Posts Tagged ‘Center for Political Participation’

Allegheny’s Center for Political Participation Featured on Civic Engagement Education Website

Allegheny College’s Center for Political Participation (CPP), under the direction of Political Science Professor Brian Harward, has been chosen as the first “civic engagement center” to be featured on a special website that focuses on teaching civic engagement.

Elizabeth C. Matto, associate research professor and director of the Center for Youth Political Participation and Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, reached out to Harward as a result of the success of the CPP and the new Law & Policy Program.


PBS’s Heffner on ‘Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age’

The “incivility of bigotry” has resulted in a society unable to come together across difference, Alexander Heffner said during a keynote lecture at Allegheny College on Thursday.

“The incivility of bigotry does not mean the incivility of purely racism or xenophobia or nativism. The incivility of bigotry is the incapacity of our society to rationalize and reason with disparate political objectives and constituencies,” Heffner, host of “The Open Mind” on PBS, said to 100 students, faculty, staff and community members gathered in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center.

“When you have a bigoted attitude or mindset it precludes you from having an exchange that is thoughtful and deliberative and fruitful in what it yields.” (more…)

Students Lobby Legislators to Support Private Colleges

Jesse Tomkiewicz and Carlos Sanchez had a simple but powerful message for Harrisburg: Invest in education.

The first-year Allegheny College students were among the more than 225 students from more than 30 private nonprofit colleges and universities who traveled to the state capital on April 4 as part of Student Aid Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania. The annual event gives students from AICUP-member institutions a chance to meet legislators and encourage them to support private colleges and universities. Allegheny has been sending student representatives for at least the past five years.

This year’s event focused primarily on opposing a 50% proposed cut in institutional assistance grants, maintaining funding of PHEAA grant program, and growing the Ready to Succeed Scholarship program to benefit more middle-income students.

Tomkiewicz and Sanchez spent the day meeting with staff members from the offices of Rep. Brad Roae, Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Rep. Peter Schweyer, Sen. Michele Brooks, Sen. Pat Browne, and Gov. Tom Wolf. At each meeting, they handed out fact sheets and information detailing how financial assistance helps students at private colleges and universities, including Allegheny, and the return on investment in higher education.

For Sanchez, an 18-year-old economics major from Allentown, Pennsylvania, the issue is a personal one. (more…)

Allegheny College Students to Attend National Conference at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics

Allegheny College students will participate in the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement conference at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics (IOP), February 3-5.

The 2017 National Campaign conference will focus on identifying the root causes of national divisiveness following the 2016 presidential election and work to formulate strategies to bridge gaps between all Americans. Student ambassadors and staff members from 28 colleges and universities across the country will convene on the Harvard campus with the mission to create a nationally coordinated program to Reconnect America.

Allegheny students Jesse Tomkiewicz and Hannah Firestone will attend the conference along with Dr. Patrick Jackson, visiting assistant professor of History and Philosophy and Religious Studies.

“The conference presents a unique opportunity for tomorrow’s leaders to have a vitally important discussion about divisiveness in our country and how we as a nation can best move forward with civility and respect for all,” said Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. (more…)

Allegheny College Senior Heather Bosau Awarded Pennsylvania House Legislative Fellowship

Heather Bosau

Allegheny College senior Heather Bosau, of Mentor, Ohio, has been awarded a Pennsylvania House Legislative Fellowship for 13 weeks beginning in late January 2017. Allegheny students have been selected for three consecutive years for the highly competitive fellowship program, which puts students in the offices of committee chairmen or other leaders in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.


Allegheny College Senior Honored With Award From the Central PA Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration

April 19, 2016 – Allegheny College senior Abby Lombard has received the Outstanding Student Award from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

The yearly award is given to one undergraduate student who displays excellence and promise in public administration.

Although she is a native of Syracuse, New York, Lombard was eligible for the award because she spent 13 weeks completing a Pennsylvania House Legislative Fellowship in Harrisburg. This highly competitive fellowship program places students in leadership offices, such as offices of committee chairmen, in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Lombard was placed with two standing committees: the House Majority Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and the House Majority Transportation Committee.

Lombard, a history and political science double major and philosophy minor, was nominated for the award during her time in Harrisburg. She will accept it May 2 during a celebration for national Public Service Recognition Week at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg. (more…)

Professor Harward To Give Talk on “The Voting Rights Act after Shelby Co. v. Holder”

Brian M. Harward, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Political Participation, will present “The Voting Rights Act after Shelby Co. v. Holder” on May 5 as part of the proceedings of the Western New York Continuing Legal Education Seminar at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York.

Prince and Cusanno Selected as Vote Everywhere Ambassadors

Imani Prince ’16 and Brianna Cusanno ’16 have been selected as Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere Ambassadors for 2015. A Vote Everywhere Ambassador completes a year-long paid internship with the Andrew Goodman Foundation at the Ambassador’s college campus. By building a community of civically engaged peers, Ambassadors help lead national conversations about today’s critical civil rights and social justice issues. Ambassadors receive training in civil rights and voting rights within a historical context, voter registration and education, community organizing and coalition building, and campaigning and advocating for social issues. They practice those skills on their college campuses through voter registration drives, voter education events and similar activities.

Allegheny Senior Headed to State Capitol

Like many college students his age, Allegheny senior Pasquale “Pat” DiFrancesco of Wexford, Pa., is looking forward to the final semester of his senior year.

But unlike his classmates, DiFrancesco will spend most of his last semester making daily trips to the state Capitol, in addition to completing his Allegheny schoolwork. After all, he has interviews with legislators to conduct and a piece of legislation to draft.

DiFrancesco will be participating in this experience as one of eight students awarded a Pennsylvania House Legislative fellowship for the spring semester. The highly competitive fellowship, which was founded in 1982, places students in leadership offices in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The 13-week program also provides fellows with access to weekly workshops with key thinkers, planners, and decision-makers.

“Pat is a great fit for a program like the PA Legislative Fellowship Program. He has a well-developed vision of how he wants to serve and is driven by a desire to make a real difference in people’s lives,” says Patrick Jackson, Allegheny national fellowships adviser and visiting assistant professor of history and religious studies. “It’s hard to imagine a better place to try to do that than in state government. Pat also is confident and impressively poised. And since political progress is so often made under intense pressure, I suspect that this will serve him well in Harrisburg.”

DiFrancesco, a double major in political science and environmental studies, will be working in the office of Democratic Whip Mike Hanna. Prior to winter break, we caught up with Pat to talk about this unique opportunity.

How did you learn about this fellowship?
For two summers I worked at the Fund for American Studies, an academic internship placement organization, in Washington, D.C. While working there, someone told me about the fellowship. So I really found out about it through networking.

My whole goal when I came to Allegheny and was accepted into the AmeriCorps Bonner Scholar program was to do my summer service away in Washington, D.C. I always figured that if I could get into a place like D.C., then there would be a way to go back again. I found that “in” through the Fund for American Studies. Then everything just built and built.

What did you have to do to apply for the fellowship?
I had to complete an application, submit letters of recommendation, and do an in-person interview in Harrisburg. During the application process, I worked with Professor Patrick Jackson. He was a big help.

How does it feel to be going to Harrisburg?
I’m excited for it. Once I get home, take a breath, and start to prepare, it will really sink in. I’ll really start to feel it.

This is where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in public service. I wanted to be in government. I’m not sure if public service is ultimately for me, but I think this experience will really hammer home on whether or not I want to do that.

What will you do during your fellowship?
Once you hear that you are accepted to the program, you have to be accepted to an office. It can be a committee or leadership office. I will be working for Rep. Mike Hanna. He’s the second-most powerful democrat in the House of Representatives, so it’s fantastic for me.

From what I understand, some of my tasks will be:
• In-office work
• Meeting with constituents
• Letters
• Policy analyses
• Keeping a journal
• Interviewing a representative or someone who is involved in the legislative process

The main thing I’ll get to do is draft my own piece of legislation. I’ll work with lawyers and meet different speakers and representatives. They will help us formulate an idea for what our bill will be and help us structure it at the end. Once we write that piece of legislation, we also will give a presentation on it in the House Caucus.

In addition, I hope to attend the incoming governor’s ceremony. I think it’s going to be a really fun time to be there because there’s so much going on with the switching of the administration.

You also will be completing schoolwork during this time, correct?
Yes, I’ll still be a registered Allegheny student working toward 12 credits. One of the classes I’m doing is an independent study with Assistant Professor of Political Science Zachary Callen. The study will be related to state legislature behavior, so Harrisburg will be a great place to reflect and apply the academic readings I’ll be doing. I’ll also have an internship with Environmental Science Internship Coordinator Steve Utz.

In addition, I’ll be finishing my senior comp, which is on the severance tax policy in Pennsylvania. I’m looking at the policy to see how it can best account for environmental impacts that are accrued by the drilling processes. Through the fellowship, I’ll have the opportunity to sit in and watch anything that pertains to that kind of legislation or that topic, so I’ll get to build that into the senior project.

What else have you done at Allegheny?
I feel like I have taken full advantage of what Allegheny offers. In addition to serving as a Bonner Scholar, I have served as treasurer of Allegheny Student Government, as a reporter for the Campus, as a project leader with the College’s Center for Political Participation, and as a student representative for the College’s Finance and Facilities Committee.

What do you plan to do in the future?
I hope to work for a year or two and then go on to graduate school.

Professor Jackson encourages any Allegheny student interested in a career in politics to seriously consider applying to the Pennsylvania House Legislative fellowship program. For more information, contact him at

Aspiring to Make a Difference

Rhodes Scholar Finalist Talks about Scholarship Journey and Life at Allegheny

Allegheny Rhodes Scholar Finalist Jacqueline Coplen.

Allegheny Rhodes Scholar Finalist Jacqueline Coplen.

To be named a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship – the fully funded award that gives students an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England – a person must exhibit extraordinary qualities that make him or her stand out in a crowd.

Although Allegheny senior Jacqueline Coplen wasn’t ultimately selected for the scholarship, you can see why she made the final cut.

Coplen, a political science and Spanish double major from Carlisle, Pa., answered a few questions about how she got to the final stage of the Rhodes process. As Allegheny President James H. Mullen, Jr. states, “In our Bicentennial year, Jacqui has brought great distinction to Allegheny. We are all tremendously proud of her.”


When did you decide you wanted to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship?
I didn’t know about the scholarship until I began my college career, and I really only started thinking about it seriously six months ago. During Gator Day, I attended a presentation about national fellowships with Professor Patrick Jackson, national fellowships adviser and visiting assistant professor of history and religious studies. The Rhodes Scholarship really appealed to me. It seemed like a perfect fit.

What did you do to apply for the scholarship, and how did you prepare for the interview?
I’ve applied to internships before, but this was a completely different ballgame! Professor Jackson was incredibly helpful. First, I spent a lot of time reflecting in order to write my personal statement. I also needed to submit five to eight letters of recommendation. I asked 10 professors if they would write a letter for me because I kind of figured at least two would decline. But they all said yes!

The biggest outpouring of support was after I was told I’d have a Rhodes interview. President Mullen opened up his house for us to have a mock reception to help me prepare. A lot of faculty and staff members very graciously volunteered to be a part of this.

When did you find out that you were selected as a finalist?
I found out through an email! I was talking to my roommate and scrolling through emails, and a few emails down it said, “Invitation to Rhodes interview.” I thought, “This can’t be right.” Then I read the first paragraph, which said they wanted to invite me to interview. I had to read it at least three times. It didn’t seem like reality at first.

How did you feel when you learned you had been selected as a finalist?
I’ve been able to do a lot of cool and important things in my life, but this was definitely the biggest stage that I’ve been on thus far. It’s definitely an incredible honor. Everyone who submitted an application has some or many qualities that are absolutely outstanding. To be considered a part of this group is an incredible honor.

Outside of your academics, tell me about the other activities in which you are involved.
I am a cadet in the Army ROTC program at Edinboro University, in affiliation with Allegheny. This requires me to travel from Meadville to Edinboro daily (sometimes twice a day) to do physical training and military science classes and leadership labs. I get up at 5 a.m., leave at 5:15, and get there around 5:45. I’m usually back by around 8 a.m. I’m in the car a lot!

Until this year, I was the only cadet and the only female from Allegheny. I’ve now recruited two freshmen to the program.

Why did you decide to join the Army ROTC program?
I come from a military background. Both of my parents graduated from West Point. It’s really difficult to describe what it’s like growing up as an Army “brat.” One of the things I point to growing up as the daughter of two Army officers is an emphasis on the value of human life, both in an aspect of an absence of violence and hatred-type discourse, and in a positive manner as in an appreciation for art and culture. My parents have always shown us how to respectfully dissent and how to be respectful of others.

Coming out of high school, I knew I wanted to do something public-service related, but I wasn’t sure if going to the military academy was something I wanted to do. There’s something about going to a civilian college that offers a different experience. You meet many different types of people.

I am passionate about making a difference by being an officer in the military and being in a leadership position where I can make a difference and impact the way things work. I someday want to become a judge advocate general officer (an Army lawyer).

What other activities keep you busy?
I’m a fellow and research assistant for the Center for Political Participation. I’m also a member of the Allegheny Equestrian Team, Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority (Mu Chapter), and the Phi Sigma Iota and Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Societies.

Why the Equestrian Team?
I’ve been riding forever. I often joke that I’ve been riding before I was born because my mother rode while pregnant with me. I got involved with the equestrian team because I wanted to do something different. It’s something I get to do for myself. I love the comradery and being a part of a team.

How do you balance it all?
I’m not going to say it’s easy. A lot of it is mind over matter. When someone entering college asks for my advice, I tell them to have their long view in mind. And if you don’t know what that is, just keep your options open. Don’t be short-sighted. Having my long view in mind is comforting to me. Moreover, it gives me something to focus on and grounds me.

When I came in as a freshman, I wanted to get involved in so many things. It’s easy to say yes to everything, but I’ve learned how to say no.

The third thing is being realistic and being able to prioritize. That is a skill that my military experience has helped me to cultivate.

And then of course I have a really nice set of friends and family who love me, and faculty who are supportive of me. That’s the most important. Without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Why did you choose Allegheny?
Face-to-face interaction and word of mouth are very powerful. I found out about Allegheny from a friend’s father who is on the Allegheny College Board of Trustees. When I came here for a tour, the campus really spoke to me. I felt really comfortable here. I liked what I read about the Political Science Department, the study abroad opportunities, and so much more.

After my first month, I knew I was going to stay. I built relationships, not just with other classmates, but with my professors. I’ve always had a good relationship with them. They push me, but they’re also very human. I’m academically challenged and fulfilled here. I wouldn’t be the person I am if I had gone to a larger school. This is what a small liberal arts education provides.