March 20, 2020 Newsletter

Opportunities and Announcements

for the Week of March 20, 2020

The Department of Political Science
With in-class teaching moved to remote teaching online, the Department of Political Science has succeeded in convening our courses and in continuing our teaching.  Faculty have been working remotely with our senior capstone students and academic advisors have communicating with our advisees as we approach registration for the Fall 2020 semester.  Students should feel free to contact their professors, as well as me, as Chair of Department, with any questions. A list of POSC faculty contact information is available on the POSC webpage here.  I can be reached at

See here for updates of CWRU’s response to COVID-19 and for answers to frequently asked questions.

Some of Us Have Seen [Some of] This Before
In the spring of 1970, I was a sophomore political science major at the University of Kentucky, during the height (or depth) of the Vietnam War.  When it was learned that President Nixon had ordered US troops to cross the border into Cambodiastudent protests erupted around the country .and students organized a national student strike that involved more than 400 colleges and universities.  At UK, student protests exploded; a non-essential ROTC building was set ablaze (it was never clear who was culpable); and the governor ordered National Guard troops onto campus to keep the peace.  I will never forget being with graduate students and faculty, looking down from the offices of the UK Department of Political Science in Patterson Office Tower, as the National Guard tear-gassed students, staff, groundskeepers, and passers-by outside of the Student Union Building.

The invasion of Cambodia took place in late April, near the end of the semester and the academic year.  UK shut down for the remainder of the academic year; students and faculty dispersed; final exams and papers were adjusted to accommodate the closure.  Seniors managed to graduate and to go on to law school, graduate school, and employment. In the fall, students and faculty returned to campus and, more or less, everything returned to normal.

Universities have existed for nearly a millennium.  The University of Bologna (1088), Oxford University (1096), and the University of Salamanca (1134), for examples, have been in continuous operation since their founding.  In the US, Harvard (1636) and the College of William and Mary (1693) are the oldest universities. William and Mary shut down during the Civil War, given the institution’s precarious location in Virginia, and recovered.  Although we do not know yet what the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be – but we know it will be severe, I am confident that CWRU will survive – and not only survive, but will contribute to the scientific and public policy solutions to this challenge.

A Natural Experiment re: Federalism
Clearly there is a major place for political science research during this crisis.  As the federal government responds to the coronavirus crisis, governors in various states have responded in their own ways, likely to produce variation in public policy and in policy outcomes.  As unitary states like France, Italy, and the UK respond to the crisis, will federal systems like Canada, India, and the US differ in policy terms?  Will citizens in countries with national health care systems fare better than citizens in countries where healthcare is privatized and linked to employment?  What level of legitimacy and trust in government will be necessary for citizens to comply with government orders that close schools, businesses, religious institutions, public transportation, and national borders?  These are questions that medicine and science cannot answer without political science. As we move our classes and our research online, as political scientists, we have an opportunity to contribute to the solutions to the challenges posed by this pandemic.

This is also a time for political scientists to analyze the role of political executives – presidents and prime ministers – in their ability to rally their citizens and to address the challenge of a worldwide pandemic, the like of which we have never seen.  For me, the most eloquent example has been Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland.  His message to the Irish people, on St. Patrick’s Day, a national holiday in Ireland, was this:  “In years to come, let them say of us: when things were at their worst, we were at our best.”  Let’s make this true of us as well. 

As always, stay calm and study political science.

With all best wishes,

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

Current Opportunities

Students for Biden
The Biden Campaign is seeking students to assist on with the former vice president’s 2020 presidential campaign.  Students may email with any questions about the program.

All Politics is Local (APiL) Conference and Call for Papers
The 17th annual APiL Conference for undergraduate students interested in Political Science and International Relations is Saturday, April 18, 2020 at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. Students may present papers or posters in any areas of the conference’s discipline. Registration for those presenting papers is due by April 1 and papers are due by April 10.  For more information on the conference and the call for papers, click here.


Scholarship Opportunities

OCCDF Public Service Scholarship
The Ohio Conference of Community Development Public Service Scholarship is intended to help students dedicated to a career in public service.  Applications are due by April 13.

Summer Funding Opportunities
CWRU’s Baker-Nord Center offers three different grant competitions for summer funding.  Applications are due April 15, 2020.


Summer Opportunities

ICPSR Summer Program
The ICPSR Summer Program offers rigorous training in quantitative methods and data analysis.  This program offers more than 80 courses in Ann Arbor, Michigan and other cities across the U.S.  Scholarships for the program are available.  The deadline for all ICPSR scholarships is March 31.

Department of Veteran Affairs Summer Internship
The VA National Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) provides internship opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students. Applications are open year-round.

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
The FDD offers a variety of unpaid internships to undergraduate students. Applications are open until all positions are filled.

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Governmental Affairs Summer Internship
The APLU CGA internship is an unpaid opportunity for students with an interest in politics and the political process, as well as for those interested in higher education and/or science or technology policy. Applications should be submitted 2 months prior to the start date of the internship.

American Enterprise Institute Summer Internships
AEI provides various internships to undergraduate students. Internships are unpaid, but applicants can apply for a scholarship to provide a monthly stipend. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.

City of Canton Mayor’s Internship Program
The City of Canton Mayor’s office provides students with real work experience, while exposing participants to the diverse functions and operations of a municipal government. Applications should be submitted 1-2 months before anticipated start date.


Graduating Senior Opportunities

Rotary Peace Fellowship
The Rotary Peace Fellowship program awards up to 130 fully funded fellowships for dedicated leaders to study at one of their peace centers in either their master’s degree program or professional development certificate program. Applications close July 1, 2020 for the 2021-2022 fellowship.

Ohio Legislative Service Commission Legislative Fellowship Program
The LSC sponsors 23 – 24 paid thirteen-month legislative fellowship positions designed to provide college graduates with practical experience in the legislative process. The fellowship program begins the first week in December of each year and continues through December 31 of the following year. Applications for legislative fellowship positions are due April 1. Applications for media production fellowship positions are due May 31.

EPIK invites recently graduated students from English-speaking countries with a motivation to share their knowledge and language with Korean students and teachers through teaching classes. Applications are open from February to July for the Fall term.


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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