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Friday, October 19, 2012

Declarations of a Political Science Senior

It's senior year: I have to remind myself of this everyday, and everyday it feels more unreal. I refuse to believe that I am entering my last year of my undergraduate degree. I refuse to believe that it has been three years already since I first set foot on this campus. I refuse to believe that in just seven months, I will be walking across the stage at the Bank of Kentucky Center, receiving my Bachelor's of Arts degree in Political Science and International Studies.
I know what you're thinking: I am in denial. I wouldn't necessarily say you're wrong about this. I very well may be in denial. But there are some aspects that I cannot deny.
I can't deny that NKU, and more specifically the Political Science Department, is my second home. I have built a strong rapport not only with my fellow students, by with the faculty and staff of the Department. I've essentially lived on the 4th floor of Founder's Hall for the past three years. It is on the fourth floor that the magic happens, the treasure trove which hosts the faculty offices. It is on the fourth floor that I get to enjoy 8am coffee meetings with one of my favorite professors. It is on the fourth floor that I ask questions when I am confused, not only about material is class, but about life in general. The faculty members are always warm and inviting, and truly want you to succeed.
This leads to my second declaration: I cannot deny that the Political Science department has provided me with unique opportunities. Just this past weekend, I traveled to Ada, Ohio with a couple of other students and a faculty member to the Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists 72nd Annual Conference, where I participated in the Undergraduate paper competition. If my professor hadn't brought this conference to my attention, I would not have known about it. Amazingly, and somewhat surprising to me, I won 2nd place, which I am very excited about! This year, I am working on a research project in the department about homelessness and civic engagement, which I will then present at a conference in the Spring. It's been such an interesting process...
My final declaration: I cannot deny that I will miss being an active part of this community. It is here that I have discovered my passions for civic engagement, politics, and culture, passions that I hope to transform into a viable career. It's difficult to say where I may end up, but I am sure that no matter what path I choose to take, whether that be law school or international service, the faculty of the Political Science Department will be cheering me on and steering my success. 

Yep, that's me on the right, in Frankfort!
by Jena' Bradley

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Year's Difference

I still remember when I first changed my major/minor combination to International Studies and Political Science feeling uncertain about the future.  What sort of work could I find with that combination?  What if I lose my enthusiasm for the subject like I did with my previous major?  How happy could I be with whatever work I find in this area?
It has been one year since then and I am happy to say that I will be graduating in the spring of 2013.  Better yet, this semester I have started working for Kentucky Campus Compact on the Campus Election Engagement Project.  The project is focused on increasing voter turnout among college students in Kentucky, providing non-partisan information on the various issues, and getting Kentucky students more involved with politics.  This job is such an excellent opportunity for me to develop the necessary professional skills and contacts for me to succeed in life after NKU.  More importantly, it gives me the chance to apply the knowledge I have gained from the various classes I have taken through the Political Science Department.  Right now, I am working on building this project’s foundation so that it can be a core part of elections in Kentucky for years to come.  Words cannot express how thrilling this opportunity is for me and if it was not for the background I have developed while working on my minor I am sure that I would not have been trusted with this position.
If I could think of any advice for someone who was in the same position as me one year ago, it would be to not be afraid to pursue something you are passionate about.  As students, we tend to focus so much on that four year graduation plan that sometimes we do not stop to ask ourselves if we would be happy with the path we are on.  This was not an easy choice for me to make and, in all honesty, it will not be easy going forward either.  However, when you find something you truly care about, the work you put in becomes much more satisfying when you make the achievements.
by Matthew Moddrelle

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Start of Another Year!

As I enter my senior year at NKU, I can’t help but reflect and reminisce on my experience at this wonderful university so far.  My time on this campus has been rewarding and unforgettable.  I am very pleased with my decision in choosing to attend NKU, and could not have asked for a better college experience thus far.  I am enjoying my senior year, and I hope to make the most of my final year of college.

The Political Science Department has been great to me, and I have been very fortunate for many of the opportunities that have come my way.  As part of my studies this semester, I have the chance to intern with the Mitt Romney campaign in Ohio. I feel so blessed for this opportunity, and I am learning so much.  Being a political science major, it is very fascinating to see the insides of a campaign.  Through this internship I have gotten to meet many new people, network, and learn a variety of new skills.  I think it will get more interesting as the election comes closer, and I am excited to see how it will play out.  Wherever you stand politically, it is certainly very worthwhile to get involved in the political process.  This internship is something that I know I will always value, and I truly enjoy working so hard for something that I believe in.

As I look ahead at the rest of my senior year, I know it will require hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I know all of the hard work will pay off come May when I am wearing my cap and gown, and receiving my diploma from a university that I am so proud to have attended.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Welcome Back

Summer is over and official the beginning of another school year. I am always excited to come back on to campus and dive into new courses. As a Political Science and Organizational Leadership double major, I spend the majority of time on the fourth floor of Founders, a place I see as home away from home.  NKU has truly become home for me so walking back on campus, seeing all the familiar faces is warmly welcomed. The opportunities I have gotten within my last two years at NKU have been unexpected and this year has already brought so many more.

I am entering my senior year but never fear I still have two more wonderful years left at NKU. I have learned so much up until now and this year I am getting the chance to take the experience outside of the classroom. This semester, I will be heading to my first political science conference and am doing an independent research credit. These opportunities have come to me thanks to the amazing faculty within the Political Science Department. Professors know you beyond your name; they know what you want to do, what your career goals are, and what opportunities could benefit you.

The most beneficial part of the Political Science Department for me has to be my amazing advisor. Not only has she been a professor for six of my courses (I am tied for the record), but she has taken a distinct interest in my success. This summer, she took over an hour of her time to completely fix my life, well at least my class schedule for the semester. On any given day, she will ask me if I am interested in a new opportunity. This relationship has lead to me presenting during Celebration of Student Research, figuring out what my minors should really be, and so much more. With faculty that is invested in your life it is so much easier to be successful.

With this year being a major political year due to the Presidential Election, it is an exciting time to be a Political Science major. The courses keep you up to date and allow you the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding for the election process. As the semester has just begun, take time to prepare and start the year right. Keeping your eyes open to possibilities could lead to something greater than you ever imagined. 

- Katyln Farris

Friday, April 27, 2012

End of an Era…

NKU has been a true home for me. The people I met, accomplishments I’ve achieved, and memories I’ve made will not be forgotten anytime soon.  It really has been a fantastic ride.

Anyone in college should make the most of their resources. It really is about becoming ready for life, not solely education. The Political Science Department, in particular, does everything possible to help ensure just that. I have had a number of personal experiences with many folks in the department.  Professor Braden helped me countless times with internships and work experience. Dr. McKenzie helped me with an NCAA student athlete postgraduate scholarship. I had the pleasure of attending a Kids Voting NKY event with Dr. Reilly.  I cannot speak for other places or departments, but I can say with conviction that I have built personal relationships with multiple people in the NKU Political Science Department. This is a huge educational advantage.

As the semester comes to a close this time, graduation comes with it. I am nervous for the change, but prepared. It was the leadership and guidance of those who I have spent most time with who I attribute that to. While the classes were important, I will always remember the life lessons I learned. That is what gave me the extra edge as I end this chapter in my life. ~ Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly, Dr. Shamima Ahmed and Jeffery Weckbach as they are acknowledged for receiving University Awards.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Experiences and Opportunities

            “What can I expect to get from college?” For a lot of people, this is a legitimate question. Four years at an educational institution is a commitment and most people like to know what they are getting themselves into before they take the leap. Is there just one experience or pathway to take in your collegiate career? Absolutely not. That is what you should expect to gain from college – a unique experience that can be tailored to your passions and allows you to seize all kinds of opportunities.  And really, isn’t that what life is all about? Aren’t we living to figure out what ignites our fire and do everything we can to incorporate it into our lives through every occasion? At least, I think it is.

            With that said, one of the greatest experiences and opportunities that have come dashing through my e-mail while here at NKU was fulfilled just last week. I spent nearly four full days in the wonderful city of Chicago immersing myself in everything polisci. Now, I know it might sound like a huge nerd fest (and some people even refer to it as that) but it really was such an eye-opening experience. I use the phrase “eye-opening” because I’m pretty sure I spent most of the trip wide-eyed staring at all the glamorous academic celebrities … like United States Supreme Court Justice Breyer. Yes, I got to sit in a room full of the brightest and most prestigious college professors in political science and listen to a Supreme Court Justice crack jokes at all of them. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

            Let’s back-track a bit to fill you in on how this amazing opportunity seemed to fall into my lap (or inbox) per se. Over a year ago, I wrote a research paper in my favorite class EVER with Dr. Reilly. It was the only time in my collegiate career that I ever really questioned my abilities as a student at NKU. The course pushed me to my limit in every way but I like to think that I got my money’s worth … and then some. When the course ended, the paper seemed to hang over me like a dark cloud all the way until last fall. I was not happy with the outcome of all my time and effort and it just felt like a missed opportunity.
            Thus, Dr. Reilly suggested that I start revising the paper; really looking into the literature regarding my topic and see if I could make anything from the nonsense I had produced the prior semester. There was an incentive – she offered to let me enter the paper into the Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists annual conference in Bowling Green, Ohio where I would get the chance to present my research on the connection between gender and environmental attitudes to a panel of political scientists. While not as glamorous as my recent stint in Chicago, the conference in Ohio allowed me to have a “trial-run” with my paper in front of political scientists who gave me valuable feedback and a 2nd place award!
            I seized the feedback and poured it back into my paper, holding it next to me wherever I went (figuratively, of course). Then, as the fall semester began to close, there was an e-mail from Dr. Reilly with a polite suggestion to take the same paper and submit it to present at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference. While I was immediately excited about the opportunity (especially since the conference would be in Chicago!), I really wanted to weigh my options and finances before I committed for the long haul. I took my time considering the great opportunity that lie before me and found that there was available funding through the university and the department that could help make the trip a bit easier on my pocketbook. So, with 30 minutes to go before the deadline, I submitted my abstract (or summary) of my paper and research and hoped for the best!

            To my surprise, I was accepted the last day of classes during fall semester to present at the conference with a large poster explaining my paper and research.  I really am thankful to have ever been offered the opportunity from NKU and the professors within the Political Science Department. But, as I began to think about it, I realized how pivotal and wide-spread these opportunities are. There have been numerous, countless, similar opportunities thrust before me in the past four years, but not until I grabbed one did it really hit me how fortunate and great these opportunities can be for your collegiate career and for living and breathing.
            My four days in Chicago were filled with some of the best conversations of my life, both academic and personal. I presented my poster on Saturday morning and received even better feedback from professors, graduate students and fellow under-grads than I could have hoped for. I got to sit in on panels with Dr. Reilly where other academics discussed and presented their research and passions within the field. I met tons and tons of people thereby making my handshake that more effective. Overall, it was the greatest experience during my time at NKU – and the only way to top off a great four years.
            It sort of hit me on the plane ride home as my mind muddled over the past few days. I will miss NKU, my fellow students and the professors so much. It has become a place where I feel safe and free to express my ideas and dreams and that is really the best thing I could have gotten from college. When I take the stage in two weeks to receive my diploma, I will be thankful for every experience and every opportunity that was ever made available to me by the faculty at this university. College doesn’t have to be “just four years” of your life as long as you remember that it can provide some of life’s greatest moments and occasions … and you remember to seize them when you can!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Inside Look Into NKU’s Political Science Department

I was excited to hear that the Political Science Department was conducting student blogs.  I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to brag about my major, professors, and my overall experience at NKU.  It was an easy decision for me to choose to attend NKU, but I never would have guessed how wonderful, rewarding, and worthwhile the experience would have been so far.

I am a junior and can’t believe that I am already getting ready for my senior year! I am very thankful for my experience up to now.  I have learned so much in an area that I am passionate about.  The classroom experience is unlike any other.  At NKU you are not just another number.  The professors know you by name, which adds beneficial aspects to the educational experience.

Not only am I receiving a higher education, but being a part of the Political Science Department has also led to an immense amount of opportunities that have come my way. Here I must give a shout out to my advisor, Dr. Reilly, for she has been a large factor in opening the window to many of these opportunities for me.  That is one beautiful aspect to the Political Science Department; the faculty and staff have a vested interest and really want to see the students in this department succeed.

Being a part of this Political Science Department has led to me becoming introduced to a number of different organizations.  I just filled out my paperwork to become a member of Xi Omega, the Political Science National Honor Society. I also am a member of the College Republicans, and have worked my way up to the position of Vice President.  This organization has been very rewarding for me, and I’ve had so much fun being a part of it. Through this organization, I have gotten to meet and work with some unique individuals. I was able to see what it is like to work with and volunteer with different campaigns.  Every fall, NKU holds the Alumni Lecture Series, and I had the privilege to escort one of this year’s guests, Dana Perino around campus.  She was the White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush, and it was such an honor to get to spend time with someone who worked in the White House and worked for a former President.  And, I must add, she was one of the nicest people ever!  Another great aspect of being a member of the College Republicans was traveling to Washington DC to attend the CPAC conference held in February.  This was a meaningful experience and I hope to attend again next year. I was able to hear some great speeches from prominent political figures, and also got to a lot of sightseeing of our nation’s capital. 

For a political science major and a political junkie, this is an exciting time with the presidential primaries and election coming up.  Being from the swing state of Ohio, I feel that this is a popular stomping ground for the majority of the candidates.  I try to go see whoever comes, and would tell anyone else to do the same.  College students are treated like gold at any political event, and I’ve been able to meet and get my picture with Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. 

There’s about a month left of school and I am trying to finish this semester strong.  I am putting my all into my studies, and hope the hard work will pay off!  NKU and the Political Science Department have been wonderful to me, and I could not have asked for a better experience thus far!!!

By: Beth Hamad