Notable Faculty & Student Achievements
Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor, Rachel Berger ’23, and Alaina Dixon ’24 presented their faculty-student project “Destructive or Democratic? Perceptions of Civility and Protest Attitudes” at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, held April 7–10 in Chicago. They were joined at the conference by Antonio Esparza ‘22, who presented his research “Climate-Fueled Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: A Comparative Case Study of the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand.” Esparza’s work, which he developed under the supervision of Professor of Political Science Bob Snyder, was part of the undergraduate poster session titled “Politics in a Time of Crisis: COVID-19 and Climate Change.”
Professor of Spanish Katy Ross, visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Katie Aha, and Catherine Hiebel ’22 presented a panel titled “Populism and Surrogacy in Spain” at the XXIX Congreso Internacional de Literatura y Estudios Hispánicos, held March 8–10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ross presented “Surrogacy in Spain: the Bioethical and Feminist concerns”; Aha presented “Populism and Surrogacy”; and Hiebel presented “Spanish Populist Parties and Their Positions on Surrogacy.” The three were told that their presentation was the most coherent and organized panel the audience heard.
Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti co-organized a fourth annual mini-conference as part of her work cochairing the Western Political Science Association’s Embodied Social Change and Healing Justice virtual community. This year, the mini-conference took place virtually on March 11 and featured roundtables and author-meets-respondents panels for three books: Farah Godrej’s Freedom Inside? Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State, Rima Vesely-Flad’s Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation, and Sokthan Yeng’s Buddhist Feminism: Transforming Anger Against Patriarchy. Mariotti also cochaired the final roundtable where an interdisciplinary community of academics and practitioners discussed connections between these three recent books.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor and Senior Director of Integrative and Community-Engaged Learning Sarah Brackmann are thrilled to share that the 2020 National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement reports, which present national voter turnout data for students at colleges and universities as well as specific data for member schools, have been released.
The 2020 voting rate on SU’s campus was 70.8%–higher than the national average (66%) and a 20% increase over our voting rate in the 2016 presidential election (50%). These successes wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of several SU students. Eugenia Agobe ’23, alex bell ‘21, Erica Burley ’22, Antonio Esparza’22, Anna Franklin ’22, Emily Gilby ’21, Alesha Lewis ’21, Juan Mojica ’22, Maureen Rendon ’21, Rachel Thompson ’23, and Josh Tenorio ’23 worked to register and turn out their classmates in spite of the pandemic and ever-changing Texas voting laws.
Southwestern University was well represented at the 11th Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference, held October 20–23 in Baltimore, Maryland. The SU Racial History Project presented a panel featuring research from both 2020 and 2021 SCOPE projects. The panel included:
- Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson: “The Southwestern Racial History Project: An Overview”
- Kristine Velez ’22 (Anthropology): “McKenzie College: A Plantation on the Edge of Indigenous Territory”
- Saul Zuniga ’22 (History): “Soule University, Slavery, and the Confederacy”
- Juan Mojica ’22 (Anthropology): “Hispanics, Methodism, and the Reproduction of Whiteness”
- Rini Mannankara ’22 (Political Science and Anthropology): “The Presence and Representation of Blackness in the 1960s and 1970s at Southwestern University”
In addition, SU alumna Esther S. Ramos-Garcia ’19 (Latin American and Border Studies), who is currently a graduate student at the University of Texas in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies program, presented “Accompanando Ninos Migrantes ‘No Accompanados’: A Feminist Geopolitical Perspective on Central American Unaccompanied Minors in U.S. Long-Term Foster Care (LTFC)” as part of a panel titled “Asylum in Crisis.”
Professor of Political Science Bob Snyder’s paper titled “Ideology and Global Conflicts: Revolutionary Actors and Their Opposition to Liberalism” was published in the journal Studies in Conflict & Terrorism.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor published “Empowering and Engaging Students through Civically Engaged Research” in the journal PS: Political Science and Politics. The article, in which Sydnor argues that students gain valuable democratic skills from conducting research in conjunction with community partners, was coauthored with colleagues at Houston Community College and Queens College of Charlotte who have implemented civically engaged research projects in their classes. It is also part of a symposium in PSthat is the result of the American Political Science Association’s newly launched Institute for Civically Engaged Research.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor, Senior Director of Integrative & Community-Engaged Learning Sarah Brackmann, and students Antonio Esparza ’22 and Eugenia Gabrielle Agobe ’23 presented at the 2021 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. During their session, titled “Developing Skills and Breaking Down Barriers to Voter Engagement: Lessons Learned from the 2020 Election,” the group offered insights into their experiences encouraging student engagement through SU Votes in the lead-up to the 2020 election as well their goals for keeping the momentum going in 2021 and 2022.