Thursday, February 11, 2016

Why do we care about Iowa and New Hampshire?

On January 20, 1977 Jimmy Carter took the oath of office to become the 39th President of the United States.  However, when Carter—a one-term governor from Georgia—announced his bid for the presidency on December 12, 1974, very few Americans had any idea who he was.  The Atlanta Constitution (now The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Carter’s hometown newspaper, ran a story after Carter’s entrance into the race entitled, “Jimmy Who?”  Despite the fact that very few people knew who he was and there were 11 other candidates already in the race, Carter threw his hat into the ring, traveled to 40 different states and stopped in more than 250 cities across the country.  He put more effort into campaigning in Iowa than any of the other candidates in the race and ended up finishing at the top of the pack with 27% of the vote.  He used this surprise victory to propel him to victory in New Hampshire and ultimately the nomination.  Jimmy Carter thus demonstrated the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire in the nominating process.  Winning early helps candidates building momentum—or “Big Mo” according to George H. W. Bush—which helps candidates demonstrate viability and electability to potential voters. 

Jimmy Carter greets voters at the Iowa State Fair in 1976.

Gary Hart was in his second term in the U.S. Senate when he decided to throw his hat in the ring for the 1984 Democratic nomination.  Hart was polling around 1% in national polls, falling behind well-known Democrats Walter Mondale, John Glenn, and Jesse Jackson.  To combat his low approval numbers, Hart hit the ground in New Hampshire, making multiple stops and conducting various canvassing events throughout the entire state.  Hart managed to win 16% of the vote in Iowa, losing to Mondale by 33%.  However, two weeks later, Hart defeated Mondale by 10% in New Hampshire thanks to his ground game in the state.  Hart ultimately lost the nomination race, while Carter was able to win.  Nonetheless, New Hampshire made Hart a viable candidate, with him and Mondale volleying wins back and forth until June.  Without Hart’s surprise win in New Hampshire, Mondale likely would have wrapped up the nomination very quickly. 

Gary Hart celebrates his New Hampshire primary win in 1984.

So, what is it about Iowa and New Hampshire that help us select our presidents?  Surprise victors generally end up looking more viable and electable than many voters originally thought.  These surprise winners are also rewarded with more media attention and more donations, helping them compete more strongly in upcoming contests.  While Iowa and New Hampshire are not perfect predictors for who the eventual nominee will be, they help candidates make a name for themselves, especially if that candidate is not well known to begin with.  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

History and Political Science News

News and Updates from the History and Political Science Department

Student Internships 

Keyla Marte (2016, Political Science) is currently taking part in the New York State Assembly Internship Program: a paid, academic program in which students directly participate in state government.  Keyla is working in the office of Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-97th District) where her primary responsibilities are dedicated to education policy issues. Keyla's senior thesis project, which she successfully defended in the Fall, evaluated the impact of charter school movement in New York State on the pubic education system. 

Watch for an upcoming guest blog post from Keyla on her Albany experience. And read more here about Keyla's experience in the Washington Internship Program. 

Ashley Cheff (2016, Political Science) has the rare opportunity and honor of interning in the offices of both of New York's United States Senators: Senator Charles Schumer (D) and Kristen Gillibrand (D). 

Watch for an upcoming guest blog post from Ashley on her internship experiences.   

Alumni News 

Congratulations to Victoria Velazquez Walker (2011, Political Science) who received her J.D. from the Charlotte School of Law in December, 2015.  While at Daemen, Victoria completed a senior thesis with a focus on policy issues concerning the war in Iraq, military policies, and the welfare of returning American troops.  Her areas of interest include corporate law, compliance and procedures.  Victoria is also involved in pro bono work related to veterans issues, poverty and social justice.  She lives in North Carolina with her family.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How can I get a job with that? Career advice for humanities majors

Feeding the History major

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured a recent story about career training for students majoring in the humanities (English, history, philosophy, languages, etc.) written by a professor who had created a course to help students majoring in English find jobs (see "Feeding the English Major for the 21st Century"), Her advice also applies to students majoring in history, or indeed in any Arts & Sciences field. While students majoring in business, education, or journalism spend a lot of time talking about how their degree can lead to a job, students majoring in humanities fields are often left on their own to figure out what to do after graduation.

The good news is that the knowledge and skills developed through studying the humanities are finally back in the spotlight. The key is understanding what you know and being able to see how your knowledge and skills as marketable and valuable, adaptable to a wide variety of potential jobs/careers. It is also essential to develop digital skills and to be creative as you think about how to apply your knowledge and skills in different contexts. Start by talking with your faculty advisor and our Career Services office. Daemen's History & Political Science Department will also be introducing courses in the Digital Humanities next year to help students develop and apply digital skills.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Roundtable Discussion of Russia's War on Terror

On Monday, November 16, Dr. Michael Slobodchikoff and Dr. Tomasz Pudlocki led a roundtable discussion on Russia’s War on Terror, as part of the History and Political Science Speaker Series.  The event was well attended, as Drs. Slobodchikoff and Pudlocki spoke to over 100 people in the audience. 

Dr. Slobodchikoff spoke about Syria’s civil war and how ISIL factors into the problems in Syria, as it is the major opposition faction in Syria.  He also spoke about Russia’s interests in Syria as well as the surrounding Middle Eastern region.  These interests include preventing extremism and terrorism from spreading to Russia, protecting long-time allies, protecting military bases, protecting business interests, among many others. 

Dr. Slobodchikoff also spoke about recent terrorist activity.  Russian Flight 9268 crashed en route to St. Petersburg, Russia from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.  ISIL took credit for the crash, which Russia responded to by cancelling all flights to and from Egypt.  He also spoke about the recent attacks on Paris, France.  ISIL has also claimed credit for the bombings and death of over 100 people in these attacks. 

Dr. Pudlocki spoke about the Syrian crisis from the perspective of Central Europe.  He discussed the current refugee crisis as a result of the Syrian civil war, economic downturn, and terrorist activity.  He commented on how central Europe has been responding to the influx of refugees and the struggles faced by these refugees fleeing terror in their home countries. 

The Department of History and Political Science would like to thank Dr. Slobodchikoff and Dr. Pudlocki for an engaging roundtable on this very relevant topic.  We also thank the Division of Arts and Sciences for co-sponsoring the event.  

For more information on this roundtable discussion, you can see press coverage of the event at the links provided below.  The History and Political Science Department was happy to see some of our students featured in the reports!  

Monday, November 23, 2015

2015 G.O.L.D. Award Recipient Stephanie Foreman (Political Science, 2006)

Making a Difference 

Stephanie Foreman, 2015 Graduate of the Last Decade Award Winner 
On November 3, 2015, Stephanie Foreman (2006, Political Science) was recognized as the 2015 Daemen College Graduate of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) at the annual Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony. Accepting the honor, Stephanie spoke of the lessons she derived from her experience as an undergraduate political science major at Daemen College, including making the most of every leaning opportunity.

Stephanie is a financial professional at Prudential Financial and the founding president of the Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals (BULYP). The distinguished alumni profile summarizes her many accomplishments:

Under Stephanie’s leadership, BULYP has been recognized from a number of different individuals and organizations, including the MLK Community Service Award from City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Erie County Legislature Proclamation presented by Rep. Barbara Miller-Williams and, most notably, Outstanding National Rookie Chapter of the Year at the 2014 National Urban League Conference Young Professionals Summit. Some of Stephanie’s other affiliations include Member of the Board of Directors for the Buffalo Urban League, Field Advisory Council for Prudential, Secretary for the Judges Row Block Club Association, Mentor for the Youth Entrepreneurial Program, Member of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce and Member of the group Women in Networking. Stephanie has also received numerous awards and accolades for her work, including being a recipient of the CHANGEMAKERS 30 Under 30 Award in 2014, Million Dollar Roundtable for Prudential Insurance in 2011 and 2012, Life Concierge for Prudential Insurance in 2012 and 2013, Masters Council for Prudential Annuities in 2012 and 2014 and the Women Touching the World Award in 2015.
President Gary Olson and Stephanie Foreman 
Stephanie is the third graduate of the History and Political Science department to win this award in the last five years. Wayne Brown (History & Government, 2003) and McKenzie Higgins (Political Science, 2009) were honored as recipients of the G.O.L.D. award in 2010 and 2014, respectively. Wayne Brown founded a charity specializing in support and information for patients with rare diseases and is author of the book, Alone in My Universe: Struggling with a Rare Disease in an Unsympathetic World. McKenzie Higgins graduated from Western Michigan University - Thomas Cooley School of Law and is presently an Human Resources Compliance Specialist for M&T Bank in Buffalo. Both Wayne and McKenzie were on hand to congratulate Stephanie and welcome her into the community of Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.  

 Wayne Brown (2003), McKenzie Higgins (2009) and Stephanie Foreman (2006)
Daemen College Graduate of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Winners: 2010, 2014, & 2015
What can you do with a History or Political Science Major?
Our graduates have embarked on a wide variety of successful career paths, including graduate study in international relations, law, law enforcement, and public service. Their collective success demonstrates the value of the History and Political Science degrees and a broad-based, liberal arts education. Our majors are making a crucial difference in their community and the world as models and agents for positive change. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Russia's War on Terror

The faculty of the History and Political Science Department invite you to attend a Roundtable Discussion focused on Russia's War on Terror.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Milestone reached!

Daemen College's History & Political Science Department Blog celebrates...

20,000 page views!