Department News

Department hosts the 50th Arkansas Political Science Association (ArkPSA) annual meeting at UCA

The Department of Political Science hosted the 50th Arkansas Political Science Association (ArkPSA) annual meeting at UCA on March 3-4, 2023.  Dr. Heather Yates and Dr. Mary Beth Sullivan served as co-program chairs for the annual meeting.  Faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate student paper panels and roundtable discussions were held in the College of Business building on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  The annual meeting dinner was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Conway on Friday evening.  Dr. John Passe-Smith, a faculty member in the UCA Department of Political Science, and Dr. Andrew Dowdle, a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville), were presented the Association’s Distinguished Scholar awards.  Dr. Sara Wallace Goodman, Chancellor’s Fellow and Dean’s Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, will gave the keynote speech during the dinner.  The annual meeting luncheon was held in McCastlain Hall Ballroom at noon on Saturday.  The featured speaker during the luncheon was Mr. Ben Hovland, a UCA alumni and a member of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in Washington DC.

 

UCA students participate in the 63rd Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference in St. Louis

Eight UCA students participated as delegates to the 63rd annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference in St. Louis, Missouri on February 22-25, 2023.  Students from 26 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. participated in the conference, including delegations from the University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, John Brown University, Northwest Arkansas Community College, and Ouachita Baptist University.  The UCA delegation, which represented the United States of America and the Czech Republic (Czechia), consisted of Allison Hellard, Kyle Urban, Gabriel Mince, Julien Mrad, Lauren Clark, Emily Temple, Aminatou Adeniji, and Kayla-Anne Rocher.  Dr. Mark Elrod, a faculty member in the UCA Department of Political Science, was the faculty advisor for the UCA delegation to the MMUN conference.  Dr. Elrod also serves as a faculty representative on the Board of Directors of the MMUN.  The UCA delegation representing the United States and Czechia were recognized as Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mentions for their overall performances during the conference.  Lauren Clark (Czechia) won the Outstanding Delegate and Delegate’s Choice awards in the First Committee (General Assembly).  Julien Mrad (USA) won the Outstanding Delegate-Honorable Mention and Crisis awards in the Security Council.

UCA students participate in The Washington Center (TWC) Inside Washington Seminar in DC

Dr. Bailey Fairbanks, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, led a group of ten UCA students to Washington DC on January 3-11, 2023 to participate in the Inside Washington Seminar, sponsored by The Washington Center (TWC) for Internships & Academic Seminars.  This week-long experiential learning activity included three components: (1) plenary sessions attended by all participants to hear from distinguished speakers and other public figures in Washington DC; (2) educational briefings held at several locations throughout Washington DC, including U.S. government agencies, think tanks, foreign embassies, and media organizations; and (3) small group discussion sessions facilitated by college and university faculty.

The ten UCA students that participated in the seminar are studying in several different academic programs at UCA — Makenna Goss (History, Political Science, and Honors); Kaya-Ann Mason (Sociology and Legal Studies); Brayden Bailey (Political Science); Allison Hellard (Public Administration and International Studies); Jaycie Sturdivant (Political Science, Public Administration, and Creative Writing); Madalyn Dowell (Political Science, Public Administration, and English); Phoenix Vu (Political Science, Public Administration, and Honors); Ryan Webb (Political Science); Mackenzie Rowley (French and Spanish); and Richard Ware (Political Science, Philosophy, and Honors).

Department hosts the 57th Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference at UCA

The Department of Political Science hosted the 57th annual Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference at the University of Central Arkansas on November 18-19, 2022.  Some 420 delegates from 27 high schools in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas participated in the conference.  Sarah Fulmer served as Secretary-General, and Abby Mattingly served as Deputy Secretary-General of the conference.  Dr. Mark Elrod served as AMUN Conference Coordinator, and Dr. Mark Mullenbach served as AMUN Faculty Advisor Liaison.

During the opening session held in Ida Waldran Auditorium in Main Hall on Friday, November 18th, Dr. Mark Elrod gave the welcoming address to the participating delegates.  In addition, six students nominated by their faculty advisors gave delegate speeches during the opening session, including Jake Bodishbaugh (Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville), Rohan Collins (Bentonville West High School), Ahilan Eraniyan (Haas Hall Academy-Bentonville), Sydney Evans (Conway High School), Mariam Parray (Pulaski Academy), and Cassidy Waide (Haas Hall Academy-Springdale).

During the closing session, the nine students who were elected Rapporteurs in their respective committees were recognized for speeches, including Kai Hu (Venezuela), Claire Brandon (Norway), Veronica Rhoten (India), Alexandra Kruse (Denmark), Ava Sophia Palacios (Honduras), Avery Ferguson (Indonesia), Alejandra Avila (Norway), Mimi Smith (Czechoslovakia), and Maylee Rollins (India).  In addition, position paper awards were presented to the head delegates of the following delegations during the closing session — Austria (St. Michael Catholic High School), Belgium (St. Michael Catholic High School), Brazil (ASMSA), Czech Republic (St. Michael Catholic High School), Denmark (St. Michael Catholic High School), Ethiopia (Pulaski Academy), Greece (St. Michael Catholic High School), Iceland (Brookland High School), India (Pulaski Academy), Italy (ASMSA), Lithuania (St. Michael Catholic High School), New Zealand (Bentonville High School), Pakistan (Pulaski Academy), Philippines (Rockhurst High School), Portugal (St. Michael Catholic High School), Russian Federation (Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville), Spain (Bentonville High School), Tunisia (Pulaski Academy), Venezuela (Pulaski Academy), and Zimbabwe (Benton High School).

Following the conference, the delegation representing India (Pulaski Academy) was presented the Outstanding Delegation award.  The delegations representing the Czech Republic (St. Michael Catholic High School) and the Russian Federation (Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville) were presented the Outstanding Delegation Runner-Up awards following the conference.  Ten additional delegations were presented the Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention awards, including Albania (Haas Hall Academy-Bentonville), Denmark (St. Michael Catholic High School), Iran (Pulaski Academy), Italy (ASMSA), New Zealand (Bentonville High School), Pakistan (Pulaski Academy), Philippines (Rockhurst High School), Tunisia (Pulaski Academy), Ukraine (ASMSA), and Venezuela (Pulaski Academy).

 

UCA students participate in the 12th Arkansas Model United Nations (ACMUN) conference at NWACC

Fifteen UCA students representing the UCA Model United Nations (MUN) student organization participated in the 12th annual Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations (ACMUN) Conference at Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) on Friday, November 4, 2022.  The group, which included Julien Mrad, Allison Hellard, Gabriel Mince, Cooper Horton, Skyler Austen, Makenna Goss, Ryan Webb, Claire Okoma, Joshua Waack, Jaycie Sturdivant, Aminatou Adeniji, Emily Temple, Erin Smith, Jackson Rogers, and Brooke DeSalvo, represented the countries of Gabon, People’s Republic of China, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Kingdom.  The conference included simulations of the UN Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC), UN Human Rights Council (HRC), UN Security Council, and the Council of the Arab League.  Dr. Mark Elrod, a lecturer in the UCA Department of Political Science, was the faculty advisor for the UCA students.

The following UCA students were recognized for their performances at the 12th ACMUN Conference: Joshua Waack – Outstanding Delegate-Honorable Mention (ECOSOC, Cote d’Ivoire); Makenna Goss – Outstanding Delegate-Honorable Mention (ECOSOC, PRC); Julien Mrad – Outstanding Delegate-Honorable Mention (Security Council, UK); and Ryan Webb – Outstanding Delegate-Honorable Mention (Security Council, Gabon).  In addition, the PRC Delegation (Cooper Horton, Skyler Austen, and Makenna Goss) was selected as Best Delegation in the Plenary Session of the General Assembly and Overall Best Delegation-Honorable Mention.

Department alumnus Ben Hovland speaks at UCA Honors College event

Ben Hovland, who graduated with a B.A. degree in Political Science from UCA in 2000, was invited by the UCA Honors College to speak to students and faculty on the topic, “A National Perspective on the State of U.S. Election Administration for the 2022 Midterm Elections,” in Doyne Auditorium during x-period on Thursday, September 15, 2022.  A graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law (JD degree) in 2007, Mr. Hovland has served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) since February 2019.  The U.S. EAC, an independent, bipartisan commission, was established following the adoption of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.  Previously, he served as Deputy General Counsel in the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office from 2008 to 2011 and as Senior Counsel for the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee from 2013 to 2019.

 

Department holds the 2022 Pi Sigma Alpha induction ceremony

The Department of Political Science held its annual induction ceremony for the Alpha Beta Theta Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, on April 14, 2022.  Dr. Heather Yates, Faculty Advisor for UCA’s Pi Sigma Alpha chapter, announced the 2021-2022 inductees, including Madalyn Dowell, Sarah Fulmer, Madeline Kittler, Vivian Norris, and Jaycie Sturdivant.  Peyton Reeves served as president of the chapter in 2021-2022, along with Aaron Conrad (Vice President), Taylor Farmer (Secretary), and Michael Langley (Treasurer).  Speakers during the induction ceremony included Dr. Tom Williams, Dean of the College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Dr. Kim Hoffman, Director of the Public Administration Program, and Dr. Gizachew Tiruneh, Director of the International Studies Program.  The Department of Political Science recognized the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus and Keynote Speaker, Amy Whitehead,  Chief of Staff in the Office of the UCA President.  The department also honored the 2021-2022 Outstanding Students: International Studies – Kenny Vo and Vanessa Rogers-Wright; Public Administration – Montana Cramer, Aurora King, and Logan Smedley; and Political Science – Taylor Farmer and Sarah Fulmer.

UCA students participate in the 62nd Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference in St. Louis

Six UCA students participated as delegates to the 62nd annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference in St. Louis, Missouri on February 23-26, 2022.  Students from more than 30 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. participated in the conference, including delegations from the University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, John Brown University, Lyon College, Northwest Arkansas Community College, and Ouachita Baptist University.  Rachel Bowen Pittman, who serves as Executive Director of UNA-USA, gave the keynote speech during the opening session of the conference on Wednesday, Thursday, February 23rd.  The UCA delegation, which represented Vietnam, consisted of Lauren Clark, Cooper Horton, Isabella Kopittke, Julien Mrad, Becca Owen, and Joshua Waack.  Dr. Mark Elrod, a faculty member in the UCA Department of Political Science, was the faculty advisor for the UCA delegation to the MMUN conference.  Dr. Elrod also serves as a faculty representative on the Board of Directors of the MMUN.  The UCA delegation representing Vietnam was recognized as Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention for its overall performance during the conference.


(l to r):  Dr. Mark Elrod, Julien Mrad, Cooper Horton, Joshua Waack, Isabella Kopittke, Becca Owen, and Lauren Clark

 

Department hosts the 56th Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference at UCA

The Department of Political Science hosted the 56th Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference on November 19-20, 2021.  Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the conference was held virtually for the second year.  Delegates from more than 20 high schools in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas, as well as one high school in Bolivia, participated in the virtual conference.  Sarah Fulmer served as Secretary-General of the conference.  Dr. Mark Elrod, Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, served as AMUN Conference Coordinator.  Dr. Mark Mullenbach, Associate Professor of Political Science, served as AMUN Faculty Advisor Liaison.  Dr. Houston Davis, UCA President, gave the welcoming address to the participating delegates during the Opening Session.  The Opening Session also featured a speech by Sarah Fulmer, AMUN secretary-general.

The delegation representing Ukraine (Rockhurst High School) won the Outstanding Delegation award.  The delegations representing Japan (Bentonville High School) and Kenya (Haas Hall Academy) won the Outstanding Delegation-Runner Up awards.  Nine additional delegations won Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention awards, including Australia (Little Rock Catholic High School), Bangladesh (ASMSA), Jamaica (Rogers Heritage High School), Lebanon (ASMSA), Mexico (Conway High School), New Zealand (Brookland High School), Panama (ASMSA), People’s Republic of China (HarBer High School), and United Kingdom (Rogers Heritage High School).

Outstanding Delegate awards were presented to the top delegates in each of the committees, including Daniel Hiles (Ukraine) – First Committee; Nicholas Esarte (DPRK) – Second Committee; Pete Mandacina (Ukraine) – Third Committee; Veera Unnam (Guinea) – Novice General Assembly Committee; Arindam Deb (Vietnam) – Joint Security Council (SC) – Peace & Security Council (PSC) Emergency Session; Breck Tyler (Australia) – Historical Security Council; Miceala Morana (Switzerland) – Economic and Social Council; Gabriel Guerra-York (Ukraine) – Human Rights Council; and Addu Minton (Japan) – Model International Court of Justice.

UCA student selected for Critical Language Scholarship and the Freeman Award for Study in Asia

Vanessa Rogers-Wright, an undergraduate student majoring in International Studies and Political Science, was chosen for the Critical Language Scholarship and the Freeman Award for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA).  Vanessa, who will be studying at Myongji University in Seoul, South Korea during Fall Semester 2021, is minoring in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Asian studies.  The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program is a U.S. Department of State-sponsored program designed to give American college students cultural immersion experiences abroad and grow the number of U.S. students who study a foreign language. The program aims to increase fluency in languages that are significant in the global workforce.  Freeman-ASIA is sponsored by the Freeman Foundation, a private foundation with offices in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Freeman Foundation’s major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of East Asia. Through education and educational institutes, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories, and economies in the United States and a better understanding of the American people and of American institutions and purposes by the peoples of East Asia.