Allegheny Graduating Senior Will Pursue Environmental Research in the Rocky Mountains

During the summer of 2018, Allegheny College graduating senior Leah Franzluebbers will be working among the high peaks in the Mountain West.

Graduating senior Leah Franzluebbers Will be working at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. (Photo Credit: Derek Li)

She is looking ahead to her summer job as a research assistant at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado. This will be Franzluebbers’ second summer in Colorado working at the world-renowned high elevation field station.

This year, she will lead the undergraduate research team assisting on a project designed to understand how shifts in the distribution of species associated with climate warming will affect the way an ecosystem functions. The study is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Franzluebbers’ responsibilities will include a mix of lab work, such as running water chemistry and processing caddisfly (aquatic insects) samples, and field work, including helping survey aquatic macroinvertebrate populations in study ponds, setting up and taking down experiments, and collecting insect and water chemistry samples from the study sites.

Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Scott Wissinger will help to oversee Franzluebbers’ work in Colorado. He also served as a faculty co-advisor for her Senior Comprehensive Project at Allegheny. “Her senior project in political science and environmental science focuses on how moral foundations theory might provide insight into finding common ground between the political left and right on environmental issues such as climate change,” Wissinger says.

“In addition to her interests in understanding the human part of the sustainability question, she is fascinated with understanding how natural systems work, which is the other side of the equation,” Wissinger says. “For example, it helps to understand how the machinery of nature works so if we need to fix it — goals of restoration and conservation ecology — or make sustainable the services nature provides — clean air, water, and food — we understand how the machinery works.

Franzluebbers will be among the more than 350 graduates receiving diplomas at Allegheny’s Commencement on May 12. She has double-majored in environmental science and political science, all while managing to play Division III women’s volleyball for four years and devote hundreds of hours to community service.

A circuitous — but fulfilling — path

It took Franzluebbers a couple of years at Allegheny to settle on her unusual combination of studies, however.

“I took a circuitous route to get to where I am today,” says Franzluebbers, who is from Wethersfield, Connecticut. “When I declared my major sophomore year, I was a biology major and a political science and German double minor. At a certain point, I realized that I wasn’t satisfied with just a minor in political science, and that I wanted to pursue a major in it. My time at Allegheny has been following my interests wherever they took me, and I am incredibly thankful that it has worked out so well.”

In early April, Franzluebbers presented her senior project at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago. “My research focused on finding the right way to reframe the argument for climate action in order to appeal to a broader audience,” she says. “The project merged my interests in political science and environmental science, and the conference was a great opportunity to gain experience presenting research to others and to see professional political science research.”

Franzluebbers also spent a year as a Center for Political Participation Fellow at Allegheny. “College students today are more politically engaged and knowledgeable than they have been in decades, and through our programming, the CPP gives students ample opportunity to engage in topics of local, national and international relevance,” she says.

Being a student-athlete helped her academically, Franzluebbers adds. “During the season, my schedule was essentially the same five days a week: class, work, practice, and then homework. This often helped because it provided a structure that cultivated good academic habits. Being an athlete also teaches the relentless pursuit of a goal — that it takes practice, planning, and conscientious work to achieve anything truly worthwhile.”

Franzluebbers is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, including a year as its scholarship director. She also joined numerous honor societies, including Pi Sigma Alpha (political science) and Phi Sigma Iota (foreign language). In May, she will be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society.

Commitment to the community

Franzluebbers is proud of her four years of community service with E=MC2, a STEM-education program for Crawford County elementary school pupils. “I originally volunteered because friends of mine were also volunteering, but I soon volunteered more consistently and became the lead coordinator in my senior year,” she says. “Along with administrative duties, I help develop and teach the weekly lessons. The lessons engage the students, getting them excited about science while teaching them key scientific principles.”

One event that stands out in Franzluebbers’ Allegheny experience, she says, was the Battle for Bridget women’s volleyball match in October 2016. At the event, the team raised money for the Meadville Medical Center’s Yolanda Barco Oncology Center in honor of Coach Bridget Sheehan, who died in October 2017.

“Allegheny volleyball alumnae from all over came back to support Coach,” Franzluebbers recalls. “After the game we spent time with alumnae talking about lessons we learned from Coach Sheehan and swapping stories about preseason conditioning and long bus rides to games. It was a wonderful reminder that the community of Allegheny volleyball never leaves you and extends beyond the women you played volleyball with for four years.”

Her overall time at Allegheny also will be memorable, Franzluebbers says.

“I decided to come to Allegheny because I saw how the students here were not solely focused on academics, but on every aspect of their lives,” she says. “They were committed to excellence not only in the classroom, but also in extracurricular activities, in athletics, and in service. Students here are dedicated to cultivating their whole person, not just to getting the best grades — a quality unique to Allegheny compared with some of the other colleges I had considered.”

Franzluebbers’ advice to incoming first-year students: “Take every opportunity you can get to pursue what excites you, whether that be classes, clubs, or internships. Be relentless in your pursuit of your passions.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Bipartisan Campaign Training Helps Allegheny Students Get “Ready to Run”

Allegheny College trustee and alumna Jennifer Daurora (center) joined Allegheny students at the Ready to Run Pittsburgh campaign training. With Daurora, from left, are Sarah Shapley, Dalia Wellens, Dakotah Manson and Hayley Diemer.

Allegheny College junior Dalia Wellens came away from the recent Ready to Run Pittsburgh campaign training program not only with knowledge about seeking elected office, but also newfound confidence.

“Knowing that there are women who are pursuing careers in politics despite the male-dominated atmosphere is incredibly inspiring and helped me to see where I want to be in 10 to 15 years,” said Wellens, an environmental studies and political science double major from Seattle.

Ready to Run Pittsburgh is a bipartisan training program to encourage women to seek government leadership positions. Wellens and fellow Allegheny students Hayley Diemer, Dakotah Manson and Sarah Shapley attended the daylong program this winter at Chatham University. They received financial support to participate in the event primarily from Allegheny College trustee and alumna Jennifer Daurora, with supplemental funding from the College’s Center for Political Participation.

Shapley, a sophomore from Fairport, New York, attended Ready to Run to explore her own interest in politics and ways she could support other women running for office.

“I think being involved in politics is a crucial and necessary duty,” said Shapley, an international studies major who is minoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. “I particularly think that more women should get involved in politics and take a leading role.”

Shapley said Ready to Run gave her insight into how local politics work in Pennsylvania and how women are addressing the specific challenges they face while running for and serving in public office.

Wellens recommends the program to other women at Allegheny who are considering careers in public service. It’s a short time commitment and very educational, she said. “You also meet a lot of amazing women who have a wide range of experiences that you can connect with,” Wellens added.

Ready to Run Pittsburgh is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. Allegheny graduate Dana Brown, Ph.D., serves as the center’s executive director and an assistant professor of political science at Chatham.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Political Science Professor Shannan Mattiace Receives Fulbright Award

Shannan Mattiace, professor and chair of the Political Science Department at Allegheny College, has received a 2018–19 Fulbright Award to teach and conduct research in the South American nation of Chile.

Mattiace said she plans to live in Chile for five months beginning in February 2019.

Shannan Mattiace will be spending five months in Chile in 2019 as a Fulbright Award winner.

“It has been my dream for decades to receive a Fulbright Award,” Mattiace said. “Almost 30 years ago I lived in Santiago, Chile, for three months as a State Department student intern and have longed to return. I will be returning as a scholar of Mexican politics and hope to share my interest and experience on Mexican politics with Chilean students and professors at the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago.”

The Fulbright Program, which increases mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Only about 500 teaching and/or research Fulbrights are awarded each year.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen by the Fulbright Commission to be a cultural ambassador to Latin America, representing the long-standing ties between North and South America. I so appreciate Allegheny College’s support of me in this project, which has been unfailing,” Mattiace said.

“The money that funds Fulbright awards is carved out of the State Department’s budget, so folks in Washington definitely think of the program as an effort at soft diplomacy,” said Patrick Jackson, Allegheny’s director of fellowship advising. “One of the reasons I think Shannan’s project was chosen is the way that she was able to successfully and convincingly draw a connection between the work she plans to do on the Chilean frontier with Bolivia and Argentina with interests that the United States has with regard to our own border with Mexico. Chile is trying to solve many of the same complex problems with indigenous communities and migrant workers that the United States and Mexico are trying to address. As an American specialist on Mexican politics, Shannan is in a unique position to study what is going on in Chile.”

Part of her time will be spent teaching and lecturing on immigration, Latin American indigenous and social movements, and Mexican politics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), Mattiace said. The other time will be spent doing research, comparing indigenous communities in a border region of Mexico with indigenous communities on the western Bolivian border with Chile, she said. Mattiace also plans to establish contact with Chilean indigenous colleagues in Santiago for a future book project, she said.

“Latin Americans know far less about their neighbors and their region than many of them know about the United States and the rest of the world,” Mattiace said. “As a U.S. scholar of Mexico and of Latin America, I hope to bring a distinct perspective on Latin American politics to Chilean students. The research project on indigenous communities is explicitly comparative, examining indigenous communities in two border regions — Chile/Bolivia and Mexico/U.S. — that have been successful in keeping violence low through self-governance and autonomy in contexts of illicit activity. As Latin America is the most violent region of the world, understanding how to reduce levels of violence and crime is of intense interest to a host of actors, including U.S. policy makers.”

Mattiace becomes the 14th Allegheny faculty member to receive a Fulbright Award in the past 20 years.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Sophomore Attends Democracy Forum in Greece

It’s one thing to have classroom discussions about the challenges facing democracy.

It’s quite another to have those same discussions in the country where democracy was born.

Allegheny College sophomore Jesse Tomkiewicz was one of 23 students representing 11 different countries who participated in the Athens Democracy Forum in Athens, Greece, in September. The goal of the annual forum, hosted by The New York Times, is to bring students together from around the globe at the American College of Greece to discuss the challenges facing democracy that year. Students work together in teams to write a white paper on the chosen challenges, this year, climate change and inequality.

The different backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints and ideologies of the participants — and how those differences shaped the discussions — was eye-opening, said Tomkiewicz, a political science and philosophy double major from rural Freeport, Pennsylvania.

“It was an incredibly diverse group,” he said. “That was probably the most valuable part of the experience, talking to people from all over the world.”

Being with like-minded students interested in talking about and shaping the future of democracy — in Athens, of all places — was exhilarating, he said.

“This is about going to a place where I’m with a dream team,” of fellow participants, Tomkiewicz said. “These individuals are not just really bright; these are some of the best students I’ve been around. It was truly intellectually challenging.

“I benefitted more than anyone at the conference because I (had) never left the U.S. Here I focus on the judicial process and political theory. I had no experience in international politics. … I learned more in those nine days (in Athens) than I would have taking a semester’s worth of classes.”

The trip was one of many firsts, including Tomkiewicz’s first plane ride out of the country. He swam in the Aegean Sea, attended a speech by former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and stood at the top of the Acropolis.

“It was enchanting being on top of the Acropolis, knowing that people like Socrates had physically been there,” he said. “I’m from a country where our history is a few centuries. We’re talking about a place that goes thousands of years back. Being in a place with that kind of history, that was really something.”

Tomkiewicz is already heavily involved in campus and local politics — he’s the vice president of Allegheny’s College Democrats and a field director for the Crawford County Democratic Party — but left the conference wanting to do more to further democracy, particularly for voters in rural places like his hometown.

“There has to be grassroots, bottom-up efforts” to address the challenges facing rural voters, Tomkiewicz said.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Sophomore Attends Democracy Forum in Greece

It’s one thing to have classroom discussions about the challenges facing democracy.

It’s quite another to have those same discussions in the country where democracy was born.

Allegheny College sophomore Jesse Tomkiewicz was one of 23 students representing 11 different countries who participated in the Athens Democracy Forum in Athens, Greece, in September. The goal of the annual forum, hosted by The New York Times, is to bring students together from around the globe at the American College of Greece to discuss the challenges facing democracy that year. Students work together in teams to write a white paper on the chosen challenges, this year, climate change and inequality.

The different backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints and ideologies of the participants — and how those differences shaped the discussions — was eye-opening, said Tomkiewicz, a political science and philosophy double major from rural Freeport, Pennsylvania.

“It was an incredibly diverse group,” he said. “That was probably the most valuable part of the experience, talking to people from all over the world.”

Being with like-minded students interested in talking about and shaping the future of democracy — in Athens, of all places — was exhilarating, he said.

“This is about going to a place where I’m with a dream team,” of fellow participants, Tomkiewicz said. “These individuals are not just really bright; these are some of the best students I’ve been around. It was truly intellectually challenging.

“I benefitted more than anyone at the conference because I (had) never left the U.S. Here I focus on the judicial process and political theory. I had no experience in international politics. … I learned more in those nine days (in Athens) than I would have taking a semester’s worth of classes.”

The trip was one of many firsts, including Tomkiewicz’s first plane ride out of the country. He swam in the Aegean Sea, attended a speech by former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and stood at the top of the Acropolis.

“It was enchanting being on top of the Acropolis, knowing that people like Socrates had physically been there,” he said. “I’m from a country where our history is a few centuries. We’re talking about a place that goes thousands of years back. Being in a place with that kind of history, that was really something.”

Tomkiewicz is already heavily involved in campus and local politics — he’s the vice president of Allegheny’s College Democrats and a field director for the Crawford County Democratic Party — but left the conference wanting to do more to further democracy, particularly for voters in rural places like his hometown.

“There has to be grassroots, bottom-up efforts” to address the challenges facing rural voters, Tomkiewicz said.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Professor to Speak on Governing Rural America

Allegheny College Assistant Professor of Political Science Zachary Callen will speak on “Governing Rural America: Political Change and Limited Resources’” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Campus Center Room 301/302. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Callen will discuss the problems with which rural communities struggle, which range from deindustrialization and depopulation to the opioid epidemic. His presentation will address the ways in which local government in rural locations struggle to provide services and grow their economy. Based around a series of interviews with leaders from a small rural community, the project tries to grapple with the question of how communities decline gracefully.

The address is part of the 2017-18 Karl W. Weiss ’87 Faculty Lecture Series, which features professors from various departments representing the diversity of scholarship at Allegheny.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Professor to Speak on Governing Rural America

Allegheny College Assistant Professor of Political Science Zachary Callen will speak on “Governing Rural America: Political Change and Limited Resources’” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Campus Center Room 301/302. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Callen will discuss the problems with which rural communities struggle, which range from deindustrialization and depopulation to the opioid epidemic. His presentation will address the ways in which local government in rural locations struggle to provide services and grow their economy. Based around a series of interviews with leaders from a small rural community, the project tries to grapple with the question of how communities decline gracefully.

The address is part of the 2017-18 Karl W. Weiss ’87 Faculty Lecture Series, which features professors from various departments representing the diversity of scholarship at Allegheny.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Zachary Callen (Karl W. Weiss ’87 Faculty Lecture Series)

Allegheny College Assistant Professor of Political Science Zachary Callen will speak on “Governing Rural America: Political Change and Limited Resources’” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Campus Center Room 301/302. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Callen will discuss the problems with which rural communities struggle, which range from
deindustrialization and depopulation to the opioid epidemic. His presentation will address the ways in which local government in rural locations struggle to provide services and grow their economy. Based around a series of interviews with leaders from a small rural community, the project tries to grapple with the question of how communities decline gracefully.

The address is part of the 2017-18 Karl W. Weiss ’87 Faculty Lecture Series, which features professors from various departments representing the diversity of scholarship at Allegheny.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

The website is meant to serve as a companion to the volumes “Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen” and “Teaching Civic Engagement across the Disciplines.” On the site, visitors can find examples of how the authors included methods of teaching active citizenship into their curriculum and can reference such items as sample syllabi, class projects and assessments.

The site also is intended to be an ongoing resource for educators and will be updated with how-to guides for incorporating methods of instruction to foster active citizenship, spotlights of civic engagement research and programming, and interactive platforms that will allow visitors to make comments and offer suggestions.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

The website is meant to serve as a companion to the volumes “Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen” and “Teaching Civic Engagement across the Disciplines.” On the site, visitors can find examples of how the authors included methods of teaching active citizenship into their curriculum and can reference such items as sample syllabi, class projects and assessments.

The site also is intended to be an ongoing resource for educators and will be updated with how-to guides for incorporating methods of instruction to foster active citizenship, spotlights of civic engagement research and programming, and interactive platforms that will allow visitors to make comments and offer suggestions.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research