Monday, September 28, 2015

Student Profile: Ashley Cheff (Political Science, 2016)

Political Science major, Ashley Cheff, has received much well-deserved attention for her accomplishments as a student athlete, (Buffalo News Story).  Indeed, Ashley will be the first to tell you how she has learned to apply the discipline she learned in sports to her studies.

“Just like you make plans with your friends around practice you should make those same plans around study time. Just like you set a goal for a race or a game you should set a goal for the next test or paper you have. Just like you wouldn’t show up to practice without your gear you don’t turn in an assignment that hasn’t properly been prepared. Just like you wouldn’t quit because of a bad game or race you don’t give up because you’re struggling in the classroom. Just like you ask your coach for help, when you want to master a skill you work with your professors and ask them questions too. You create the balance by putting in the same effort, time, and dedication to everything you do, whether it be the game you love or the paper you write.” 

Ashley is indeed a master of time management and strategic planning.  As Ashley’s academic advisor, I vividly remember meeting her meeting her for the first time. Rarely do freshman arrive for that first session with a proposed plan of action and such a clear-headed description of what they wish to accomplish in college and in life. 

Ashley writes that she “learned very quickly that setting goals is one thing, but achieving them is another and to make that achievement possible you have to work hard.” Fidelity to those goals and a willingness to work hard has guided her all throughout her time at Daemen. Just three short years later, Ashley is well on the way to making the next of her goals a reality.  

Ashley is incredibly modest about her undergraduate academic accomplishments. She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and was named one of Top 10 freshman – an honor given to freshmen who earned the top grade point average in their freshman year.  Ashley has thus far excelled in every subject, in large part due to her dedication to putting in her best effort, but also due her mature approach to the value of learning: “I know I won’t get every question right, I won’t get a perfect score on every test or an A on every paper, but if I work hard and regularly set goals for myself something great can and will come out of it.” As one of her senior thesis advisors, I can attest that Ashley is every bit as “coachable” in the classroom as she is on the field: she shows up with a good attitude, asks for honest feedback, learns from constructive criticism, and applies what she learns to the next experience.  

There is a passion beyond athletics which guides Ashley: her compassion and advocacy for those with mental illness and mental disabilities. Ashley has developed her expertise in this area by adding a Philosophy minor to her Pre Law minor. In so doing, she has worked closely with Dr. Serife Tekin, an expert on the philosophy of psychiatry and Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Under Dr. Tekin’s guidance, Ashley recently presented a paper on the “Ethical Implications of Inconclusive Research on Schizophrenia” at the 29th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held at Eastern Washington University. Their collaboration has resulted in an acceptance for publication and the promise of more scholarly research to come. Ashley’s senior thesis project, a requirement of her Political Science major, is also a study of mental health care policy, examining the legal definition of danger in a cross-state comparison of involuntary civil commitment laws. The expertise which Ashley is building through her choice of academic major and minors will serve as a foundation for her intended career as a mental health law professional. 

“It’s not out of the ordinary for people to ask me how I balance being an athlete and a student and I always find this question so difficult to answer,” Ashley noted. Perhaps this is because Ashley has an almost superhuman knack for making the impossible seem easy. She is the personification of dedication as both a scholar and an athlete.   

~Dr. Lisa K. Parshall    

Friday, September 11, 2015

Please Join us for a Panel Discussion on the U.S. Constitution in a Global Context

 Constitution and Citizenship Day  

September 17, 2015  

To celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the History & Government Club and the Pre Law Student Association (PLSA) will be handing out free copies of The U.S. Constitution and Fascinating Facts About It.  Stop by their table in Wick Lobby from 11:30-12:30 on Thursday, September 17, for your free copy, and vote for your favorite constitutional amendment!

Please join the Department of History & Political Science for a panel discussion of the U.S. Constitution in a Global Context, starting at 2;30 pm in Alumni Lounge (Wick Center) on Thursday, September 17, 2015.  The panelists will explore various facets of the global context of the founding era, placing the U.S. Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution in historical perspective. How were our founding documents in dialogue with a world-wide audience?  What is the legacy of the U.S. Declaration and the U.S. Constitution? In what ways has the U.S. Constitution served as a model for new constitutional regimes? To what extent are international constitutional principles incorporated into the U.S. judiciary's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution in turn?  Can the U.S. Constitution be fully understood in the absence of a historical, global context?

Audience questions and participation will be welcomed.

Dr. Penny Messinger, Associate Professor of History
Dr. Lisa Parshall, Associate Professor of Political Science
Dr. Tomasz Pudlocki, Visiting Associate Professor of History and Fulbright Scholar in Residence
Moderated by Dr. Jay Wendland, Assistant Professor of Political Science