Ready to Run Program Ignites Allegheny Students’ Interest in Public Service

Students who participated in Ready to Run

Seven Allegheny College students explored what it takes to pursue careers in public service by participating in Ready to Run Pittsburgh, a bipartisan training program to encourage women to seek government leadership positions.

The students attended the Feb. 4 workshop through financial support from the College’s Career Education office and Jennifer Daurora, a 1999 Allegheny graduate who serves on the College’s Board of Trustees. “There are not nearly enough women in politics in both parties,” she said. And when Daurora learned that Chatham University would be hosting Ready to Run, she saw an opportunity to help Allegheny students take part.

Allegheny senior Amy Currul, of Boston, said she has dreamed of running for elected office one day, and she already has been involved in local politics. Currul said Ready to Run gave her more insight into running as a candidate and working on an election — and the time and dedication both require.

“The event also fell on my birthday, so what better way to turn 22 than to learn about running for office with other cool women,” said Currul, a double major in communication arts and women’s, gender and sexuality studies.

Ready to Run included presentations by women who have held government office at several different levels, from municipal to federal, said Leah Franzluebbers, a junior environmental science and political science double major from Wethersfield, Connecticut.

“They acknowledged the barriers to women in politics still entrenched in our society but offered optimism and determination in response,” said Franzluebbers, who also in minoring in German. “They offered their advice about the practical difficulties of running for office in the hopes of elevating a similarly hardworking group of women to equal, and further, public offices.”

It was humbling to hear from so many women who had taken on important roles in government, said Maureen Hossler, a junior political science major with a minor in Middle East and North African studies. Hossler, of Smyrna, Delaware, said the results of the 2016 presidential election inspired her to participate in Ready to Run.

The election, along with a passion for politics, also motivated first-year student Kelsey Evans to attend the workshop. “I learned the exact details of what has to be done to get your name on a ballot and how it is truly possible for anyone to achieve, as long as they put in the work,” said Evans, of Plum, Pennsylvania.

For economics major Sarah Donohue, Ready to Run was a chance to learn valuable professional skills that she said would be useful not only in politics but in any career. The junior from Buffalo, New York, also said she enjoyed connecting with the community of supportive women in politics. “I am trying to branch out and see what is out there,” said Donohue, who is double minoring in political science and community and justice studies.

Programs like Ready to Run, Daurora explained, also support Allegheny’s commitment to encouraging students to understand the importance of civility in the political process. In 2012, the College established the Prize for Civility in Public Life, awarded annually to political figures who argue passionately but respectfully for their beliefs. In 2014, the prize honored the “Women of the Senate” — the 20 U.S. senators who banded together to help end the 2013 government shutdown.

Daurora looks forward to continuing to spark Allegheny students’ interest in public service. “I’m hoping that these experiences inspire students and help them feel empowered to become more involved in the political process,” Daurora said, “whether or not they ultimately choose to run for office.”

In particular, she hopes fellow alumni will join her in funding students to attend next year’s Ready to Run program as well as the National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership Pennsylvania program this summer. The weeklong NEW institute is designed to educate and empower young women for future political participation and leadership.

For more information about making a gift of any size to help students participate in these programs, contact Sueann Kaster Mercier in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at (814) 332-2991 or

Photo Caption
Pictured, from left, are Ready to Run participants Kelsey Evans, Emily Scanlon, Leah Franzluebbers and Amy Currul. Missing from the photo are Sarah Donohue, Maureen Hossler and Audrey Serguievski.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Mattiace’s essays, guide published

Professor of Political Science and International Studies Shannan Mattiace is the continuing editor of the Mexican Politics section of the Library of Congress’s Handbook of Latin American Studies. Volume 71 has just been published, which includes her select and annotated guide to recent publications in Mexican politics and accompanying essay on trends in the field.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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. Brian Harward, director of Allegheny’s Center for Political Participation, said students come away from the conference inspired.

“Allegheny has sent students from its Center for Political Participation for several years. Each time, students return to our campus and community energized to engage the important and complex issues that confront us,” Harward said.

Since 2003, the National Campaign has held annual conferences to identify collaborative projects, foster engagement in electoral politics, assist students in pursuing careers in public service, and provide a foundation in civic education. Led by a team of Harvard undergraduate students, the collegiate ambassadors to the National Campaign work together to achieve concrete goals, such as working with local election offices to improve the voting experience for their campus communities.

Other participating colleges and universities include Arizona State University, Elon University, Franklin & Marshall College, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Louisiana State University, The Ohio State University, Rutgers University, Saint Anselm College, Simpson College, Tennessee State University, University of Florida, University of Louisville, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of Utah, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, University of Oklahoma, Howard University, United States Military Academy, Tufts University, University of Chicago, Colby College, and University of Texas at Austin.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Alumna’s Gift to Internship Fund Helps Students Along Path from College to Career

Graduates on Brooks Walk

Interning at a Washington, D.C. think tank gave Aurley Morris ’15 a vivid snapshot of life as a young professional just before her senior year at Allegheny College. Bolstered by that experience, the political science major transitioned seamlessly into a full-time position at a major consulting firm after graduation.

Just a year and a half later, Morris has now made a gift to her alma mater to help today’s students along their own paths from college to career. She has provided initial support to establish the Intern Excellence Fund, which helps to cover expenses like housing, food, clothing and transportation for Allegheny students while they’re interning.

Aurley Morris '15

Aurley Morris ’15

Employers are seeking candidates with meaningful experience, and some internships even lead directly to a job. Organizations responding to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, for example, offered employment to 73 percent of their interns, on average, in 2016.

But expenses can add up quickly for interns. Many of the most sought-after positions are in high cost-of-living cities, and some offer little or no compensation. Even a modest amount of funding for essentials can be a deciding factor in whether a student can accept an internship.

“I believe that, if students are willing to put in the work and are able to secure an internship role, they should be supported to succeed in that position,” says Morris, who also studied at the London School of Economics as an Allegheny student.

Morris explains that she was inspired to make a gift because of the positive experiences she had with her fellow students at Allegheny. And she hopes that her fellow alumni will join her in giving to the Internship Excellence Fund.

“The fund provides direct support for students looking to succeed after graduation,” Morris says. “Successful graduates, in turn, strengthen the network of Allegheny alumni.”

Make a gift online to the Intern Excellence Fund at Allegheny or learn more by contacting the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at (814) 332-5910.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Established in 1982 by the Pennsylvania House’s Bipartisan Management Committee, the program gives fellows an intimate look into the daily workings of government, allowing them to attend hearings, committee meetings and the legislative session, as well as conduct research and draft bill analyses. As a final project, each fellow will research and then draft a piece of legislation to present to the House.

“I have heard nothing but good things about this opportunity and the in-depth look it provides to the functioning of the law,” says Bosau, an English major with a self-designed minor in social justice and legal studies. “I hope to gain a better understanding of the processes of our state government as well as a more developed perspective regarding the development and codification of state law.”

After graduation, Bosau intends to attend law school and then begin her career as a public defender. She hopes to shift eventually into policy work and prison reform. The Pennsylvania House fellowship complements Bosau’s career goals — since the start of the program, over 35 percent of participants have found employment in government.

Patrick Jackson, a visiting professor of history and religious studies, advises Allegheny students like Bosau who are applying for competitive awards and fellowships. “This fellowship gives participants unparalleled access to the inner workings of state-level government,” he says. “Fellows get to see the give-and-take, or lack thereof, that either helps government to work or keeps it mired in partisan bickering. There’s great value in seeing how the government actually works.”

Bosau will bring a wide range of internship, research and leadership experience to her fellowship. She has spent the past three semesters interning at the Crawford County Public Defender’s Office. Bosau has also interned at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York, conducted summer research through the English and political science departments, served as president of both the Pre-Law Club and the Allegheny College chapter of Amnesty International, and is a fellow with the college’s Center for Political Participation. In addition, she has been awarded the Sara Homer Junior Major Prize from the English department and the Walter Jacobson Essay Prize from the political science department.

“Heather has been preparing to apply for this fellowship for more than a year, carefully picking her courses and pursuing internships that have helped make her an attractive candidate,” Jackson says. “She’s interested in a career in law, and this experience will no doubt inform the way she approaches her future work.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Student Sings to Help Save Lives


Brett Trottier ’19 has been playing his guitar and singing in the lobby of the Allegheny College Campus Center since he returned from Thanksgiving break. The most recent evidence: groups of students taken to occasionally filming, mostly staring, and enthusiastically applauding.

Trottier is a member of the Philanthropic Committee of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, presided over by Mark Abrams ’18, which has set its sights on prostate cancer research. In a project spearheaded by Trottier, Abrams, Alex Bakus ’17, and Milton Guevara ’18, a GoFundMe web page was created. It also includes a promotional video championed by Michael Ross ’18.

The campaign has raised more than $1,000 so far.

As an added incentive to get community members to donate, members of the fraternity have pledged to shave their heads. Several fund thresholds have been established, starting at $1,000 and going up to $3,000, and with each one met, a greater number of Deltas have pledged to assume the bald-is-beautiful look. “I’m so excited. I’ve never done it, but I’ll probably look like an alien,” says Trottier, who is a geology major and political science minor.

A second incentive to donate: Trottier’s voice echoing pleasantly up and down the three floors of the Henderson Campus Center. Belting out tunes such as “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” “Stand by Me,” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” Trottier plays for an hour during the lunch rush at McKinley’s dining hall. Ross also joins him for some performances. This portion of the fundraiser has raised more than $120 in the past week.

Other philanthropic events organized throughout the year included a “Grilled Cheese Soiree” and a “French Toast Dinner.” The deadline for contributions is December 6, so think about sharing the holiday spirit and helping out Trottier and the Deltas here.

Photo of Brett Trottier by Joseph Merante ’20

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Callen’s first book published

Assistant Professor of Political Science Zachary Callen’s first book, “Railroads and American Political Development: Infrastructure, Federalism, and State Building,” was published in August 2016 by the University Press of Kansas.

The book investigates how transportation infrastructure has shifted from being a local issue into a national responsibility.  In the antebellum era, railroads, roads, and canals were built by state and local governments.  However, local governments often lacked the resources and coordination capacity to successfully build effective railroads.  Not surprisingly, states turned to the national government for aid in building railroads.  However, national intervention also changed the American transportation system, favoring the interests of large cities on the Atlantic coasts over frontier states’ needs.  The book concludes by arguing that American federalism has an inherent tendency to build the political center, and reminder readers of the importance of infrastructure in shaping our political fortunes.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Mattiace presents paper on resistance to drug violence

Professor of Political Science and International Studies Shannan Mattiace presented a paper with co-authors Guillermo Trejo (University of Notre Dame) and Sandra Ley (Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, CIDE, Mexico City) entitled “Indigenous Resistance to Drug Violence in Mexico: Why Indigenous Mobilization and Ethnic Autonomy Institutions Deter Criminal Violence” at a conference/workshop on Unequal Security in the Americas at Brown University on April 28-30, 2016.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Receives Gift to Endow Political Science Chair


June 23, 2016 – As part of its ongoing comprehensive fundraising campaign, Allegheny College has received a $1.5 million gift that will endow a professorship in its political science department.

The Robert G. Seddig Chair in Law and Policy has been established by the estate of Robert Bruce Dotson in honor of his daughter Betsy Dotson, Class of 1974. Ms. Dotson, a lawyer, worked for many years in the public sector after graduating from Allegheny. She was dedicated to the College’s undergraduate mission and believed in broad educational experiences. Ms. Dotson passed away at the age of 47.

“My parents saw the impact of Betsy’s Allegheny experience and wanted to make sure that others could benefit from such an experience,” said Barbara D. Davis of Arlington, Va. “My sister Betsy majored in political science. My parents understood how important the professors in the department were in motivating Betsy to choose a career in public service.”

Mr. Dotson died in 2014, and his wife, Paula Haas Dotson, died in 2015. They had previously endowed the Betsy Dotson ’74 Experiential Learning Fund that continues to help students studying and serving internships in government agencies and businesses in Washington, D.C.

“Allegheny is able to remain among the top liberal arts colleges in the country because it has such strong support from alumni and their families, faculty and friends,” President James H. Mullen, Jr. said. “We are deeply grateful to the Dotson family members for recognizing and honoring the quality of the Allegheny experience.”

The political science chair has been named for Robert Seddig, who retired in 2012 after teaching at Allegheny for 45 years. “I am honored to have the chair established in my name because Allegheny has always had an excellent political science department – a department of national stature and recognition. It enjoys a long history of teaching excellence, especially in law and public policy. I am assured that the department will continue to thrive and enrich the intellectual lives of our students,” Seddig said.

Betsy Dotson had studied political science with Professor Seddig.

Professor Brian Harward, who also is the director of the Center for Political Participation at the College, is the first faculty member to hold the Robert G. Seddig Chair in Law and Policy.

“It means a great deal to me to be a recipient of the Seddig Endowed Chair,” Harward said. “It’s really such a fitting tribute to Bob Seddig’s deep commitment to his students, the College, and the discipline. He’s been a wonderful teacher and mentor for so many of us, I can appreciate fully why the Dotson family chose to honor Bob and Allegheny in this way. I’m grateful for their trust and confidence.”

The gift provided by the Dotson family is part of the College’s $200 million comprehensive campaign, Our Allegheny: Our Third Century Quest, which has among its goals increasing its endowment for student scholarships and adding endowed professorships. As of June 2016, the campaign had raised $132.7 million.

About Allegheny College
Allegheny College is a national liberal arts college where 2,100 students with unusual combinations of interests and talents develop highly valued abilities to explore critical issues from multiple perspectives. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pa., Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives. One of the nation’s oldest liberal arts colleges, Allegheny celebrated its bicentennial in 2015.

Photo Credit: Bill Owen

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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

Abigail Lombard2

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.

During her time at Allegheny, Lombard has served as a Student Fellow for the college’s Center for Political Participation and as a student representative on the History and Heritage Committee. In September 2014 she traveled to Harvard University to represent Allegheny at the Bipartisan National Conference, and in spring 2015 she spent the semester studying in Australia. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the college’s service fraternity; executive board president of the Residence Hall Association; and student advisory board member for the Department of History.

In summer 2014 Lombard completed an internship at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York. In 2015 she interned with Congressman John Katko in Syracuse. She also has worked in the Office of the Onondaga County Executive in Syracuse.

Following graduation, Lombard has accepted a position with Deloitte Consulting in Cleveland and eventually plans to attend graduate school and run for public office.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research