May 15, 2020 Newsletter

Opportunities and Announcements

for the Week of May 15, 2020

What an outstanding set of graduating seniors we have this year!  They are Henry Bendon, Sneha Darbha, Marin Exler, Reed Gershenson, Robert Gillison, Nicholas Leberer, Spencer Luckwitz, Aziza Mbugua, David McGrath, Sahaam Mirza, Ethan Moroh, Jacob Natowicz, Timothy O’Shea, Emad Pervez, Gillian Prater-Lee, AJ Quinn, Jacob Roth, and Amanda Spangler, as well as David Nixon and Lance Zhong, who completed their degrees in Fall 2019.  Congratulations to all our graduating senior political science majors!

As we approach commencement on Monday, we note that political science majors have won prizes awarded by our department and by CWRU to students in all the undergraduate schools.  In addition, several of our majors have been invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, a national honorary organization.  As a result, this will be a long (and happy) Newsletter.

Political Science Prizes
The Department of Political Science has four awards that can be granted to graduating political science majors.  The Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Award is the award of longest standing, founded by the former Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association and named for Western Reserve University’s College of Women’s benefactor, Flora Stone Mather.

The Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Prize is awarded to a student (or students), recognized by the political faculty, for “outstanding academic performance in political science.”  This year the Flora Stone Mather Prize has been awarded to three outstanding students:

Sneha Darbha
Gillian Joy Prater-Lee
Amanda Marie Spangler

Congratulations to Amanda, Gillian and Sneha, on their outstanding undergraduate careers and on their receipt of the Flora Stone Mather Prize!

Last year the Department of Political Science instituted three new political science subfield prizes for graduating seniors, funded by a former POSC graduate who has been a generous anonymous donor to our department.  These prizes recognize outstanding student performance in each of three major subfields:  comparative politics, international relations, and United States politics.  To qualify for a subfield prize, the student must have completed a POSC396 Senior Capstone Project in the subfield, be nominated by the faculty capstone supervisor, and, among nominees, have the highest grade point average in all political science courses.  The awardees are:

Alexander James Quinn, the Comparative Politics Prize for outstanding academic performance in comparative politics by a graduating senior majoring in political science.  His capstone, A Multilevel Analysis of Views of Immigration and Support for the European Union, was directed by Professor Justin Buchler.

Zhenyan (Lance) Zhong, the International Relations Prize for outstanding academic performance in international relations by a graduating senior majoring in political science.  The capstone project, Brexit: The Disadvantaged Majority, was supervised by Professor Kathryn Lavelle.

David Michael McGrath and Gillian Joy Prater-Lee, the US Politics Prize for outstanding academic performance in US politics by a graduating senior majoring in political science.   David McGrath’s capstone, Effects of District Competitiveness on Polarization and Bipartisanship in Congress, was directed by Professor Karen Beckwith; Gillian Prater-Lee’s capstone, directed by Professor Justin Buchler, was titled Determining the Impact of Redistricting on Communities of Interest in Ohio.

Many congratulations to all our subfield prize winners!

Graduating with Departmental Honors in Political Science.
Thirteen senior political science majors will graduate with Honors in Political Science.  These students have earned at least a 3.3 grade point average in all their undergraduate coursework and at least a 3.7 GPA in all of their political science courses.  They are:  Henry Bendon, Sneha Darbha, Marin ExlerNicholas Leberer, Spencer Luckwitz, David McGrath, Sahaam Mirza, Emad Perez, Gillian Prater-Lee, Alexander Quinn, and Amanda Spangler.

In addition, two students who graduated in Fall 2019 also qualified for departmental honors in political science:  David Nixon and Zhenyan (Lance) Zhong.

Many congratulations to these graduating political science majors for their consistently high academic performance across their undergraduate careers!

National Honorary Society:  Phi Beta Kappa
Six senior political science majors have been invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, and we congratulate them on this distinct honor.  They are Sneha Darbha, Nicolas Leberer, David McGrath, Sahaam Mirza, Gillian Prater-Lee, and Amanda Spangler.  Thanks to Professor Laura Tartakoff for sharing this happy news, and congratulations to our students!

CWRU Prizes
CWRU announced undergraduate awards on May 8, 2020.  Political Science majors won several of these.

Katharine Toledo was honored with a Unity Banquet Scholarship at the 30th annual Unity Banquet Friday, May 1. Unity Scholarships support study abroad, research, attending a national conference, and tuition.

Joel Fuentes won the Outstanding Junior Student Leadership Award, and Marin Exler won the President’s Award.  The Student Leadership Awards were created by Dorothy Pijan in 1986 to recognize and honor Case Western Reserve University’s outstanding undergraduate student leaders.

Student Activities & Leadership also recognized students “who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to support and assist the CWRU community during the COVID-19 crisis.”  Four political science majors have been recognized as “CWRU Campus Heroes:”  Marin Exler, Joel Fuentes, Emma Risley, and Jacob Roth.

Congratulations to all our students who won awards and recognition from CWRU this year!

A Few Things Left for Students to Do:
Our department – faculty and students – faced an enormous challenge this spring in shifting from in-person classes to remote online teaching and learning.  Course evaluations this year included specific questions about this transition, and the faculty have already been surveyed about their experiences in adapting the requirements of teaching safely during a pandemic.  CWRU has asked that students complete a similar survey about their classroom experience this semester, to help us understand and prepare for teaching in Fall 2020.

From the CWRU Daily:

Students: Take a survey regarding your remote learning experience

As Case Western Reserve wraps up a spring semester unlike any other, we find ourselves acting as a true research university by asking big questions: What worked this spring? What didn’t? This type of understanding is important as members of the campus community continue thinking about how to prepare for the fall semester amid much uncertainty.

The Office of the Provost has launched a survey of students to learn about experiences so far, and to help plan for the fall. The survey will be open through Sunday, May 17, so the university can move quickly in collecting the results and making plans for the fall.

Take the survey.

What Some of Our Graduating Seniors Will Be Doing, Post-BA.
Our graduating majors have some interesting post-graduation plans, a subset of which are listed below.

Sneha Darbha has been admitted to the New York University School of Law, as a candidate for a JD degree.  David McGrath will also be at the New York University, as a PhD candidate in NYU’s Department of Political Science.  Timothy O’Shea will be working on his M.A. degree at the New York University Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies.  Gillian Prater-Lee will attend graduate school at the Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Geography in a MS-to-PhD Program, with a research assistantship studying urban governance, gentrification and housing in Cleveland.  A. J. Quinn will be completing his Master’s Degree in Business Analytics at CWRU’s Weatherhead School (a degree he began this year as an IGS student).  Nicholas Leberer is applying for a range of opportunities in New York and Ohio.  Ethan Moroh is planning on working as he decides about applying for law school.  Amanda Spangler has been admitted to several law schools and is waiting to decide which she will attend next year.

The End of a Highly Unusual Academic Year. 
The Department of Political Science has had a tumultuous year.  We have had two department chairs.  Professor Elliot Posner was Acting Chair in the fall term, and Professor Karen Beckwith returned from sabbatical to resume the chairship in the spring term.  Two department assistants resigned in January, and we were not able to replace either.  During our spring break in March, the global pandemic of the coronavirus hit the United States.  Our courses were moved at short notice from in-class to remote online teaching and learning, and the campus was closed, keeping faculty from our offices and dispersing our students.  Our department meetings and the Wellman Hill Public Service Internship Grants competition moved to Zoom.

Yet the faculty have not only managed; we have continued to educate our students and to do a “very good” to “excellent” job in doing so, as our teaching evaluations make clear.  We have advised and prepared (to the extent possible) our rising juniors and seniors for the next academic year.  We have concluded the Wellman Hill competition, identifying four awardees (see last week’s Newsletter).  Visiting Assistant Professors Matthew Hodgetts and Girma Parris will continue with us next year.

And our students continue to thrive, even in these uncertain and frightening circumstances.  Our graduating seniors are clear evidence of this, as are the successes and endeavors of our continuing students.  We wish our graduating seniors well and we celebrate all their successes, large and small, across this difficult academic year.  To our graduates, please keep in touch, and let us know whenever you might return to campus.

To our continuing students, the faculty look forward to seeing all of our majors in our classes in the fall, to advising them well for their undergraduate careers, and to mentoring them as they, too, prepare to go out into the world.

As always, stay calm, stay connected, and study political science.

With all best wishes,

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

Return to the Statehouse: What Policy Priorities will Prevail?
May 15, 12:30-1:30pm, Virtual Forum from the City Club
After sheltering in place for nearly two months, Ohioans – and Ohio’s economy – are beginning to emerge and prepare for a new reality. As Ohio lawmakers return to work for the first time since March 25, what policy responses will be prioritized?

Current Opportunities

Virtual Volunteering Opportunities
The CWRU Center for Civic Engagement and Learning has compiled a list of virtual volunteering opportunities, several of which are political science related.

Summer Opportunities

Progressive Policy Institute Internships
PPI offers a range of internships, including the possibility of remote internships during the COVID-19 crisis. Summer internship applications are due May 15. Fall internship applications will be accepted starting July 1.

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

The Borgen Project
The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization aiming to end global poverty, offers telecommute internships in journalism, political affairs, and human resources.

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.

International Security Positions
Deadlines for international security positions beginning summer 2021 can be as early as this spring due to security clearance requirements.  If you are interested in such positions, begin to monitor and U.S. federal agency web sites regularly now.

Graduating Senior Opportunities

Graduate Public Policy & Management Program 
The Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, offering graduate degrees in Public Policy and Management has reopened their Fall 2020 Graduate Applications.  The GRE/GMAT requirement has been waived for new applicants.

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 media production fellowship positions are due May 31.

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.

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.

City Year
The role of a City Year AmeriCorps member is designed to help students build the social-emotional and academic skills to achieve their goals. The next application deadline is May 29, 2020.

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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