is the final Newsletter of the 2018-2019 academic year. There are congratulations to share, thanks to extend, donors to recognize, and farewells to issue. We have good news and cause for celebration in our Department. 

Congratulations!  Congratulations to all our graduating Political Science majors! Twenty Political Science majors and four Political Science minors graduated on Sunday. Their titles of their capstone work, and their capstone directors, can be found on the Department’s senior capstone archive.

Twelve of our political science seniors graduated with Departmental Honors in Political Science this year. Political science majors graduating with Departmental Honors in the 2018-19 academic year are Vishnu Akella, Sydney Anderson, Kirsten Costedio, Koko Etokebe, Parker Glotfelty, Siddharth Hariharan, Kelsey Holmberg, Hannah Pomerantz, Jacob Sandstrom, Ann Marie Smetona, Amanda Smith, Anna Thomsen, and Jacob Vent. Congratulations to these students graduating this year with honors!

Further congratulations are due to our POSC majors who won prizes this year. The Department of Political Science awards the Flora Stone Mather Prize to a graduating political science major for “outstanding academic performance in political science.” This year the Prize was shared by four of our outstanding seniors: Sydney Anderson, Kirsten Costedio, Koko Etokebe, and Jacob Sandstrom. Congratulations to these outstanding graduates!

This year, with support from a generous donor, the Department initiated three new prizes for graduating seniors majoring in political science. The subfield prizes are awarded to an outstanding student in each of the three major subfields in which our department offers undergraduate courses. The prizes are the Comparative Politics Prize, the International Relations Prize, and the US Politics Prize. Students are nominated by their senior capstone supervisor, in the subfield area in which the senior capstone was completed. The inaugural Comparative Politics was awarded to Koko Etokebe; the inaugural International Relations Prize was awarded to Amanda Smith; and the inaugural US Politics Prize was shared by four graduating seniors: Kirsten Costedio, Parker Glotfelty, Kelsey Holmberg, and Jacob Sandstrom. Congratulations to all the new subfield prize winners!

Again, to all our graduating seniors, congratulations on completing your major in political science, your capstones, and your degrees! It was a pleasure for our faculty to have you in our courses, to direct your senior capstone projects, and to serve as your academic advisors and mentors. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Our Department’s Generous Donors.  The Department of Political Science has a large alumni network, and many of our former students have been exceptionally generous to us. Funding from donor gifts to our department support the senior capstone presentation dinners; pay for facilities for public lectures; provide the Department with discretionary funding that allows the department chair to be helpful to students and faculty alike. We are exceptionally grateful to all our donors, from those we can acknowledge to those who prefer to remain anonymous, from those who give small amounts to those who can afford to be very generous indeed.

Without the generosity of our friends and our former students, our current students – including graduating seniors – would not be as successful as they are. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our donors – scores of whom regularly and consistently give to the Department, the College, and the larger University. This funding supports tuition, keeping tuition as low as possible for all students. It supports our Flora Stone Mather Prizes, given at commencement for “outstanding academic performance in political science.” A generous gift from an anonymous donor has funded the new subfield prizes in political science, extending the number of prizes we can award to our graduating seniors from a single prize to four prizes. Discretionary funding has allowed our department to join with the other departments in Mather House to transform Mather 100 into a zoom room. Such funding supports opportunities that would otherwise not be available to our students and faculty. And all this funding contributes to a positive profile and reputation of our Department and Case Western Reserve University – that continues to benefit our graduates and alumni. Our donors – who contribute thousands of dollars to us, or just $5 – provide our students with a foothold that lifts them beyond their own valuable efforts.

To our graduates, and our continuing students, at every opportunity, I ask you recognize and to thank our donors. Emulate the example of those who – not knowing you individually – have nonetheless supported your success in our Department. Like you, many of them have student loans to pay; many are in law school or graduate school and have substantial financial challenges. Nonetheless, they give. I urge you to plan now to give to the Department on a regular basis — $5/month, as some do, a yearly gift, whatever you can. We are grateful for every contribution that will continue to make POSC a great major and our Department a great place for our students.

Thank You!  Many thanks to Ms. Jessica Jurcak, our Department Assistant who, across this past year, has helped to make our Department run smoothly. Our faculty and I rely on Jessica daily to help advance and implement the work of the Department, for prompt processing of paperwork, managing student data and documents, arranging all the facets of our semiannual Senior Capstone Presentations and the Careers Colloquium events, managing the move out of and back into Mather House (a management task that has yet to be concluded), and much more. We are all indebted to her for her conscientious work, and I thank Jessica on behalf of us all.

We also thank Brook Sabin, who joined us as our DA1 during the academic year. Brook has been a vital addition to our department, addressing a range of tasks and, most importantly, constructing and managing this weekly departmental Newsletter. To Brook, I offer the thanks of the entire department.

A Temporary (and Partial) Farewell.  Starting July 1, I will be on sabbatical, through the fall 2019 semester, as a Centennial Fellow at the American Political Science Association Centennial Center in Washington, DC. I’m looking forward to completing work in progress and to initiating work on a new research project on comparative party system change and women’s political representation. To my academic advisees, I will continue to advise you for your spring 2020 courses and, to all our students, faculty, alumni, and friends, I will be available by email. Please do keep in touch as necessary. I anticipate a happy return to the department and to the chairship in January 2020.

Again, to our graduates this weekend, congratulations! We will miss you, but we will welcome you back whenever you return to campus. Here’s to you all, and to your brilliant futures.

As always, stay calm and study political science!  

With all best wishes,

Karen Beckwith
Flora Stone Mather Professor
Chair, Department of Political Science


Please note that the Department of Political Science alerts our students to a range of opportunities, including internships, fellowships, and jobs.  We do not endorse or sponsor these, and leave it to the judgment of our students what is most useful and appropriate to them.

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