Saturday, July 21, 2018

Welcome new students!

The History & Political Science Department welcomes our incoming students for fall 2018:

Angelina, Ja'veana, Gakara, & Niles
Jamieson, Nicole, & Kori

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Congratulations, scholarship winners!

A number of our majors have been selected to receive scholarships in recognition of their academic achievements, and academic potential. Congratulations!

The Elizabeth George Ivers Endowed Scholarship for Women

This scholarship, created by our distinguished alumna Elizabeth George Ivers, recognizes high-achieving students with a record of academic success who are engaged in the community. This year's recipients are Madeleine Ruger (sophomore, History) and Gabrielle Sinnott (junior, History & Political Science). Earlier this semester, Gabrielle also received a Benjamin Gilman International scholarship to study abroad in Thailand this summer (read more here).

Madeleine Ruger

Gabrielle Sinnott

Ruth Stratton Scholarship

The Ruth Stratton Scholarship is an endowed scholarship named in honor of Daemen Political Science professor Dr. Ruth Stratton. This scholarship is awarded yearly to an outstanding sophomore or junior major who excels academically. This year's recipient, Megan Racinowski (sophomore, Political Science), intends to pursue a career combining environmental advocacy and law, two areas of Dr. Stratton's deep interest and expertise.

Megan Racinowski

Career Services scholarship

Two of our majors, Annamarie Diapaul (junior, Political Science), and Megan Racinowski (sophomore, Political Science) have been awarded Career Services scholarships to support internships this summer. This is Megan's second internship (read about her internship in Washington, D.C., with US Senator Tom Carper (Delaware).

Annamarie Diapaul
Megan Racinowski

SOS Women's Leadership Award

The SOS Women's Leadership Award, sponsored by the Daemen College Eaglettes (women's faculty organization), is named for three legendary female Daemen professors: Dr. Ruth Stratton, Dr. Betty O'Neill, and Dr. Kaye Sullivan. This college-wide award recognizes two female students each year who have demonstrated outstanding leadership. This year, one of the recipients was graduating senior Brianna Zichettella (Political Science). In addition to her excellent academic record, Brianna was former president of the American Association of University Women (AAWU) Student Organization and wrote a number of articles for Daemen's student newspaper and literary magazine.

Brianna Zichettella

AAUW Chamberlin Award

The Chamberlin grant/loan program, operated by the American Association of University Women (AAUW)'s Buffalo Chapter, provides grants and interest free loans to students who are selected through a competitive application process. Taqiyah Gibbons (graduating senior, History) was among this year's recipients. She will use the award to pay for her Study-Abroad trip to Africa this summer. (Read more here)   

Taqiyah Gibbons

Congratulations to all of our scholarship winners!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

History and Political Science Alumna, Diane White-Crane's Reflections on Working for RFK

History and Government (Political Science) alumna, Diane White-Crane, is pictured below with her very first boss after graduating Rosary Hill (Daemen College) -- Robert F. Kennedy.

She writes: "This coming Wednesday, June 6, 2018, it will be 50 years ago that this special man was taken from us. Being a member of his U.S. Senate staff in Washington, D.C. was definitely one of the very top highlights of my life. RFK inspired us all to be more caring, compassionate people. To those of us on his staff, he was never "Bobby," but always "The Senator." The deep sadness of his loss seems as fresh today as it was 50 years ago. It was an honor to work for you, Senator Kennedy. You changed all our lives and our hearts for the better."

You can read more about her memories and experiences here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Wondering About the Likelihood of Getting Accepted to Law School?

A Useful Tool for Calculating Your Odds of Getting Accepted

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has released a useful tool that allows you to put in your GPA and LSAT score and see where your GPA and LSAT score falls relative to the 25th-75th percentile based on the 2017 full-time admission data.  You can find the tool here. Be sure to carefully read the information on how to use the tool and interpret the results.

While it is not a guarantee, the tool allows you to reasonable predict your chances at admission and can inform your decision on where to apply. The tool also helps you see where your LSAT needs to be to have a reasonable chance of admission at particular schools of interest.

Remember, not all ABA accredited schools are equal in terms of value and the best fit for your particular circumstances and goals. Law school is expensive.  Admissions rates do vary from cycle to cycle and depend on the applicant pool -- timing matters too.   Sometimes its better to wait, take a gap year, gain life or work experience, and apply later than it is to attend a law school just because they are willing to accept you.

For Future LSAT Takers

A new option to commercial preparation courses and self-study you might want to check out: the Khan Academy has partnered with the LSAC to offer free LSAT preparation.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

History & Political Science Banquet Honors Student Achievements

On Saturday, May 5, the History & Political Science Department held its annual banquet to celebrate graduating departmental seniors.  We honored student leadership in our departmental clubs, the Ruth Stratton Award recipient, as well as the thesis work of our graduating seniors. 

Five of our recent alumni at the annual banquet

Students & Faculty at departmental banquet

Public History students with Lenora Henson (adjunct professor & curator at the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site)

At the banquet we also honored Jessica Zimpfer, the recipient of our annual Distinguished Alumni award.  Zimpfer, class of 2006, spoke eloquently about how the department shaped her career trajectory, stating, “I honestly would not be where I am in my life if I had not been a part of this program.”  Zimpfer went on to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work and currently works as a Therapist for Crisis Services in Buffalo, where she provides “free supportive counseling to survivors of sexual violence and elder abuse, bearing witness to their trauma, validating their experiences, teaching coping skills and how to use them, reminding them of their own self-worth and their progress, and moving with them as they go through the healing process.”  This is incredibly important work and we, as a department, could not be more proud of Zimpfer’s success.

Jessica Zimpfer (class of '06) speaks to department students, alumni, and faculty about how her degree impacted her career.

This year’s Ruth Stratton Award winner was Megan Racinowski .  Megan is a Political Science major—with planned minors in History, Pre-Law, and Literature—who just completed her second year at Daemen.   The Ruth Stratton Award honors the legacy of Ruth Stratton, a long-time professor in the History & Political Science department.  Stratton exhibited excellence as a teacher, advisor, and visionary for the department and College as a whole.  The Scholarship seeks to recognize a student whom we believe can someday exhibit that level of professional excellence in his or her chosen career.  We, as a department, are confident that Megan exhibits this potential for excellence.  As a Sophomore, Megan has completed the Washington Internship Institute program and has plans to attend law school when she graduates (you can read more about Megan's amazing Washington, D.C. internship here).  She will be completing a second internship this summer with Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), exhibiting her passion for her education and taking full advantage of the high impact practices available at Daemen. 

Megan Racinowski outside of the Russell Senate office building for her internship in Washington, D.C.

Our Best Senior Thesis Award this year went to Brianna Zichettella for her thesis entitled, “American Confederates and Deep State Subversives: Comparing Echo Chamber Formation on Hannity and The Rachel Maddow Show.” Brianna watched Rachel Maddow’s and Sean Hannity’s punditry for one month and compared their framing of news items, tone of coverage, and quality of the guests brought on to analyze newsworthy items.  Her senior thesis demonstrated the capability of both of these political pundits to create an echo chamber and further the polarization of our political dialogue.

Brianna Zichettella, winner of the Best Senior Thesis Award

In addition to Brianna, Dr. Andrew Wise and I—as the thesis instructors this year—decided to award distinction to several other senior thesis projects.  Several of our students wrote high quality theses and truly embraced the process of researching an area of interest.  Each of these students also focused on topics that exhibit the importance of civic knowledge and research related to social justice.  Taqiyah Gibbons wrote about the commodification of slavery and the importance of historical context on former slave plantations.  Shaquilla Reid researched the opioid crisis and how it compared with the 1980's war on drugs.  Her research lends credence to the idea that the racial groups affected by the crisis impact the government’s response.  Casey Young’s thesis focused on the human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—a topic which has continued to be apart of the national conversation about the treatment of prisoners and military detainees.  Shamella Jeffers focused on the portrayal of African Americans in popular culture, specifically focusing on the satirical take on race relations in The Boondocks.  Finally, Ryan Langer researched the role of Nestor Makhno, a Ukrainian anarchist, in the Russian Revolution.  Dr. Wise and I were both impressed with the quality of work of each of these students and were happy to grant each of them a distinction in research award. 

Senior Thesis Distinction Award recipients (from left to right): Taqiyah Gibbons, Shaquilla Reid, Brianna Zichettella, and Shamella Jeffers.  Not pictured: Ryan Langer and Casey Young

We are incredibly proud of all of our graduating seniors and wish them the best of luck with their chosen career paths! We have several students pursuing graduate school and law school as well as several who have already found jobs in their field.  We wish them all the success in the world and cannot wait to invite them back to the banquet as alumni (and maybe as distinguished speakers)!  

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Senate 101: Interning with Senator Tom Carper

Megan Racinowski outside the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

This semester, Megan Racinowski (sophomore, PSC major) is interning in Washington, DC, with Delaware Senator Tom Carper. She describes her experience in a guest blog post.

Senate 101: Interning with Senator Tom Carper
By Megan Racinowski
I approached Mr. Lamark Shaw early in my freshman year to discuss the Washington Internship Institute program. After our discussion I was ready to pack my bags and be off to DC, but I learned that I had to wait till at least my sophomore year to go on this journey. During my freshman year  I continued to work hard but was eager to find out what the future holds. When the time came, I sent in my application to the WII in August 2017 and got an acceptance letter the very next day. I was very excited to start this journey and to be able to try something out of my comfort zone.
"I have a strong passion for environmental work and being able to work with the committee allowed me to see first-hand a push for change in environmental policy in a time when this is so important."
Interning in Senator Tom Carper’s office is a very fun and important experience for me that is shaping the person I am becoming. The most important part for me is that Senator Carper is a ranking member on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, which brings close cooperation with the workers on the committee. I have a strong passion for environmental work and being able to work with the committee allowed me to see first-hand a push for change in environmental policy in a time when this is so important. As an intern in Senator Carper’s office I am given the freedom to follow my policy interests by attending many different committee hearings, and connecting with individuals in those policy realms. 

Megan with Senator Tom Carper (Delaware)

As an intern I do not answer phones all day, and often get to help with important tasks in the office varying from policy research for the Legislative Correspondents to helping get various Senators’ and Representatives’ signatures for co-sponsorship on legislation. One of the most memorable experiences from my internship was being able to get lunch with my fellow interns, my internship coordinator, and Senator Carper. Senator Carper always takes the time to personally meet with his interns and get to know them and their career goals. The Senator always made a point of saying hello to the interns and bringing interns into different meetings he would have. The atmosphere in the office was always welcoming and inviting, making me feel comfortable and excited to go to work every day. I will always cherish my time in Senator Carper’s office, and will continue to grow from my experience.

At work in Senator Carper's office

The WII program pushes students to become not only better people, but to become better students and workers as well. Students in the WII program's Inside Washington track take two different classes. One is a career seminar class and the another is a class of the student's choice, either in international relations or American politics. The career seminar class teaches students about presenting yourself within the job market and how to land the job of your dreams. Some of the activities in this class included a resume and cover letter workshop, mock job interviews, practicing an elevator speech, and discussing my career goals. 

My class on American politics has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me gain self-confidence that I did not have before. I now feel comfortable to one day enter the job market, because I feel prepared and confident in myself and my ability.  The class emphasizes debating skills and how to have a good discussion with peers about controversial issues like gun-control, abortion, and marriage equality. In the polarized political climate we are currently living in, the class has forced me to hear other people’s opinions and to try to understand different perspectives on issues. My fellow classmates are all working at different places--ranging from think tanks, to lobbying firms, to Capitol Hill--and being able to talk to them about their experiences helps me grow as a person and learn about the job world. I appreciate that the internship is teaching me what it is like to work in an office environment. I think the experience I am getting through my internship will set me apart from peers when I enter the job market.
At the Women's March, January 2018
My time on the Hill is influencing my growth as a student and as a person. I am seeing how government actually works, getting hands-on experience within our government, and expanding my network.

The internship pushes me to take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way. My classes have helped me develop the skills I need to be successful in my future endeavors. I have grown and will continue to grow as a person from my internship/classes and am eager for my future. My internship has reignited the fire inside of me to fight for change and make a lasting difference in the world around me.

"My internship has reignited the fire inside of me to fight for change and make a lasting difference in the world around me."

For more information on the Washington Internship Institute, contact Mr. Lamark Shaw in Daemen's Career Services office.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

              Annual Model UN Simulation
  On Wednesday, April 18th 2018, students from PSC 121: International Relations participated in a Model UN Simulation as part of Daemen's annual Academic Festival. Students represented various states in meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)  held to discuss the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea and vote on the proposed resolution. The countries involved in this simulation were Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, as well as the permanent members of the UNSC (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom(UK), and the United States of America (US)).
 Each country gave a short speech introducing their positions on the issue. The states that had the most to say were China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. China reinforced their claims to the nine-dash line and claimed that the water was “historically” their property noting that several other nations recognized the nine-dash line as valid. Indonesia was the main opponent to China, in that they were disputing the validity of the nine-dash-line as well as China’s claims to the entire region; they were of course backed by the United States as well as the United Kingdom. Indonesia strongly disagreed with China’s “historical” claims to the water, and asserted their rights and sovereignty over the waters in their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Philippines delivered a powerful speech as well about negotiating and signing a bilateral treaty with China, and they encouraged other countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan) to do so as well. The Philippines and China both claimed that their treaty was mutually beneficial, with joint security guarantees from both countries. 
After all the countries delivered their positions on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the moderators conducted an open debate; the question that generated the most controversy was “Do any countries have the claim or desire to expand their territory in the South China Sea?”. The Philippines found this question particularly offensive as did China, this resulted in strained arguments among the states creating a tensed and chaotic atmosphere. Another point of note was that China claimed that the nine-dash line and the Law of the Sea were not mutually exclusive agreements and said that they were willing to create treaties with any country that approached them. 
 At the end of the debate the resolution was introduced and each state cast their vote: only two of the eight states voted for the resolution (Indonesia and Russia), one state abstained from the vote (Japan), the rest of the states adamantly voted against the resolution. No amendments were added to the resolution at any point. The moderator and the USG worked hard to synthesize all position papers and create a balanced resolution that would be appealing to all states involved. The main points of the resolution were as follows:
1.   Demands, that any and all nations halt military or other  aggressions towards one another in a timely fashion, this includes intervention by the USA, UK, France and Russia.
2.    Endorses the renaming of the area known as the South China Sea, that it gives the false impression that China is entitled to the area. 
3. Encourages all states to immediately halt their all activities in the area, and acknowledge what they have and what all countries already have. It is also advisable that no state continues with their intentions to build any other islands and enact efforts to preserve the remaining wildlife reefs.
4.     Encourages  a spirit of cooperation between all states with stake in the sea, as laid out in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Treaty,  to sign a treaty acknowledging each other state's claim to the area as well as indicating they will allow  free and open trade in the area.
5.   Demands, China to denounces the nine-dash line, in exchange they may keep the islands created and  claim the law of the sea from those areas (200 miles off the coast).
6.  Proposes, that any and all nations that lay similar claims to Similar Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) under the UNCLOS Treaty work out additional treaties with each other that are both fair and righteous to both states.
7.     Advocate Support for these treaties, if needed, to be supervised and overseen by a third party (state, NGO, or IGO) with no direct benefit from either state control of more of the EEZ then the other.
8.    Proposes treaty designed to allow shared fishing territories and resources throughout the region, if so desired by state, with predetermined compensation.

Representative from France presenting their position

Speech by the representative of Indonesia

Speech from the representative of Malaysia

Moderator introducing the simulation

Team representing the Phillippines

Speech by Russia



Speech by US representative

  Students were particularly excited at having the opportunity to engage in experiential learning. They conducted several weeks of in-depth research on their assigned states and roles before the showcase. While all teams performed enthusiastically, students in the class voted to award the best performance to Team China and Team France/ UK for their outstanding knowledge and performance. A special mention to the Philippines and Indonesia who also received several votes and were runners-up for the best performance award.

Blog post by Kaitlin Kinkade (Served as Moderator in the Model UN Simulation) and Dr. Aakriti Tandon