Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

Political Science Perspectives on Global Citizenship and Civic Engagement

Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Time: 12:25pm - 2:05pm
Location: Soiland Humanities Building 108
Description: Since global citizenship and civic engagement are integral components of the Political Science program this panel represents students working on projects that capture these components. All are welcome!

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Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Rachael Drew

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang
Obesity in America: Individual or Public Responsibility?

As over 1/3 of US adults are obese, this study measured public attitudes towards obesity by surveying 539 community members. Three collective classes gathered survey data and coded responses. The independent variables tested with SPSS were education and gender. This study focused on responses to the following questions: 1) do you think obesity is a public concern?; and 2) should national healthcare insurance pay for illnesses caused by obesity? There was no significant correlation with the independent variables and respondent answers; however, it is worth noting the percentage difference between those who identify obesity as a public concern and those who think national (public) healthcare insurance should pay for illnesses caused by obesity. Future studies should explore public opinion on national healthcare insurance paying for preventative care measures to decrease the amount of obesity-related illnesses, as well as health strategies of other developed nations.




Student(s):
Madison Jones

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Greg Freeland
Jacqueline Kennedy: A First Lady’s Influence on the Women’s Movement

An Analysis of the emerging role of the independent woman as seen through the First Lady


Gender has been one of the most contested aspects of a hierarchical system that has traditionally placed women in the role of housewife, mother and caretaker. During the late 1900’s, many political and social forces had been at play to liberate women. However, these forces gained momentum when Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy became the First Lady of the United States. While modern-day liberal feminists and conservative traditionalists might disparage the idea that Kennedy was anything other than a wealthy housewife, the details of her life and interests make a solid argument that Kennedy made great strides toward influencing the liberation of women. Through the use of recorded interviews, letters, videos and literature, this study will illustrate that Kennedy was more than a symbolic inspiration for the women’s movement as we know it today.




Student(s):
Ana Maria Kilpatrick

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang
Government Transparency and the Public Trust: A Study of the City of Bell and Salary Disclosure

The purpose of this study is to assess salary disclosure for chief executive officers (city managers). Since city managers are responsible for the administration of local government policies, operations and finances, there is a heightened need for transparency as a means of enhancing public trust. The 2010 Bell scandal in which a city manager falsified public records, misappropriated public funds and dismissed conflicts of interest, serves to highlight the need for greater accountability. Through this case study, transparency and public trust will be analyzed, and opportunities for civic engagement proposed. Qualitative research methods (e.g. semi-structured interviews and site visits) are utilized. Early findings suggest not much has changed in Bell. Three years after the scandal, mistrust is still evident at town hall meetings. Despite an e-makeover on the city’s website, access to certain compensation information is still limited. Requesting documents in person presented a host of challenges.




Student(s):
Benjamin Melano

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang
How do Members of Congress Engage with Their Constituency Through Social Media

An important aspect of politics is communication between the politician and the constituency. Richard Fenno Jr. explored this phenomenon in his book, "Home Style: House Members in Their Districts." He argues every Member has three basic personal goals: (1) re-election, (2) power in Congress, and (3) good public policy. His book explores how Members adopt a certain “home style” to reach their first goal and thereafter, the next two goals follow. As we move into the digital age, social media gives politicians and constituents the ability to communicate in transformative ways. This study aims to analyze the use and effectiveness of social media in promoting the position and voice of Members to their constituency. It also aims to modernize Fenno by utilizing both qualitative and quantitative research methods. All of the collected data will be coded into into three areas: (1) Authoritarian Influence, (2) Personal Connectivity and (3) Community Cultivation.




Student(s):
Brandon White

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jose Marichal
Online Engagement Amongst Political Q and As: Examining Community Respone on Reddit

The advent of the internet has allowed for political figures to utilize new online methods of engaging with potential voters. This study will examine the ‘Ask Me Anything’ portion of the popular media website Reddit. The AMA portion allows for political figures to host sessions where users can pose any type of question in hopes of being answered. The community itself determines which questions are most visible to the figure via a direct upvote/downvote system. The purpose of the study will be to examine quantitatively the various ways the Reddit community responds to politicians in these AMA sessions. Questions asked will be coded based on the positive or negative qualities of questions asked by community members. This study will examine (1) How political party influences community response (2) How political job title influences community response, and (3) How anonymity plays a role in what questions are asked.




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