Political science students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) presented research at two major conferences this semester.

Six political science students traveled to Washington, D.C., in February to participate in the 2019 national undergraduate conference of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, according to a news release.

The UAM delegation included students Dylan McClain of Monticello; Belle Tan of Singapore; Daniela Delgado of Miami, Fla.; Rachel Langley of Crossett; Jakee Smith of Dumas; and Dwaylen Spain of Sorrel, La., according to the release.

Events included multiple paper presentations, group discussions, networking opportunities, a workshop to help them prepare for graduate school and/or the workforce, and attended a lecture by Major Garrett, a veteran journalist, chief Washington correspondent for CBS and host of the podcast “The Takeout.”

While in Washington, the students also visited the offices of Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton to discuss their academic successes including their in-depth undergraduate research projects, according to the release.

Carol Strong, associate professor of political science, is the Pi Sigma Alpha faculty advisor at UAM.

“These students represented the interests of UAM well at a national level,” she said. “It was wonderful to see them talking about their research so enthusiastically and professionally in the Senator’s offices.”

McClain, (a senior political science – history double major) and Tan (a junior political science – accounting double major) gave a 20-minute conference presentation of their individual (original) political science research papers, followed by question-and-answer sessions.

McClain’s paper, entitled “A Plan to Develop Sustainable Political, Economic and Social Institutions within the Middle Eastern North African region,” sought to identify best practice education programs and economic development initiatives to enhance the chance for sustainable development in developing countries.

Tan’s paper, entitled “Defining Terrorism and the Motivations Surrounding It,” sought to clarify when it is (and is not) appropriate to label political violence as terrorism.

McClain and Tan also presented their work at the 2019 Southern Political Science Association (SPSA) national conference at Austin, Texas, in January. At SPSA, they were joined by Langley (a senior political science major), Delgado (a junior political science major) and Leah Sparkman (a junior political science major from Baytown, Texas).

Strong also chaired a Council on Undergraduate Research roundtable discussion about the best practices of mentoring undergraduate research and participated on a second roundtable discussing how to mentor women to communicate effectively across all levels of academia, according to the release.

Langley’s paper, “Security, Honor and Sacrifice: Comparing Military Service in Turkey and the U.S,” considered the pros and cons of mandatory (versus voluntary) military service for a country’s citizenry.

Delgado’s paper, “The Evolution of the American Presidency,” discussed how the modern presidency compares with the values and examples set out in the U.S. Constitution, focusing on those areas where executive power has been expanded.

Sparkman’s paper, “Texas State Policy and Opportunity Gaps: Funding Disparity in HISD,” considered ways in which funding for education can be improved, using recent experience in Texas as a case study.

Details: Carol Strong, associate professor of political science at strong@uamont.edu, or 870-460-1687.