Political Science Newsletter- October 2016





The political science program will be sponsoring a student trip to Washington, D.C. over Spring Break 2017 (March 4-12). The trip is a required portion of the course POLSC 177 (GS). The class is taught by Dr. Robert Speel, associate professor of political science at Penn State Behrend.

The exact itinerary will not be determined until February next year, but on past such trips, the group has met with all of our local members of Congress, with officials at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the embassies of Australia, Romania, Botswana, India, Ireland, Canada, Jamaica, Estonia. Bulgaria, Latvia, and Indonesia. We have toured the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the C-SPAN studios. We have participated in seminars held in the Supreme Court chambers, Ford's Theatre, and the Federal Reserve Board room. Among the highlights of the trip will be meetings or tours with Penn State Behrend alumni who work on Capitol Hill, for federal government agencies, as policy analysts, or as political consultants in Washington.

We always visit Arlington National Cemetery and all the most famous monuments and memorials. Free time is provided to visit museums such as the Newseum, the International Spy Museum, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the various Smithsonian Museums, as well as the National Zoo. Students have also attended major sports and entertainment events in Washington, D.C. during the evening. Students should be aware that most of the places we visit during the week are only available to student groups in Washington and not to individual tourists. Some of the places we visit may provide the only opportunity some will have in their lives to tour certain government buildings or meet with certain officials in Washington.

The trip is associated with the political science course POLSC 177 (GS), and students will be required to sign up for either a three credit or one credit version of the course in order to take the trip. The three credit version of the course will involve weekly class meetings before and after the trip, to be held on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 4:35 PM. We will meet twice a week in February and then end early in April. Most of the time in Washington is also considered class time. In addition, the three credit version of the class will involve assigned readings, quizzes, some research, and short papers appropriate for a three credit course.

The one credit version of the course will include participation in the trip and a 10-page paper to be written after the trip. It is intended for students who would like to participate in the trip to Washington, but who don't necessarily need a three credit political science course. 

The three credits or one credit can be used for both the political science major and minor in the subfields of American government or international politics. The course can also be used to fulfill the "Crime and Public Policy" area requirement for the Crime, Psychology, and Public Policy certificate. And students in all majors can use the course to fulfill GS general education requirements. Some majors will allow the course to fulfill other specific requirements. The course and trip are open to students in all majors. There is no prerequisite.

In Washington our group will stay at the Virginian Suites hotel. The hotel is located in Arlington, VA, just across the Potomac River from Washington, and is a brief walk from a Washington Metro (subway) stop. Each room in the hotel contains two queen-sized beds, a pull out sofa bed, a full kitchen, television, furniture, private bathroom, and closet space. A chartered bus will transport students between campus and Washington.

Dr. Nicole Shoenberger, assistant professor of sociology, will be joining us on the trip. 

More details, costs, deadlines, and photos from previous trips can be found on our Spring Trip website.



PL SC 419 The Bureaucratic State: Was there a time in American history when heroin was legal and alcohol was illegal? How were drug laws created and enforced before there was a DEA? Did the FBI or the CIA come first? Do you know the story of how their first powerful leaders shaped the agencies? How were veterans treated before the Veterans Administration (VA) was established? What famous American military hero ordered veterans who were storming the U.S. Capitol building to be shot? The answers to these and many other interesting questions are answered and discussed in “The Bureaucratic State” (PL SC 419). By focusing on agencies like the L.C.B. (Liquor Control Board), the class seeks to familiarize students with the modern American bureaucratic state, its history, and how it was developed. In tracking the unprecedented growth of the federal government in the twentieth century, and role of modern regulatory agencies, the course seeks to enable students to understand key concepts of public policy, and to provide an understanding of how public policy is shaped by, and implemented in, the bureaucratic state. Whether discussing large federal bureaucracies like the Department of State, or small, local agencies like the Erie County Board of Health, the course examines the various actors in the policy process, and the influence they have in the evaluation, development and implementation of public policy.

PL SC 428: Gender and Politics: Are you a man or are you a woman, really? You see, advertising provides us with gender imperatives. Does it have to be one way or the other, masculine or feminine? Wear make-up when you want, or shop in the men's department, where the clothes are cheaper and more durable. Who, exactly, determines what it means to be a man or a woman? It would be good if we chose for ourselves. No matter what the politicians say, politics is theater, for better or for worse. So, what will your life say on the stage? Traditional? Progressive? Anarchist rebel? Sign up for Gender and Politics and take a look inside.

PL SC 430W - Selected Works in Political Theory: The Enlightenment is first of all an educational revolution. In the new sciences of understanding, developed by John Locke, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant, the opinion and belief obtainable by the ordinary person cease to qualify as much more than delusion. In the correlative Enlightenment philosophies of politics, despite the proclamations as to the universal rights of all human beings, only philosophers are really certified to possess anything remotely resembling truth. We will examine Locke’s Letters on Education along with his Conduct of the Human Understanding, Hume’s Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, and Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. This is a writing intensive class. Students will compose papers for each thinker in addition to the examination.

PL SC 442: American Foreign Policy is about the principles of American foreign policy; processes of policy formulation; roles of the President, Congress, the State Department, and other government agencies.

SOC 412: Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System will discuss public opinion on crime; criminal justice and correctional processes; legal sanctions; control strategies.



Starting in Fall 2017, a new minor in Crime, Law, and Psychology for students interested in criminal justice will be available at Penn State Behrend. The minor will require students to take two sociology courses, two political science courses, and two psychology courses related to the study of criminal justice. To get more information about the minor, contact Dr. Nicole Shoenberger at [email protected].



  • SOC/CRIMJ 012 - Criminology


Select 1 course from the following 400 level Psychology Courses (3 credits)

  • PSYCH 445 - Forensic Psychology
  • PSYCH 473 - Behavior Modification
  • PSYCH 476 - Child Psychopathology

Select 1 course from the following 400 level Political Science Courses (3 credits)

  • PL SC 471 - American Constitutional Law
  • PL SC 472 - The American Legal Process
  • PL SC 482 - American State and Urban Politics
  • PL SC 487 - International Law and Organizations

 Select 1 course from an approved list of Sociology Courses (3 credits) (Initial approved list)

  • SOC/CRIMJ 013 (GS) - Juvenile Delinquency
  • SOC/CRIMJ 406 - Deviant Behavior

Select 1 course from an approved list of Psychology Courses (3 credits) (Initial approved list)

  • PSYCH 221 (GS) - Introduction to Social Psychology
  • PSYCH 232 (GS, US, IL) - Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • PSYCH 238 (GS) - Introduction to Personality Psychology
  • PSYCH 270 - Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYCH 414 - Social and Personality Development
  • PSYCH 438 - Personality Theory
  • PSYCH 442 - Trauma and Resiliency
  • PSYCH 445 - Forensic Psychology
  • PSYCH 473 - Behavior Modification
  • PSYCH 476 - Child Psychopathology

Select 1 course from an approved list of Political Science Courses (3 credits) (Initial approved list)

  • PL SC 002 - American Public Policy
  • PL SC 123 (GS, US, IL) - Ethnic and Racial Politics
  • PL SC 177 (GS) - Politics and Government in Washington, D.C.
  • PL SC 178 - Organized Crime, Law, and Politics
  • PL SC 419 - The Bureaucratic State
  • PL SC 439 - The Politics of Terrorism
  • PL SC 471 - American Constitutional Law
  • PL SC 472 - The American Legal Process
  • PL SC 473 - American Judicial Behavior
  • PL SC 482 - American State and Urban Politics
  • PL SC 487 - International Law and Organizations
  • PL SC 489 - Public Administration



Starting immediately, requirements for the Penn State Behrend POLSC major have changed:

  • All students must take PL SC 014. Previously, students could take either PL SC 014 or INTST 100 - INTST 100 will still count as one of the 36 credits of PL SC courses needed for the major.
  • POLSC majors can take either PL SC 007, or PL SC 017, or PL SC 017W. Previously, students had to take either PL SC 017 or PL SC 017W, and PL SC 007 was not an alternative.



As mentioned in last month's newsletter, 21% of our alumni have careers in government service.

Among the 72 alumni who work in government service:

  • 28 work for the federal government 
  • 20 work for state governments
  • 12 work for local governments
  • 12 are career military

Among those working for the government are 7 who work as law enforcement officers at the local, state, or federal level.  12 alumni work as government attorneys.

Two alumni hold elected office - a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate and the District Attorney for Potter County, Pennsylvania

Federal government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • CIA agent
  • Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Senior Inspector, U.S. Marshals Service
  • U.S. Capitol Police officer
  • Research Analyst, FBI
  • Case Analyst, Social Security Administration
  • International Relations Officer, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Revenue Officer, Internal Revenue Service
  • Supervisor and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Senior Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Database Administrator, U.S. Senate Office of Public Records
  • U.S. Border Patrol agent
  • Community Planning and Development Representative, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

State government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • Pennsylvania State Senator
  • Pennsylvania State Police trooper
  • Deputy Director for Community Development, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development 
  • Environmental Planner, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Executive Director, Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team
  • Director of Adult Protective Services, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Local government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • Chair, Human Relations Commission, City of Durham, North Carolina
  • Caseworker, Erie County Office of Children and Youth
  • Police Officer, Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department
  • Park Ranger, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Those with military careers are serving in the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Marines.



Election Day in Pennsylvania is Tuesday, November 8. The Office of Student Activities and the Student Government Association will be setting up rides to the local polling place for students who live on campus. Watch for emails or other advertising on campus for more details.



The Political Science Society is organizing a carnival outside Bruno's on Election Day - there will be snack treats available, and students will answer questions about voting. The group meets weekly on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in Kochel 055. For more information, contact President Colleen Lorei at [email protected] or Vice President Gretchen Berry Haislip at [email protected].

College Democrats is next meeting on Thursday, November 3, at 8:00 p.m., in a room to be announced, to discuss upcoming club elections and Get Out The Vote Weekend before Election Day. For more information, contact President Domonic Mathews at [email protected].

College Republicans is organizing Election Day volunteer activities and a future campus dinner with local Republican officials. For more information, contact President Justin Gallagher at [email protected].

Model African Union is planning to attend the annual MAU Conference held at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in February. The group will be representing the country of Botswana at the conference. To get more information about MAU, contact Dr. Naaborle Sackeyfio at [email protected].

Model United Nations is planning events for the rest of this academic year and meets on Monday evenings. For more information, contact President Alexis O'Neal at [email protected].



Dr. John Gamble, Distinguished Professor of Political Science & International Law, will travel to Australia in early November to attend a workshop at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. The topic of the workshop—Challenging Words—is very pertinent to his sabbatical research. Dr. Gamble notes that one of President Washington’s major unmet goals was a U.S. National University. Australia, also a federal system, created ANU in 1946.

Dr. Kilic Kanat, Assistant Professor of Political Science, continues to publish columns for Daily Sabah, an English-language newspaper in Turkey. Those columns, of which the most recent is titled "Turkey's Latest Operations in Northern Syria," can be found Daily Sabah website.

Dr. Nicole Rosen, Lecturer in Sociology, along with co-authors Stacey Nofziger and Rachel Simon, has published “Comparing Children’s and Caseworker’s Reports of Physical Violence,” in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence (2016).

Dr. Nicole Shoenberger, Assistant Professor of Sociology, has published two recent articles: "Born into Deviance: Disaffiliation Processes for First and Second-Generation New Religious Movement Members," in the Journal of Religion and Society, with co-author Chris Grayburn (a Penn State Behrend, who graduated in May 2016), and "The Life Course Perspective Through the Lens of Race," in the International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory.

Dr. Robert Speel, Associate Professor of Political Science, has been interviewed for several recent articles in the Sunbury Daily Item newspaper about this year's presidential candidate debates and a U.S. Senate candidate debate in Pennsylvania. Earlier this month, he was interviewed on the Matt Townsend Show on BYU Radio, carried on Sirius XM Radio and the DISH Network, about famous moments in presidential debate history.



All students and alumni are invited to like the Penn State Behrend political science Facebook page and get updated news and find out about events.