UCA Political Science Club Hosts Distinguished Panel on Civil Rights

The Political Science Club hosted an open discussion with a distinguished panel of civil liberties attorneys and social scientists in UCA’s Doyne Auditorium at 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Thursday, September 19, 2019.  The panelists – which included Bettina Brownstein, civil liberties attorney; Dr. Whit Barringer, a faculty member in UCA’s Schedler Honors College; and Cindy Lea, a faculty member in UCA’s Schedler Honors College – discussed the struggles of marginalized people for civil rights in the U.S.  The event was co-sponsored by the UCA Office of Institution Diversity and Inclusion; Vote Everywhere; the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honors Society; the UCA College of Liberal Arts; and the UCA Schedler Honors College.  Dr. Heather Yates, Assistant Professor in the UCA Department of Political Science, serves as Faculty Adviser for the Political Science Cub.

Department of Political Science Hosted 3rd Model UN Summer Camp at UCA

The Department of Political Science hosted the 3rd Annual “Arkansas and the World: Model United Nations Summer Camp” at the University of Central Arkansas on July 14-19, 2019.  Forty-four Arkansas high school students participated in a unique, interactive learning experience designed to enhance their understanding of international relations, diplomacy, and international organizations in the 21st century.  The students participated in workshops on international relations, the fundamentals of Model United Nations, the historical roots of the United Nations, and the UN’s role in international affairs.  The students also represented assigned countries in a simulation of the UN General Assembly, including several committee and plenary sessions held throughout the week.  The students also competed in a Global Trivia Competition held each night of the summer camp.

The summer camp was funded by a grant awarded to Dr. Mark Mullenbach, Associate Professor of Political Science, by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE).  Ten individuals, mostly current or former UCA students,  served on the summer camp staff as resident assistants and mentors.  Guest speakers during the week-long summer camp included Dr. Tom Williams, Dean of the UCA College of Liberal Arts; Ms. DeAnn McGrew, Director of Agriculture & Volunteer Programs, Winrock International; Mr. Willis Arnold, Clinton Foundation; Mr. Josué Villa, Consular Officer, Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock; Dr. Houston Davis, UCA President; and Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Department of Political Science “Outstanding Students” (2018-2019)

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Academic Honors Convocation was held in McCastlain Hall on Sunday, April 28, 2019. Dr. Tom Williams, Dean of the CLA, welcomed faculty, students, and family members attending the convocation.  During the convocation, Dr. Williams congratulated all of the students chosen for the awards presented by the departments of English; History; Languages, Linguistics, Literatures, & Cultures; Philosophy & Religion; Political Science; and Sociology, Criminology, & Anthropology.  He also announced that Carolyn Casey, a senior majoring in International Studies, was named the CLA Student-of-the-Year for 2018-2019.

Dr. Clay Arnold, Chair of the Department of Political Science, announced the winners of the department’s annual awards:

Outstanding Student in Political Science:  Cagney Kilgroe

Outstanding Student in Public Administration:  Matilda Benson

Outstanding Students in International Studies:  Carolyn Casey and Itzel Velazquez

International Studies and Political Science Student Named Newman Fellow

Itzel Velazquez, a senior double-majoring in International Studies and Political Science and minoring in Latin American and Latino studies, was named a recipient of the Newman Civic Fellowship.  Itzel was one of 262 students across the United States who were named as the 2019-2020 Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.  Velazquez is a UCA Ambassador, President’s Leadership Fellow, secretary for the Association of Future Alumni and president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors society. She is also an ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere campaign, through which she was involved in civic engagement on campus and helped with voter registration drives.  She has also served as vice president of the Latino Student Association and on the Student Government Association Diversity Committee.

Itzel Velazquez

2019 Pi Sigma Alpha Induction Ceremony

The 2019 Induction Ceremony for the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national Political Science Honors Society,  was held in the Fireplace Room in McCastlain Hall on Monday, April 15, 2019.  Dr. Heather Yates, Assistant Professor in the UCA Department of Political Science, served as Faculty Adviser for the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, and Itzel Velazquez served as President of the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha in 2018-2019.  Dr. Peter Mehl, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UCA, welcomed the students and guests to the induction ceremony.  Dr. Clay Arnold, Chairperson of the UCA Department of Political Science, presided over the induction ceremony.

Five political science students were formally inducted during the ceremony, including Jamie Matilda-Ann Benson, Jacob N. Holland, Logan C. Koprovic, Lauren C. McCauley, and Keely Rose Spugnardi.  The Chairman of the UCA Department of Political Science, Dr. Clay Arnold, also presented the James D. Gingrich with the UCA Department of Political Science’s 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award.  Mr. Gingrich, class of 1977, is the Founder and Director of the State Courts Partnership at the Bowen School of Law in Little Rock.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson visits UCA

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a best-selling author and sociology professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., visited UCA on Monday, April 15, 2019.  Dr. Tyson is the author of 19 books, including his most recent book What Truth Sounds Like.  Dr. Heather Yates, Assistant Professor of Political Science, held a “conversation” with Dr. Tyson on Monday afternoon (2:15pm-4:00pm).  Later that evening (7:00pm-9:00pm), Dr. Tyson gave a keynote address titled, “Fake News, Public Discourse, and Seeking Truth in America.”  UCA faculty, students, and the public were invited to attend both events held in McCastlain Hall Ballroom.  Dr. Tyson’s visit was sponsored by the UCA Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor Society and the UCA Department of Sociology, Criminology, and Anthropology, as well as the UCA NAACP, UCA Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, UCA College of Liberal Arts, Office of the UCA Provost, and the UCA Foundation.

Department of Political Science sponsors “International Studies Day” and “Spring Cultural Event”

The UCA Department of Political Science sponsored “International Studies Day” on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.  UCA students and faculty were invited to participate in the day’s events, which included two morning sessions, a luncheon session, and the International Studies Club’s Spring Cultural Event.  All of the events were held in the Student Center Ballroom.

Morning Session I (9:25am-10:40am):
Dr. Mark Mullenbach, Director of the International Studies Program, UCA Department of Political Science, Presentation on “Professional Opportunities & Careers in International Affairs.”

Morning Session II (10:50am-12:05pm):
International Studies Program Alumni Panel – Jose Guzzardi (’07), Multinational Account Manager, B Lab, New York City, NY; Chase Mangiapane (’07), Attorney, The Law Offices of Peter Miller, Little Rock, AR; and Abayi Ibro Ayouba (’15), Administrative Specialist, Office of the Dean of the UCA College of Liberal Arts.

Luncheon Session (12:15pm-1:30pm):
Keynote Speaker – Jose Guzzardi, Multinational Account Manager, B Lab, New York City, NY.  Luncheon Session sponsored by the UCA Model United Nations (MUN) student organization and the Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) program.

Spring Cultural Event (4:00pm-5:30pm):
The International Studies Club at UCA hosted the 8th annual Spring Cultural Event, including a celebration of the culture, music, and food of Brazil.  Dr. Gizachew Tiruneh, Associate Professor in the UCA Department of Political Science, served as the faculty advisor for the International Studies Club.  Ramatou Souley Boubacar, UCA senior majoring in International Studies, served as president of the International Studies Club in 2018-2019.  Jose Guzzardi, who graduated from UCA with a B.A. degree in International Studies in 2007, talked about the political history of Brazil.

59th Annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference in St. Louis

Twelve UCA students participated in the 59th annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference held in St. Louis, Missouri on February 20-23, 2019.  More than 350 students from some 30 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. participated in the four-day conference held at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet.  Wes Rogerson, an Officer for Global Health Advocacy at the United Nations Foundation (UNF) in Washington DC, gave the keynote speech during the opening session of the conference on Wednesday, February 20th.  The UCA delegations, which represented Afghanistan and Peru, consisted of Layla Alhajjaj, Skyler Austen, Carolyn Casey, Dylan Garrison, Nelson Graves, Mya Hall, Ganell Jones, Cagney Kilgroe, Abby Mattingly, Quade Reed, Riley Tribble, and Kenny Vo.  Dr. Mark Elrod and Dr. Mark Mullenbach, faculty members in the Department of Political Science, served as faculty advisors for the UCA delegations to the MMUN conference.

Pi Sigma Alpha: Alpha Delta Theta Chapter Hosted “Pizza & Politics” Series

The UCA Department of Political Science’s Alpha Delta Theta Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha (PSA), the national political science honor society, hosted the “Pizza & Politics” series during Spring Semester 2019.  PSA was founded in 1920 and includes more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.  Dr. Tom Williams, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), was the featured speaker for the first program in the “Pizza & Politics” series on Thursday, February 21st.  Dr. Taine Duncan, Associate Professor of Philosophy, was the speaker for the second program on Thursday, March 14th, and Dr. Phillip Fletcher, Executive Director of the City of Hope Outreach, was the speaker for the third program on Thursday, April 4th.  All interested UCA faculty, staff, and students were invited to attend.  Political Science student Itzel Velazquez served as the President of UCA’s chapter of PSA in 2018-2019.  Dr. Heather Yates in the Department of Political Science served as the faculty advisor of the chapter.

Alumni News: Jean Francois Adoupo

Jean Francois Adoupo, who graduated from UCA with a B.A. degree in Political Science and International Studies in August 2017, was recently hired to the staff of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in his home country of Cote d’Ivoire.  The IOM provides assistance to thousands of displaced individuals and migrant workers who have gone to Cote d’Ivoire in recent years from West African neighboring countries, as well as to Ivorian migrants who have recently chosen to return to Cote d’Ivoire after years of political instability.

According to the IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, “Côte d’Ivoire is one of the West African countries with the highest number of migrants on its territory, with 2.2 million people living and/or working in the country….[b]etween January 1st, 2017 and October 31st, 2018, IOM Côte d’Ivoire assisted 4,889 Ivorian migrants in their voluntary return to Côte d’Ivoire, including 1,284 women (26%).”

The IOM was originally established in 1951 to assist individuals displaced in Europe following the Second World War.  Nearly one million migrants in Europe were resettled with the assistance of the IOM during the 1950s.  Currently, there are more than 170 member-states of the IOM, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.  The IOM has an annual budget of $1.8 billion and worldwide staff of 11,500 employees.