Among the many disruptions of college life due to the coronavirus pandemic is the widespread cancellation of academic conferences that provide undergraduates the opportunity to share the research they conducted as part of their studies.
That was the unfortunate case with the Midwest Political Science Association Conference scheduled for this week in Chicago. Five Grove City College Political Science students were looking forward to traveling to the Windy City, where they would hear from the region’s leading political science lights, present their own research and perhaps earn accolades for their work.
Senior Ian McGrew ’20 described the lost opportunity as a “bummer.” He attended the conference last year with a poster explaining his quantitative research on the perceived discrimination against the Muslim population in the United Kingdom and how that affects the chances of radicalization that could result in terrorist or criminal activity.
“I had never presented research before, which made it an intimidating atmosphere to enter, but the academic scholars were very welcoming and supportive,” he said. “This year I planned on presenting qualitative research on the U.S.-China relationship.”
McGrew’s paper – “When Will the United States Say No?” – addresses contemporary U.S.-China relations and analyzes how China seeks to become a great power and potentially surpass the U.S. as the most powerful state in the international system.
Conducting and presenting research has many benefits for students. Dr. Sam Stanton, professor of Political Science, said.
"Undergraduate research helps students develop skills that can help them both in college and future academic studies - and the practice of doing research work can help students better understand the political science literature -- and its strengths and weaknesses -- that GCC students learn in their studies," Stanton said.
"Undergraduate research experience also helps our students develop marketable skills for work in government agencies, think-tanks, and state and national legislative assemblies," said Dr. Michael Coulter, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science.
Other students and the research they intended to present at the conference are:
- Senior David Calhoun ’20 – “A Better Way Forward? An Analysis of Chinese and World Bank Loans to Sub-Saharan Africa and Democratization in the Region.” Since 2000 China has developed a loan apparatus that is consistently giving states an alternative to the IMF and World Bank. Calhoun tests whether Chinese loans had a more negative effect on democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa than World Bank loans from 2000-2017.
- Junior Jonathan Skee ’21 – “Great Powers and Nuclear Weapons: An Examination of the Relationship between Nuclear Warhead Stockpiles and Militarized Interstate Disputes.” Skee’s preliminary research shows that great powers appear more willing to engage in militarized interstate disputes as their stockpiles of nuclear weapons increase.
- Junior Zachary Wilson ’21 – “China’s Rising Power and Possible Conflict with the U.S. in the Pacific Ocean” Wilson seeks to observe China’s rise in power in the region and the U.S. response and consider whether conflict between the two powers is more likely to be caused and engaged in through economic or military factors.
- Junior Wyatt Kriebel ’21 – “Public Opinion and the War on Terror: An Empirical Study of the Effects of Income and Education on Public Opinion during the Presidency of George W. Bush.” Kriebel analyzes public opinion of Bush with an emphasis is placed on understanding the multiple causes of change in public opinion and the effect of that opinion on the president’s decision making.