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).

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

The Alpha Delta Theta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, hosted the “Pizza & Politics” series at UCA during Spring Semester 2020.  Pi Sigma Alpha was founded in 1920 and includes more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.  Professor Anthony McMullen, J.D., Associate Professor of Business Law at UCA, was the featured speaker for the first program in the “Pizza & Politics” series on Tuesday, February 18th.  Celebrating Black History Month, the topic of Professor McMullen’s speech was “The Diversity in the Room: Nuances of the American Black Experience.” The speaker series is supported by the national organization.  All interested UCA faculty, staff, and students were invited to attend.  Dr. Heather Yates, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, serves as the faculty advisor for the UCA chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha.

Alumni News: Bethany Anne Bell

Bethany Anne Bell, who graduated from UCA with a B.A. degree in International Studies in August 2014, recently completed her first year as a Peace Corps Volunteer (English teacher) in Rwanda.  Bethany earned a M.A. in Global Development Policy at Boston University in January 2016.  Bethany worked as a Curriculum Writing Fellow and Global English Team Lead Fellow at Bridge International Academies in Cambridge, Massachusetts beginning in January 2016.  She also worked as an Associate Research Analyst for Calvin Edwards & Company and Temporary Project Manager for The New Teacher Program (TNTP) in Atlanta, Georgia from December 2016 to September 2018.  While a student at UCA, Bethany studied the French language and participated in a study abroad program in Rwanda in 2013.

54th Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference held at UCA

The UCA Department of Political Science hosted the 54th Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference at the University of Central Arkansas on November 22-23, 2019.  Some 515 delegates from 30 high schools in Arkansas participated in the conference.  Abby Mattingly served as Secretary-General, and Willis Arnold served as Deputy 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.

During the opening session held in Ida Waldran Auditorium in Main Hall on Friday, November 22nd, Dr. Houston Davis, UCA President, gave the welcoming address to the participating delegates.  In addition, seven students students gave delegate speeches during the opening session, including Kriti Edala (Kuwait) of Pulaski Academy, Olivia Farris (Egypt) of Jonesboro High School, Aniya James (Pakistan) of Pulaski Academy, Donavon Millington (Ireland) of Bentonville West High School, Anshuman Nandy (France) of Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville, DJ Quezada (People’s Republic of China) of Haas Hall Academy-Bentonville, and Lia Wilson (Germany) of Conway High School.  The delegation representing Pakistan (Pulaski Academy) was presented the Outstanding Delegation award during the closing session on Saturday, November 23rd.  The delegations representing the France (Haas Hall Academy) and Kuwait (Pulaski Academy) were presented the Outstanding Delegation Runner-Up awards during the closing session.  Eight additional delegations were presented the Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mention awards, including Benin (Haas Hall Academy-Bentonville), Egypt (Jonesboro High School), Germany (Conway High School), Mexico (Central Junior High School-Springdale), People’s Republic of China (Haas Hall Academy-Bentonville), Philippines (Pulaski Academy), Sri Lanka (Pulaski Academy), and Turkey (Bryant High School).

Department of Political Science hosts the 9th ACMUN conference

The Department of Political Science and the UCA Model United Nations (MUN) student organization hosted the 9th annual Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations (ACMUN) conference at UCA on Friday, November 1, 2019.  More than 100 college and university students from Arkansas State University-Beebe, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, Hendrix College, Harding University, Lyon College, Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, Oklahoma), Northwest Arkansas Community College-Bentonville, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, and UCA participated in the conference, including simulations of the Security Council, Human Rights Council (HRC), Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC), and the Council of the Arab League.  Members of the UCA Model United Nations (MUN) student organization represented the countries of Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, France, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Poland, and Venezuela.  Dr. Mark Elrod and Dr. Mark Mullenbach served as faculty advisors for the UCA MUN delegations participating in the conference.

Outstanding Delegations:
Security Council – United Kingdom (Hendrix College)
Economic & Social Council – Philippines (Hendrix College)
Human Rights Council – United Kingdom (Hendrix College)
Council of the Arab League – Morocco (University of Arkansas-Little Rock)

Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mentions:
Security Council – Equatorial Guinea (Northwest Arkansas Community College), Indonesia (Lyon College), Poland (University of Central Arkansas), Russian Federation (Northeastern State University), South Africa (Harding University), and United States of America (Lyon College).

Economic & Social Council – Canada (University of Central Arkansas), Denmark (Hendrix College), Ethiopia (Northwest Arkansas Community College), Ireland (University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton), Japan (University of Central Arkansas), Mexico (Northwestern Arkansas Community College), Morocco (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), People’s Republic of China (Harding University), Russian Federation (Northeastern State University), Sudan (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), and United Kingdom (Hendrix College).

Human Rights Council – Argentina (Harding University), Brazil (University of Central Arkansas), Denmark (Hendrix College), Italy (Hendrix College), People’s Republic of China (Harding University), Philippines (Hendrix College), Qatar (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), and Saudi Arabia (University of Arkansas-Little Rock).

Council of the Arab League – Algeria (University of Central Arkansas), Israel (Arkansas State University-Jonesboro), Kuwait (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), Lebanon (University of Central Arkansas), Saudi Arabia (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), and Sudan (University of Arkansas-Little Rock).

Best Delegation/Plenary Session:
Ireland – University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton

Best Delegation/Plenary Session – Honorable Mentions:
Denmark – Hendrix College
Italy – Hendrix College
Morocco – University of Arkansas-Little Rock
People’s Republic of China – Harding University
Philippines – Hendrix College
United Kingdom – Hendrix College

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.