Students Tackle Issue of Lack of Women in Political Arena

Kelsey Evans left a weeklong seminar having learned a lot about Pennsylvania politics — and the lack of women in leadership roles in the political arena.

“The main takeaway from the week was that it is possible for anyone to run and work in government,” said Evans, an Allegheny College sophomore from New Kensington, Pennsylvania.  

Evans was one of three Allegheny students who recently attended The National Education for Women’s New Leadership Pennsylvania, a week-long “leadership and public policy institute designed to educate and empower young women for future political participation and leadership.” Throughout the week, participants discuss the role of women in politics and policymaking in Pennsylvania with the goal of addressing the underrepresentation of women in politics.

Thirty-five students from colleges and universities across the state are invited to attend the annual institute at Chatham University’s Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics, where Allegheny alumna Dana Brown serves as executive director. Allegheny juniors Marlie Parish, an English major from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and Emily Scanlon, a political science major from Abingdon, Maryland, also represented Allegheny.

“The week was very rewarding and I learned a lot,” said Evans, who has not yet chosen a major. “The most valuable part of the experience was probably going to Harrisburg and actually seeing our elected leaders at work. It was really cool to see the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in session and to be in the hustle and bustle of politics.”

Participants are able to meet successful women leaders and attend workshops on networking, public speaking and strategic communication.

“Programs like this are important because they show real examples of women representatives and make people more aware of the lack of women in politics,” Evans said. “They also encourage young women to run for various positions at local, state and federal levels.”
Allegheny trustee Jennifer Daurora ’99 and eight other Allegheny alumni donated funds to cover the cost of sending Parish, Evans and Scanlon to the institute.

The program “ties in directly to (Allegheny’s) commitment to civility and the Civility Prize,” Daurora said, referring to the college’s annual Prize for Civility in Public Life. The prize honors two public figures, one conservative and one liberal, who argue passionately but with civility for their beliefs.

“We know from research that young people are not participating in the political process,” Daurora said.“I thought, this is an important time for women in general and how can we give our students just one more exposure to a program that may or may not impact their future career choices?

“I couldn’t care less if they go on to a career in politics or not, but having exposure to different people and ideas and opportunities will help them in their future endeavors,” she said.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

“I receive a lot of federal and state aid. Cutting down these programs could eventually affect my tuition and what I receive in financial aid,” Sanchez said. “This (state budget proposal) is going to affect a lot of students. … This isn’t something that just affects Allegheny. This affects the whole state. I felt it was my responsibility to go and speak on behalf of the people I know and also some of the students I know here who might be affected by this.”

Investing in education just makes sense, Sanchez said.

“When you invest in school you’re investing in future taxpayers,” he said.

Tomkiewicz, 19, a philosophy and political science major from Freeport, Pennsylvania, sees the value of college degree — and the financial aid necessary to make it possible — when he looks around his hometown.

Workers at the steel mill in Freeport recently held an eight-month strike. The brick factory closed. Family-sustaining manufacturing jobs once available to high school graduates are disappearing.

“You can’t just graduate high school with a C-average, go to the steel mill and make $70,000 or $80,000 in a union with great benefits and have a great life right out of high school. You can’t really do that anymore,” said Tomkiewicz, who is a first-generation college student.

A college education is necessary, he said, but only possible for many students with the help of financial aid. In addition to the fact sheets outlining their case for funding, Tomkiewicz and Sanchez brought along student profiles to “humanize” the issue for legislators.

“It puts a face to who receives this aid,” Tomkiewicz said. “It shows that it’s not just numbers on a sheet. Funding has real consequences and real effects for people.”

Both Sanchez and Tomkiewicz said it’s important for students to get personally involved, on the issue of higher education funding or any other issue that is important to them. Communicating with legislators is one way to do that.

“If you go up to them and go up and talk to them, they see your issue,” Sanchez said.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Mattiace to Discuss Mexican Drug Cartels, Violence

Shannan Mattiace will explore “Indigenous Resistance to Drug Violence in Mexico,” as part of the Karl Weiss Faculty Lecture Series. The talk will be held on Wednesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in Room 301/302 of the Henderson Campus Center. It is free and open to the public.

Mattiace is the chair of the Political Science Department at Allegheny, with a focus on Latin America. She is currently working with Guillermo Trejo, an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, and Sandra Ley, assistant professor at the Center for Economic Research in Mexico City, to shed light on what experiences within indigenous communities facilitate resistance to criminal organizations, in the hope that policy changes will ensue.

The talk will take a closer look at Mexico’s inter-cartel wars, as well as overall levels of violence, and the connection to the drug trade. Mattiace’s project draws on fieldwork done in Chihuahua and Guerrero to contrast the two cities. Guerrero is an area with an empowered indigenous community which enables them to deter drug cartels, while Chihuahua has a weaker indigenous mobilizing network, which was easily penetrated by the drug trade and now suffers from turf wars in the community.

The Karl Weiss Faculty Lecture Series hosts seven to eight lectures per year by faculty members from various departments with the intent to represent the diversity of scholarship at Allegheny.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College’s Mattiace to Discuss Mexican Drug Cartels, Violence

Shannan Mattiace will explore “Indigenous Resistance to Drug Violence in Mexico,” as part of the Karl Weiss Faculty Lecture Series. The talk will be held on Wednesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in Room 301/302 of the Henderson Campus Center. It is free and open to the public.

Mattiace is the chair of the Political Science Department at Allegheny, with a focus on Latin America. She is currently working with Guillermo Trejo, an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, and Sandra Ley, assistant professor at the Center for Economic Research in Mexico City, to shed light on what experiences within indigenous communities facilitate resistance to criminal organizations, in the hope that policy changes will ensue.

“I have known Guillermo Trejo since 1990, and I have been working with indigenous communities in Mexico since 1994, focused on questions of political and social organization,” Mattiace said. “It seemed natural to extend this work into the area of (in)security and criminal violence, which is the number one problem Mexico faces at present. Approximately 150,000 people have died in Mexico since the beginning of the so-called drug war in 2006 and at least 25,000 have disappeared.”

The talk will take a closer look at Mexico’s inter-cartel wars, as well as overall levels of violence, and the connection to the drug trade. Mattiace’s project draws on fieldwork done in Chihuahua and Guerrero to contrast the two cities. Guerrero is an area with an empowered indigenous community which enables them to deter drug cartels, while Chihuahua has a weaker indigenous mobilizing network, which was easily penetrated by the drug trade and now suffers from turf wars in the community.

“We argue that Indian communities with a long history of indigenous mobilization that have developed regional ethnic autonomy institutions experience lower levels of criminal violence than those without mobilization networks and no regional autonomous institutions,” Mattiace said.

The Karl Weiss Faculty Lecture Series hosts seven to eight lectures per year by faculty members from various departments with the intent to represent the diversity of scholarship at Allegheny.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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 skaster@allegheny.edu.


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

_LI_4699

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

IMG_1831

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