I was excited to represent Wake Forest as a 2011-2012 Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. As a Fellow, I joined a class of 80 other undergraduate and graduate students in two conferences in Washington, DC. As part of the conferences, Fellows heard from speakers on a range of domestic and foreign policy issues with the keynote address in the spring being given by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. I really enjoyed hearing from former DC mayor Adrian Fenty, who shared his thoughts on public education reform and the political realities surrounding the issue. In addition to the conferences, Fellows also had the opportunity to write papers about presidential issues. The topic of my paper was presidential signing statements and how they can be classified based on their intent and realized effect. The paper, as well as the camaraderie of the other Fellows in my class, made my experience with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress a rewarding part of my final year at Wake.
In April I had the opportunity to represent Wake Forest at the 2012 Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference in Annapolis, Maryland. This year’s delegation was the largest in the conference’s history, with about 130 participants from 30 countries. In accordance with the theme “The Eclipse of the West?”, we explored global power relations through debates, round tables, and guest speakers. I participated in the “Soft Power” round table with delegates from the United States, Germany, Pakistan, Japan, Portugal, and Jamaica, discussing non-military methods for exerting international influence. Throughout the week, I also heard from prominent figures such as Hillary Clinton, Jon Huntsman, and Paul Wolfowitz. I recognize that the knowledge and experiences I gained while in Annapolis will be invaluable to my future as a student and global citizen.
In November 2011, I had the pleasure of attending the 63rd Annual Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA), held annually at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. This year’s conference dealt with the theme of “Thinking Beyond Boundaries: Contemporary Challenges to U.S. Foreign Policy,” and students were split into fourteen roundtables to discuss thematic topics, including cyberterrorism, regional conflicts, and the role of international organizations in formulating foreign policy. I was assigned to “The Americas at a Crossroads: Drugs, Crime, and State Fracture,” which examined the particular challenges faced by Latin America in today’s policy arena. During the conference, each round table had to tackle a policy issue (ours was the legalization of drugs), craft a policy proposal, and present it along with a skit to the entire conference on the last day. The conference offered a valuable opportunity to debate and develop foreign policy with bright college students. Moreover, the conference gave me a valuable glimpse into the complexities of life at West Point, a far different academic culture from that of Wake Forest.
In the academic year 2011-12, the following undergraduates were elected to the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa:
Donald Davidson, Sophia Goren, William McClure, Meenakshi Krishnan, Kenneth Meyer, Christopher Riccio, Daniel Stephany, Kellsi Wallace, Talley Wood, Katherine Wycisk.
Two students presented research papers at the Undergraduate Research Symposium organized by the University of Pittsburgh in March 2012. Sara Olson presented “Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law: Lustration and Criminal Persecution in Post-Communist States;“ Thomas Walker presented “A Balancing Act: Russia and the Arctic.”
Ken Meyer presented a paper at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Salt Lake City. His paper was titled: Tearing Apart the Online Electorate: How the Social Media of the Political Parties Polarizes the American Public.”
Two students co-authored research papers or posters presented at political science association meetings: Blakeney Brown was a co-author with Professor Wilkinson on a poster presented at the American Political Science Association conference in Seattle in September 2011. The title of the paper was ““From stranger to brother? Exploring the relationship between racial context and interracial contact for Blacks and Latinos.”
Emily Earle was a co-author with Professor Wilkinson on a paper presented at the Southern Political Science Association conference in New Orleans in January 2012. The title of the paper was “Taking a New Perspective to Latino Attitudes: Examining the Effects of Skin Color and Contact on Latino Perceptions of Commonality and Competition with Whites and Blacks.”
Monica Petrescu, graduate of the Political Science and Economics Departments, wins prestigious Gates Scholarship.