URCA students present research at Indiana Political Science Association Conference

Two groups of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) students presented research at the Indiana Political Science Association Conference last week in Evansville, Ind.

Two groups of political science URCA students presented research at the Indiana Political Science Association Conference March 22. The students presented research regarding effects of campaign visits and occupied Palestine. Photo courtesy of Denise DeGarmo

Students who worked with political science professor Laurie Rice presented “The Effects of Campaign Visits During the Presidential Primaries,” in which they collected data on presidential primary candidate visits from the 2000 to 2012 elections.

Rice said the three students – Sam Borders, Robert Wann and T.J. Pearson – and she were interested in seeing how effective candidate visits are and how news of the visit might spread geographically through an entire media market.

Borders, a senior political science major, said they researched how presidential campaign visits affect vote totals.

“We went through and saw that candidate visits to media markets mattered more than [the] individual county,” Borders said.

Presenting at the conference, according to Borders, was “a really good experience.”

“It was nice to go and get feedback [and] see what others in the political science community thought about [our research],” Borders said.

Wann, a junior political science major, said presenting at the conference – something he has never done – “was actually pretty cool.” Going to the conference made Wann realize how important the URCA program is and how beneficial it can be to undergraduate students.

“It was cool to be able to present research that I’ve been working on for the past year alongside people with PDHs…,” Wann said.

Senior political science majors Erin Gross, Bryan Skorczewski and Matthew Boyer worked with political science department chair Denise DeGarmo to conduct original research on various aspect of human security in Palestine, including food, personal, community, economic and political.

Skorczewski presented “How Differing Accounts of Economic Activity Damage the Ability of Occupied States to Liberate Themselves.”

Boyer discussed, “The Link Between Post Traumatic Stress and Human Security in Palestine.”

Gross said her research focus for the conference was on the education and life of a Palestinian college student. Gross’s original topic was environmental concerns, but she changed her topic for the conference. She said she felt like the presentation went well.

“I was a little bit afraid that there would be a few people there that would accuse us of anti-Semitism, [but we] never got that reaction…,” Gross said.

Personally, Gross said the conference was a great experience to force herself to speak in front of people she did not know and who were also college students.

“Not only was I publicly speaking, I was presenting my research. I put my time and my everything into writing this paper that was all mine…,” Gross said. “It’s an experience that you usually get as a grad student… It’s great to have that already under my belt.”


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