It’s National Undergraduate Research Week | April 18-22, 2022

National Undergraduate Research Week, which takes place this year from April 18-22, recognizes undergraduate research projects and the importance of providing research opportunities for students. In conjunction with Undergraduate Research Week, APSA showcases undergraduate research projects submitted by political science faculty and departments.

Featured research is the result of undergraduate coursework, capstone research, and departmental or institution-wide undergraduate research efforts. Departments shared information about the excellent work of students who have written honors theses, published in student journals, and presented at conferences.

APSA is pleased to recognize the students who conducted this research and the mentors who supervised their efforts:

John Klopotoski, University of Southern California

My paper seeks to answer the following question: What can carpets — as an economic good, an artistic work, or a tangible creation of culture — elucidate about these identities in Turkey, particularly as Continental Europe and the United States became increasingly involved in its political and economic systems? [Read more…]

Matthias Elijah Lopez, University of the Pacific

(Political Science Capstone Project)

Matthias investigates the possible impacts that virtual reality has on political beliefs as well as political ideology. The research study will involve a survey based experiment where human participants are surveyed and shown a particular content based virtual reality treatment. [Read more…]

Breanna Jackson, University of the Pacific

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is still the only national medical leave policy with high eligibility criteria and does not provide paid leave. To many employees, it leaves the question “What’s the point of taking medical leave to take care of myself if you’re going to be distracted by work?” My focus is a policy evaluation of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 and pinpointing the specific ‘serious health’ eligibility requirement among the following criteria: Political Feasibility, Employer Cost, and Employee Morale. [Read more…]

Carlos Gonzalez, New College of Florida

(Senior Thesis on “Paving over Democracy: The Relationship Between Highways and Voter Turnout in Florida,” at the Florida Political Science Association)

Highways are ubiquitous in the context of the United States, shaping much of American environmental, economic, and social geography. While urban planners have long heralded highways as the lifelines of American society, research has shown that highways have also enabled the segregation and displacement of resources from cities. [Read more…]

Angela Kothe, New College of Florida

(Senior Thesis on “Canada, Pluralism in Political Time: A Theory of Political Transition,” at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference)

The Liberal Party of Canada has governed for 78 of the past 110 years. Current analyses of Liberal success tend to focus on the impact of population distribution and fail to adequately explain how the Party has continued to succeed despite electoral losses and changes in electorate composition. To explore the origins of party success and failures, I form a theory that ties long- term success to cultural accommodation and electoral losses to conflict. [Read more…]

Angie was also a 2021 APSA Diversity Fellowship Fall Fellow.

Riley Bedell, New College of Florida

(Presentation: “Unpaid Labor, Social Reproduction Theory, and Capitalism’s Oppressive Contradiction,” at the Southeast Association for the Continental Tradition’s Annual Conference)

In this paper, I explore how capitalism’s regimes of accumulation subsist on an oppressive gendered division of labor which is coercively unnatural and has disproportionately marginalized women, people of color, and the less well-off. I further develop a theoretical account of how various feminist movements’ responses to such oppression have had critical shortcomings, and propose a more complete solution. [Read more…]

Amelia Malpas, Mount Holyoke College

“Bringing the Party Home: The Progressive Insurgency in the House of Representatives and its Impact on the Democratic Party”

Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic presidential nomination. Twice. And yet, since his first loss in 2016, the Democratic Party has moved toward his policy stances on a range of issues. Ideas that pundits derided as politically impossible when Sanders first ran are now at the center of the policy debate within the party. Sanders lost his insurgent bids, but the “political revolution” he sought to ignite continues through a movement of progressive insurgents including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nina Turner. [Read more…]

Emma Jensen, Catholic University of America

“The Crucifixion Standard of Forgiveness”

After the deadly global conflicts in the twentieth-century and the rise of world-ending weapons, vengeance seemed to replace forgiveness. Forgiveness is crucial in order for healing to come from justice and not morph into vengeance. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that on the cross Christ said, “Father, forgive them they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34). His profound example is nearly incomprehensible to the modern world. [Read more…]

See all the undergraduate research project highlights here.