by Amy Bearinger, Published March 16, 2012
The Undergraduate Symposium at EMU is something many look forward to all year long. This one-day showcase of exceptional undergraduate student work is an important and exciting day for the university.
One characteristic of the event that makes it so engaging is the number of academic disciplines represented. The variety of topics covered, even within the same department, represents the unique educational interest of each student participant.
The political science department is an example of this distinctive element.
Neil Weinberg, a senior from Sylvania, Ohio, is looking forward to his oral presentation this year.
"I'm excited to present because my project is much more advanced than last year," Weinberg said. "It will be a real accomplishment to create a 10-minute presentation that will be accessible to experts and non-experts alike."
In his project titled, "Waiting in Line at Mount Rushmore: Understanding the Rankings on Presidential Greatness," Weinberg will discuss the evaluation of scholarly rankings on presidential greatness. The ultimate goal for this project was to determine what specific characteristics make a "great" presidency. Audience members at the Symposium will receive a summary of the scholarly rankings, a list of past presidencies that were considered great and finally an explanation for testing the projects hypothesis. Session B, 11 a.m., Room 352.
Equally excited for her Symposium experience is recent graduate Kristal Davis.
Davis was one of twenty students—and one of the first females from Michigan—selected to participate in the American Political Science Association's Ralph Bunche Summer Institute last year. This program encourages students to work toward academic careers in political science by enhancing their writing and research skill, introduce them to leading political scientists, and highlight opportunities in the field.
Davis says this once-in-a-lifetime experience took her Symposium planning and preparation to an entirely new level.
"I learned how to review my own work with a more critical eye and to make it suitable for presentations," Davis said. "I have become a better student, researcher and presenter and my experience has helped me tremendously with preparing for the Undergraduate Symposium."
Her project, "Bridging Geographical, Racial and Political Divides? Public Attitudes and the Future of Metropolitan Detroit," investigates perspectives about crime and safety, political corruption, and the city of Detroit in general. The specific views, which came from both residents of the city and those who live just outside of it, will be compared and contrasted in an attempt to identify attitudes and future implications. Session C, 11:30 a.m., Room 320.