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E-Newsletter

Student News: Vanessa Rogers-Wright

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.

2021 Pi Sigma Alpha Induction Ceremony

The UCA Department of Political Science held a virtual induction ceremony for the Alpha Beta Theta Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, on April 8, 2021.  Dr. Clay Arnold, Chair of the UCA Department of Political Science, announced the 2019-2020 inductees, including Andrey Archer, Caitlin Campbell, Gwendolyn Daniels, Dylan Garrison, Margaret (Greta) Hacker, Emily Kaucher, Colton King, Matthew Law, Abby Mattingly, Lauren McHenry, Bailey Morgan, Mylon Boston, Kennedy Neely, Jackson Rouse, Zoe Tollette, Louisa Utley, Amy Vedder, and Booker (Trey) White.  Dr. Arnold also announced the 2020-2021 inductees, including Aaron Conrad, Emma Davis, Taylor Farmer, Michael Frost, Javier Hernandez, Michael Langley, Ron Latina, Cara Looney, Tanner Standridge, Vanessa Rogers-Wright, and Logan Smedley.  Dr. Heather Yates served as faculty advisor for the chapter, and Lauren McHenry served as president of the chapter in 2020-2021.  Speakers included Mr. Sean Twonbly, Executive Director of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Chapter; UCA President Houston Davis; and Dr. Tom Williams, Dean of the College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The Department of Political Science recognized the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus and Keynote Speaker, Mr. Curtis Barnett, Chief Executive Officer of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  Mr. Barnett graduated from UCA with a degree in political science in 1986.  The department also honored the 2020-2021 Outstanding Students: International Studies – Abby Mattingly, Oluwatunmise Sodiya, and Vito Whitmore; Public Administration – Margaret (Greta) Hacker, Amy Vedder, and Booker (Trey) White; and Political Science – Lauren McHenry.

61st Annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference

Four UCA students participated as delegates to the 61st annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference on February 18-20, 2021.  Students from 28 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. participated in the three-day virtual conference, including delegations from the University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, John Brown University, Northwest Arkansas Community College, and Ouachita Baptist University.  Akin Aytekin, a journalist in Istanbul, and Irfan Saeed, Deputy Coordinator (Acting) of Prevention & Detention Office in the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State, gave the keynote speeches during the opening session of the conference on Thursday, February 18th.  The UCA delegation, which represented the People’s Republic of China, consisted of Abby Mattingly, Sarah Fulmer, Michael Langley, and Vito Whitmore.  Dr. Mark Elrod, faculty member in the Department of Political Science, served as the faculty advisor for the UCA delegation to the MMUN conference.  Dr. Elrod was re-elected to a three-year term as a faculty representative on the Board of Directors of the MMUN.  The UCA delegation representing the People’s Republic of China was recognized for several awards during the closing ceremony, including Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention (General Assembly First Committee-Sarah Fulmer), Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention (Security Council-North, Abby Mattingly), and Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention (Security Council-North, Crisis Simulation, Abby Mattingly).  The UCA delegation representing the People’s Republic of China was also recognized as Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention for its overall performance.

55th Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference sponsored by Department of Political Science

The UCA Department of Political Science hosted the 55th Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference on November 20-21, 2020.  Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the conference was held virtually.  Delegates from 18 high schools in Arkansas participated in the conference.  Nelson Graves 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 speeches by Nelson Graves (AMUN secretary-general) and Alex Battaglia (former AMUN secretary-general and Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic), who gave the keynote address.

The delegation representing the Czech Republic (Conway High School) won the Outstanding Delegation award.  The delegations representing Canada (Bentonville High School) and Zimbabwe (ASMSA) won the Outstanding Delegation-Runner Up awards.  Ten additional delegations won Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention awards, including Argentina (Conway High School), Brazil (Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville), Democratic Republic of Congo (Bentonville High School), Egypt (Conway High School), Indonesia (Conway High School), Russian Federation (Bryant High School), South Africa (Pulaski Academy), United Arab Emirates (Thaden School), United Kingdom (Thaden School), and United States of America (Bryant High School).

Outstanding Delegate awards were presented to the top delegates in each of the ten committees, including Aardra Menon (Japan) – First Committee; James Quirk (Canada) – Second Committee; Lydia Quinn (Indonesia) – Third Committee; Janet Fu (Slovak Republic) – Novice General Assembly Committee; Knox Graham (PRC) – Security Council; Mariam Parray (Iran) – Historical Security Council; Jackson Guthrie (Mexico) – Economic and Social Council; Zoe Russell (Czech Republic) – Human Rights Council; Masheyat Rahman (Brazil) – Model International Court of Justice; and Courtney McGarrah (Mexico) – Permanent Council of the Organizations of American States (OAS).

Department of Political Science sponsors 10th Annual ACMUN Conference

The Department of Political Science and the UCA Model United Nations (MUN) student organization sponsored the 10th annual Arkansas College Model United Nations (ACMUN) Conference on Friday, November 6, 2020.  Delegates from seven colleges and universities in Arkansas, as well as Oklahoma State University and Universidad de La Salle in Bogotá, Colombia, participated in the first virtual Model United Nations conference sponsored by UCA. The delegates represented 40 countries in simulations of four committees, including the Economic & Social Council, Human Rights Council, Council of the Arab League, and Security Council. Twenty-seven of the participating delegates received Outstanding Delegation and Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention awardsAbby Mattingly, a senior majoring in International Studies and French, served as the President of the UCA Model UN student organization in 2020-2021.  Dr. Mark Elrod and Dr. Mark Mullenbach serve as faculty advisors for the UCA MUN student organization.

UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha Recognized by National Organization

The Alpha Delta Theta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha was honored with one of the national organization’s Best Chapter Awards for 2019-2020.   The national organization noted that “these awards are intended to recognize local chapters that are particularly active in their departments and universities and exhibit high levels of energy and creativity in furthering the goals of the honor society.”  The Alpha Delta Theta chapter and its members have been dedicated to sustaining robust chapter programming such as its perennial spring lecture series titled “Pizza & Politics,” as well as co-partnering with campus organizations like Vote Everywhere to support voter registration drives and voter awareness campaigns.  The Best Chapter Award is accompanied by a cash prize so that our chapter can continue its work and commitment to bringing informative programs to the UCA community and promoting civic engagement.  The faculty advisor for the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, is Dr. Heather Yates of the Department of Political Science.

Department of Political Science announces “Outstanding Students” for 2019-2020

Dr. Clay Arnold, Chair of the Department of Political Science, announced the winners of the department’s annual awards for the 2019-2020 academic year:

Outstanding Student in Political Science:  Zoe Tollette (Little Rock, AR)

Outstanding Students in Public Administration:  Cagney Kilgroe (Malvern, AR) and Mylon Boston (Crossett, AR)

Outstanding Students in International Studies:  Kennedy Neely (Weiner, AR) and Louisa Utley (Little Rock, AR)

Alumni News: Alex Battaglia

Alexander Battaglia, who graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies in May 2017, was awarded the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.  Battaglia was one of over 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research and teach abroad for the 2020-21 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

While at UCA, Battaglia was a member of political science honors society Phi Sigma Alpha, the Model United Nations Club, and the International Studies Club.  He served as Secretary-General of the Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) in 2016, and he was also a member of the cross-country and track and field teams at UCA.  From 2018 to 2020, Battaglia served in the Peace Corps as a Spanish Primary Literacy Promoter in the Dominican Republic.  Battaglia plans to use the ETA to teach English in a Madrid high school during the 2020-21 academic year and says he is excited to have the opportunity to serve as a representative of the U.S. and UCA in Spain.  “Fulbright offers a unique opportunity for me to grow as a language educator and foster special relationships at a time in which we desperately need global cooperation and friendship,” he added.  Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards typically begin in the fall semester. However, due to COVID-19, these awards are expected to begin in January 2021.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at UCA through the Department of Exemplary Studies.  The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.  Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.

Student News: Greta Hacker

Greta Hacker, a UCA Honors College student majoring in Public Administration in the Department of Political Science, was honored as the 2020 Intern of the Year during the 14th Annual Internship Banquet on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in the Student Center Ballroom.  A native of Jonesboro, Greta completed her internship with the Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) at UCA. Shelby Fiegal, Director of the CCED, said of Greta, “She is one of the best and brightest at UCA.” Dr. Kim Hoffman, an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of the Public Administration Program since 2001, nominated Greta for the award.  Dr. Hoffman commented, “I can say that Greta is the best student I have had in any course, in many years.” Greta is also a Presidential Scholar, award winning member of the UCA Debate and Forensics Team, and is a peer tutor for UCA’s Center for Writing and Communication.

In May 2020, Greta was named a 2020-21 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.  Greta was one of 290 college and university students who make up the 2020-2021 Newman Civic Fellows. UCA President Houston Davis nominated Greta for the fellowship.

60th Annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference in St. Louis

Six UCA students participated in the 60th annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference held in St. Louis, Missouri on February 19-22, 2020.  Several hundred students from 35 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. participated in the four-day conference held at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet.  Carlos Suarez, President of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) of St. Louis gave the keynote speech during the opening session of the conference on Wednesday, February 19th.  The UCA delegation, which represented France, consisted of Analese Cash, Dylan Garrison, Jaylan Harris, Hope Menendez, Quade Reed (head delegate), and Vito Whitmore.  Dr. Mark Elrod, faculty member in the Department of Political Science, served as the faculty advisor for the UCA delegation to the MMUN conference.  Dr. Elrod is also currently serving as a faculty representative on the Board of Directors of the MMUN.  During the closing session on Saturday, February 22nd, the UCA students were recognized for several awards, including Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention in the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) – France (Dylan Garrison and Hope Menendez); Delegates’ Choice Award in the UNEA – France (Dylan Garrison and Hope Menendez); Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention in the General Assembly Plenary – France (Dylan Garrison, Hope Menendez, Analese Cash, and Vito Whitmore); and Delegates’ Choice Award in the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) – France (Jaylan Harris).