Last February, I was invited to represent Wake Forest at the 2017 Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference. At the conference, students from universities all over the country were invited to present research they have been conducting as undergraduates.
The presentation panels were divided up in categories of Comparative Politics, International Relations, American Politics and Public Policy. The panels were made up of three or four undergraduate presenters and one panel chair. The chairpersons were political science graduate students from Georgetown and George Washington University, and they offered valuable insights into our work as well as recommendations on how our research can be improved. I was a member of the final panel on Comparative Politics, where I had the opportunity to present my Senior Seminar Research Paper I had been working on with Dr. Wei-chin Lee, titled The International Criminal Court in Africa: Responding to Shortcomings and Accusations of Bias.
Our lunchtime speaker was Max Fisher of the New York Times and writer of The Interpreter, a newsletter using political and social science to examine and explain topics in international politics. He offered terrific insights into how undergraduates can grow as researchers and use those skills in the professional world.
Overall, the conference was an incredibly enriching experience and I felt honored to be there representing Wake Forest. Thank you so much to my professors and the department for allowing me to share my research and to meet so many interesting people.
In April 2017, I was invited to represent Wake Forest at the 57th Annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference in Annapolis, MD. The theme for the week-long conference was: Are we in an era of new great power competition? Much of the roundtable discussion and many of the speakers focused on this topic and the debate over whether U.S global hegemony is being challenged by states such as China and Russia as well as terrorist organizations from around the world. My roundtable specifically dealt with U.S naval power projection and the ways in which the U.S can use the Navy to maintain power in regions where it might be tested.
The keynote speaker was General John Allen from the U.S Marine Corps. He played a very important role in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan during the War on Terror. His speech centered on the sources that might challenge the U.S in the future. Interestingly, they were not all other countries that challenge us politically or militarily. He mentioned urbanization and the increased use and complexity of technology as institutions that might turn into detriments for the United States and its superpower status. Many of the other speakers were commanders and admirals in the Navy who lent their expertise and advice to the student delegation and Naval Academy cadets.
I was honored to have been chosen to represent Wake Forest at such a prestigious event. I became friends with students from schools all over the country and some from other parts of the world. I even met a commander that attended my high school back home in New Jersey!
This past November, I was fortunate to represent Wake Forest at the 68th annual Student Conference on U.S. Affairs. The event was hosted at West Point by the United States Military Academy and was organized by cadets. This year’s theme was Democracy and Democratization: Challenges and Opportunities. The conference felt particularly timely as it began the day after a surprising presidential election and offered a chance to examine the global trends surrounding it in the company of other students of politics, members of the military, and a series of guest speakers. Some of these speakers included members of the Council on Foreign Relations, the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and a number of representatives from political and human rights-related organizations.
I was part of a working group centered around Europe. We discussed America’s interests in Europe, the conflict between national and broader European identities, security threats, and the re-emergence of far-right parties as relevant political actors. I particularly enjoyed working with the gifted politics students and experienced advisors in my group to craft a policy recommendation paper and present our findings before the conference. Visiting West Point and working among cadets and my civilian peers was one of the best academic and personal experiences I have had at Wake Forest and I am very grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to partake in this fascinating conference.
The Award for Outstanding Senior in Latin American and Latino Studies – Josie Butler
The Department of Sociology Community Engagement Award – Sebastian Luke Ivory
The Wake Forest University Theater Association Award for Academic Excellence – Jay Buchanan
The Change Maker Award for Social Change – Richard Caban Cubero
Justus and Elizabeth C. Drake Scholarship – Emily Lintner
Congratulations to all new initiates on behalf of the department. We would like to recognize our graduating majors who have been recognized for their outstanding academic work at Wake Forest.
Josie Butler is the 2017 recipient of the Jack D. and Martha H. Fleer Scholarship. After graduation Josie will be moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico to work in the Education Department of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. She is interested in pursuing a career in the museum field and hopes to continue her educational career by attending graduate school for Museum Studies.
The 2017 Fleer Award for Excellence in Honors was awarded to Jay Buchanan for his paper entitled “Hispanic/Latino Political Efficacy Through Direct Democracy” from John Dinan’s seminar. Jay will manage Wake Forest’s START Student Art Gallery next year. After that he has tentative plans to attend Royal Holloway-University of London for a graduate program in Performance Studies.
The 2017 Carl Moses Award for Excellence in Research award recipient is Corinne Sugino for her paper entitled “A Not-So-Common Enemy: Anti-blackness and the Dynamics of the 2016 Peter Liang Protests” from Michaelle Browers’ seminar. Corinne will be attending the University of Pittsburgh for graduate school working towards her PhD in Communication while coaching college debate.