I attended the 54th Annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs conference in April. The theme of this year’s conference was “Human Security in the Information Age,” so we listened to panels about “The Dark Side of the Information Age,” with speakers like the president of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That was horrifying – there are truly awful things happening on the internet and I had no idea! There was also a panel called “Political Action in the Information Age,” with the Estonian Ambassador to the US and a managing editor from the Wall Street Journal. We got to hear incredible speakers, including Former President Bill Clinton, and former director of NSA, Michael Hayden. In my roundtable, which was called “The Fading Line Between Man and Machine,” we talked about the latest technology in robotics, and 3D printing, and what these mean for the future of the human race. We talked about technology in warfare and manufacturing, and the ethical dilemmas that are associated with the new technologies. The conference really stresses International Affairs – so many students from other countries were attending. In my roundtable, there were students from South Korea, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Japan. In other roundtables, students represented Italy, the UK, and Mexico. Overall, I had a really great time and met a lot of great people! So thanks to the Department for sending me!
This past fall I had the privilege of attending the 65th Student Conference on US Affairs (SCUSA 65), hosted by West Point Military Academy. This year’s theme was demographics and population change, and I participated in a round table discussion that focused on these factors as sources of instability in the Middle East. We discussed these issues in the frame of the youth population bulge in the Middle East, and in the end, we drafted a white paper on our recommendations for US foreign policy.
Outside of my round table discussion, I also attended panel discussions by experts in various fields of foreign policy, a keynote address from Brent Scowcroft, and a weapons demonstration by West Point cadets. Aside from these formal proceedings, I was also fortunate to interact with many cadets on a more personal level. I stayed in the barracks with cadets where I was able to experience morning formation at 6 AM, along with many stories about their lives as both students and soldiers. This conference was an amazing experience, and I am truly fortunate to have been chosen.
Bridger Mahlum won the Carl Moses Excellence in Research Award for his senior paper ”Redistricting and Competitive Elections: A Comparative Case Study.” He will be heading to Alaska in June as an campaign consultant for the U. S. Senate Election in that state. While there, Bridger thought he would check into the rumor about there being “Gold in them thar hills….”
The 2014 winner of the Jack D. Fleer Award for Excellence in Honors was Kelly Flanigan. Her thesis was entitled: “The Odd One Out. Analysis of the Impact of Campaign- and Electorate-Specific Factors on Non-Major Party Performance in U.S. Elections.” She has accepted a position doing consulting work with non-profit organizations after graduation. Kelly hopes to attend graduate school for a master’s degree related to either Public Policy or International Affairs in the future.
Emily Emily Anderson and Kimberly Quick won the C.H. Richards Award for Excellence in Politics and International Affairs. Emily is looking forward to her work as an Admissions Counselor at the Wake Forest Office of Undergraduate Admissions for the next two years!
Kimberly is excited to serve as the Wake Forest Fellow in the Office of the Provost for the 2014-2015 term. After completing the fellowship, she hopes to continue her education in law school.
I am currently Assistant Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I research and teach about environmental policymaking in developing countries. I completed a Ph.D. in environmental politics at Duke University and previously taught in the Government Department at the College of William & Mary. My interest in the environmental challenges facing developing countries began when I was a student at Wake Forest. After taking courses on Chinese politics, I applied for a scholarship that would support independent research on economic and environmental change in China. I was fortunate to receive it. Combined with a more traditional study abroad program, this research exposed me to previously unimaginable pollution, and the challenge of balancing the costs and benefits of development.
Armed with new language skills, I took a position with the China program of the Nature Conservancy. I led the community outreach portion of the project and was responsible for designing and conducting household surveys. My time in China convinced me that social science research can add real value to the hard decisions faced by policymakers, firms, and communities. Since that time, I have pursued a variety of projects on environmental policymaking in developing countries , with a particular emphasis on the targeting and impact of foreign aid. I have completed or am currently implementing projects across Asia, Africa, and South America. These projects address the allocation practices of aid donors, the participation of citizens in environmental policymaking, the relationship between public and private financing of new environmental technologies, the processes that lead to lasting government reform, and the evaluation of environmental programs, among other interests. I am very fortunate to have received the mentorship and research opportunities at Wake Forest that launched me down this path. [posted November 2013]
Doing a brief bio for the WFU Dept. of Politics and International Affairs is a special pleasure as it is an opportunity to reflect on the amazing courses and professors that introduced me to political thought and encouraged me to always strive to broaden my perspective. A particular thank you to my profs and classmates, many of whom I still count as close friends.
After Wake, I worked at the DHS in Washington, DC helping to shape domestic policy seeking to prevent terrorism in aviation. There, my colleagues and I wrestled with the difficulties of developing effective policy and then conforming such a policy to the political and legal reality of the day. Wresting with the legal issues, in particular, was good prep for me, as I would soon be transitioning into the legal field.
After completing a JD and Masters in International and Comparitive Law at Duke (you probably know it as “that other NC private school”) I went to work in private practice at a leading international firm called Skadden, Arps. At Skadden, my practice focused on cross-border transactions and mergers & acquisitions.
After working in private practice, I have taken a career shift back in the direction of education and contemporary thought. Currently, I’m in the process of launching a new media and online education company with some outstanding lawyers – Talks On Law (“TOL”). TOL is a platform where top thinkers and practitioners speak on contemporary and controversial legal issues of the day to inform the debate and inspire change. And for the rest of us, it’s another great place to learn. Feel free to follow us on twitter: @talksonlaw or facebook: www.facebook.com/talksonlaw. I very much hope to continue to hear from other Wake Politics grads in the future. [posted August 2013]