One of Kansas State University’s goals in Vision 2025 is to involve a growing number of outstanding undergraduate students in academic research. Assisting and collaborating with faculty on academic scholarship not only provides hands-on experience for our students, it adds considerable depth to their education. Instead of merely listening to a summary of relevant information in class, they get to become part of the exciting process of generating new knowledge themselves.
An innovative new program in KSU’s College of Arts and Sciences helps students to become more involved in the research process. It provides $1000 toward the cost of a student’s education if they assist a faculty member with a research project for one semester. Not surprisingly, a number of political science students have taken advantage of this opportunity and found it extremely rewarding.
Senior Elizabeth Reichenberger, senior Patrick Boisson and sophomore Joshua Edgar are working with assistant professor Nathaniel Birkhead on a large research project cataloging the significant bills that have been passed by state governments over time. The data will be the first of its kind, and will provide new insight on trends and dynamics of state level policy-making. Junior Brodie Hermann has been working with assistant professor Sabri Ciftci to collect new data on anti-Muslim attitudes and acts in the US and Europe. The data collection effort is part of a larger research project led by Dr. Ciftci, and Brodie and Dr. Ciftci will jointly present their research at the Midwest Political Science Association Meeting in Chicago in April 2015.
Sophomore Patrick Riggin is working with assistant professor Carla Martinez Machain on a project studying some of the reasons why civilian populations may be bombed during war. Patrick is collecting new data on the subject, and he and Dr. Machain will present the research together at a national political science conference in fall 2015.
Under the guidance of assistant professor Michael Flynn, junior Rebecca Kaye is studying factors that motivate members of Congress to place human rights issues on the foreign policy agenda. Their research is part of a larger project with scholars from the University of Georgia and the University of Oklahoma. Currently, Rebecca and Dr. Flynn are examining the Congressional Record, looking for speeches that reference human rights organizations or cite information provided by these organizations.
Junior Monica Macfarlane and sophomore Brett Sitts have assisted professor Laurie Johnson with some of the research that will inform her forthcoming book, Honor in America? Tocqueville on American Enlightenment. Monica conducted primary research on Tocqueville’s thought on religion in American life and politics, especially the ways in which Protestantism adjusted to fit democratic and uniquely American priorities. Brett researched Tocqueville’s thought on the American military and its relationship to the civilian population, especially the two groups’ divergent views on honor and how that affected civil-military relations. Both students’ efforts were invaluable, and helped to provide insight for Dr. Johnson’s research.