Political Science Newsletter - October 2022

THIS MONTH'S HEADLINES:

  1. SPRING BREAK TRIP AND COURSE IN WASHINGTON
  2. PENN STATE GRANT MONEY FOR TRAVEL COSTS
  3. PENN STATE FEATURE ARTICLE ON DR. MIKAELA KARTSTENS
  4. CZECH VISITING SCHOLAR IN POLITICAL SCIENCE
  5. PUBLIC POLICY FUND EVENT ABOUT UKRAINE
  6. CAREERS OF BEHREND POLSC ALUMNi
  7. FACULTY IN THE NEWS
  8. STUDENT GROUP NEWS
  9. ELECTION DAY AND VOTER REGISTRATION
  10. FACEBOOK PAGE

1. SPRING BREAK TRIP AND COURSE IN WASHINGTON

The Political Science program organizes a student trip to Washington, D.C., over Spring Break during every odd-numbered year. The next trip will take place over Spring Break 2023. The trip is a required portion of the course PL SC 177N (GS/GH). The class is taught by Dr. Robert Speel, Associate Professor of Political Science. Dr. Maggie Shum, Assistant Professor of Political Science, will also accompany the group in Washington, D.C., in 2023.

The exact itinerary will not be determined until February of 2023, 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, Slovakia, 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 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 many of the places and people 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 177N (GS/GH), and students will be required to sign up for either a 3-credit or 1-credit version of the course in order to take the trip. The 3-credit version of the course will involve class meetings on campus before and after the trip. In addition, the 3-credit version of the class will involve assigned readings, quizzes, some research, and short papers appropriate for a 3-credit course.

The 1-credit version of the course will include participation in the trip and a 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 3-credit political science or general education course. The course and trip are open to students in all majors. There is no prerequisite.

In Washington, our group will stay at The River Inn hotel in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Some travel expenses related to the course and admissions fees in Washington are covered by alumni and alumnae donations and by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Endowment Fund.

For more details about PLSC 177, how to register for the course and pay travel costs, and to see photos from past trips, visit the course website.

Brochures about the trip are also available at the H&SS School Office, 170 Kochel, and outside Dr. Speel's office, 156 Kochel.

Questions can be sent to Dr. Speel.

2. PENN STATE GRANT MONEY FOR TRAVEL COSTS

Penn State's Student Engagement Network provides grant money to cover travel costs associated with classes and off-campus learning experiences, including the trip to Washington, D.C.

3. PENN STATE FEATURE ARTICLE ON DR. MIKAELA KARTSTENS

Dr. Mikaela Karstens of Penn State Behrend's Political Science program was featured last week in a Penn State article about becoming the first Penn State Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow. This new program allows recent Ph.D. recipients from the Penn State College of Liberal Arts to teach at another Penn State campus. Next semester, Dr. Karstens will be teaching courses at Behrend on Political Research and on Civil Wars.

4. CZECH VISITING SCHOLAR IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Penn State Behrend's Political Science Program has been hosting a visiting scholar this semester from the Czech Republic. Jiří Nykodým, a student at Masaryk University in the International Relations and European Politics Master's program, has been working on collaborative research projects with Dr. Lena Surzhko-Harned and will make a presentation about his research at Behrend later this semester. He has also been an active basketball player since childhood and coaches a middle school basketball team in the Czech Republic.

5. PUBLIC POLICY FUND EVENT ABOUT UKRAINE

On Monday, October 24, at noon EDT via Zoom, Public Policy Fund Associate Director Dr. Lena Surzhko Harned talks about the Russian War in Ukraine and the Global Food Crisis with Dr. Oleg Nivievskyi. Nivievskyi is an Assistant Professor at Kyiv School of Economics and a coordinator of the UaFoodTrade Research Project conducted jointly with the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).

Find out more about this and other Public Policy Fund programs by visiting their website.

6. CAREERS OF BEHREND POLSC ALUMNI

Every few years, we compile some statistics about the careers of Behrend alumni who graduated with a political science degree. Last month's newsletter covered the careers of Behrend political science alumni with professional business positions.

Over the next several months, the newsletter will contain some more details about the different careers of our POLSC alumni.

This month, we focus on POLSC alumni with current careers in law.

Among the 84 alumni who work in the legal field are:

  • 43 attorneys who own or work for small or large law firms
  • 12 government attorneys
  • 12 attorneys who work for private businesses or non-profit groups
  • 10 paralegals or legal assistants
  • 2 mediators
  • 4 who are currently in law school
  • 1 law librarian

Some government attorneys work for:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • New York City Administration for Children's Services
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • Ohio Attorney General
  • Warren County (PA) District Attorney's office
  • Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Michigan Bureau of Elections

Some of the corporate and non-profit counsels work for:

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Peoples Natural Gas
  • GEICO
  • KidsVoice
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Marathon Petroleum

Among the law schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

  • Cornell University
  • Syracuse University
  • New York University
  • Duquesne University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • The George Washington University
  • University of Maryland
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Michigan State University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Vermont Law School
  • University of Michigan
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School
  • Ave Maria School of Law
  • Widener University
  • University of Dayton
  • Cleveland Marshall College of Law
  • Penn State Dickinson School of Law
  • University of Buffalo
  • Willamette University
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Catholic University of Washington, D.C.
  • Boston College

Next month's newsletter will spotlight the 83 Behrend political science alumni with careers in government service.

Full details about the careers of Penn State Behrend political science alumni can be found on our website.

7. FACULTY IN THE NEWS

  • Dr. Mikaela Karstens, Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow of Political Science, presented a paper titled "Warning Shots: Low-Level Repression as a Signal of Violent State Resolve," for a panel about Strategies of Repression at the American Political Science Association's Annual Meeting in Montreal last month.
  • Dr. Maggie Shum, Assistant Professor of Political Science, contributed a short piece on the Brazilian election at the Inter-American Dialogue's daily Latin America Advisor. She also spoke about how issues surrounding both COVID and religion may affect the results of the election in Brazil at a panel organized by the Kellogg Institute of International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Dr. Lena Surzhko-Harned was promoted to the position of Associate Teaching Professor of Political Science this past summer.

8. STUDENT GROUP NEWS

  • College Republicans meet every Tuesday between 3:00-4:00 p.m. in Burke 102. To get involved, contact President Noah Esper.
  • College Democrats meet Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in one of the Reed conference rooms and provide opportunities to work on local political campaigns. To get involved, contact President Mallory Flesik.
  • The Behrend Political Society meets on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. To get involved, contact President Spencer Finley.
  • Behrend Model United Nations meets on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. in Reed 113. The group is planning to participate in the International Model NATO conference in Washington, D.C., next February. Students who are interested in getting involved should contact President Madison Kwiecinski because meeting times might change in the future for students unable to get to the current Wednesday afternoon time.

9. ELECTION DAY AND VOTER REGISTRATION

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, this year.

October 24 is the last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania if you would like to vote in this year's election. If you are not already registered to vote, you can register online.

You can also request a mail ballot at that same website. The deadline to apply for that is November 1, but the ballot must be received at the county voter office by Election Day, November 8, so if you want to vote by mail, you need to request that as early as possible since postal mail times can be unpredictable.

If you vote locally in the Erie area on Election Day, you won't need a mail ballot (unless you prefer to vote that way).

10. FACEBOOK PAGE

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