Thomas Poston attends the Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference

In February, I had the privilege of representing Wake Forest at the 2018 Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference, at which undergraduates from colleges and universities across the nation presented research they’d conducted.

Students presented research on a diversity of topics, from American campaign finance to conflict in the South China Sea. Presenters were grouped into one of four main subfields: comparative and international politics, American politics, public policy, and political theory. I presented the research paper I had completed in my senior seminar with Dr. Walldorf, entitled “Exceptional Environmentalism: American Culture and the Fate of Multilateral Environmental Agreements,” during a comparative and international politics session that was focused on international environmental politics and law. I received some insightful feedback and critique from my panel’s lead discussant, a graduate student in international politics at George Washington University. His advice, along with feedback I received from fellow student attendees, has been immensely helpful as I work to revise and improve my paper with an eye toward possible publication.

I also had the pleasure of hearing an address by Paul Begala, a CNN commentator and former Bill Clinton strategist, who served as the conference’s keynote speaker. The views he shared on the state of American politics sparked a fruitful lunchtime discussion of the ways in which political scientists and researchers ought to contribute to current political debate.

I’m so grateful to my professors and to the entire Department of Politics and International Affairs for having made my attendance at this conference possible. I was proud to represent Wake Forest at such an exciting event and am so glad that I had the chance to share my research with a wider audience of fellow students and researchers.