Allegheny News and Events

National Radio Program to Spotlight Faculty Research at Allegheny College

The Academic MinuteSix Allegheny College professors will be featured on “The Academic Minute,” a national radio broadcast and podcast that highlights research from colleges and universities throughout the world, beginning on Monday, May 25.

Starting with Monday’s broadcast, five of the professors will “take over” “The Academic Minute” program for the week. Each day, one Allegheny faculty member will discuss their research and important topics in their fields of study, focusing on what’s new and exciting in academia.

“The Academic Minute” is broadcast by WAMC/Northeast Public Radio on 90.3-FM (1400-AM) in Albany, New York, airing weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and 3:56 p.m. The show, which is carried on 70 stations around the United States and Canada, is hosted by Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The program is also streamed via the web at In addition, “The Academic Minute” research profiles of the professors will be featured in the academic trade publication Inside Higher Ed.

“I am thrilled that through the Allegheny College takeover of ‘The Academic Minute,’ NPR listeners will have the chance to be inspired by some of Allegheny’s impressive scholar-teachers, even for a brief moment,” said Allegheny President Hilary L. Link. “As president, I hear from alumni again and again that it is the opportunity to work alongside, to be guided and mentored by, and to learn from the Allegheny faculty that continues to resonate in life-changing ways with our graduates even decades after they leave campus.”

The five Allegheny professors whose research will be featured the week of May 25–29 include:

  • Brian Harward, the Robert G. Seddig Chair in Political Science, who will address “Congressional Responsiveness to Presidential Unilateralism” on Monday, May 25
  • Janyl Jumadinova, assistant professor of computer science, will present “A Submersible Robot That Tests Water Quality” on Tuesday, May 26
  • Caryl E. Waggett, associate professor of global health studies, will speak on “Links between Lead Poisoning and Food Insecurity” on Wednesday, May 27
  • Eric Pallant, the Christine Nelson Endowed Chair of the Environmental Science and Sustainability Department, will discuss “There is a Lot to Learn from Sourdough Bread” on Thursday, May 28
  • Shannan Mattiace, professor of political science and international studies, will present her research on “Drug Wars and Criminal Violence in Mexico” on Friday, May 29

In addition to the weeklong takeover by Allegheny faculty, Professor Barbara L. Shaw will share her research at a later date to provide continued exposure for the College. Shaw, who holds the Brett ’65 and Gwendolyn ’64 Elliott Professorship for Interdisciplinary Studies, will speak on “Transforming Knowledge, Building Reimagined Futures.”

“The creative energy and expertise of our faculty fuels and enlivens the learning experience of our students,” said Allegheny Provost and Dean of the College Ron Cole. “This takeover of the Academic Minute is a wonderful cross section that highlights the breadth and depth of the Allegheny faculty and the interdisciplinary nature of our curriculum.”

Added Link: “These six faculty are merely representative of the rigorous scholars and inspiring teachers who are at the core of an Allegheny education. And in a moment of historic global crisis, the world needs creative, engaged and thought leaders like these faculty, who demonstrate the relevance and applicability toward our current challenges of a strong, liberal arts education in a variety of fields.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Professor’s New Book on U.S. Presidency Featured by Erie ABC Affiliate

JET 24 Action News in Erie featured a new book by Allegheny College political science professor Brian Harward, “The Presidency in Times of Crisis and Disaster.” The book examines how America’s presidents have responded to major tests of their leadership and approached their role and responsibilities in times of national crisis.

Harward is the Robert G. Seddig Chair in Political Science at Allegheny and also director of the College’s Center for Political Participation. He is an expert in addressing issues of the presidency and congressional responsiveness to presidential actions. Watch the story featuring Harward below:

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Senior Elyse Cinquino Participates in NEW Leadership Pennsylvania Institute

Allegheny student Elyse Cinquino
Allegheny senior Elyse Cinquino at the NEW Leadership Pennsylvania Institute

Allegheny College senior Elyse Cinquino participated in the National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership Pennsylvania program, a weeklong “leadership and public policy institute designed to educate and empower young women for future political participation and leadership,” in summer 2019. Throughout the week, participants in this non-partisan program discuss the role of women in politics and policymaking in Pennsylvania with the goal of addressing the underrepresentation of women in politics.

The NEW Leadership Pennsylvania institute is hosted by the Pennsylvania Center for Women & 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.

Cinquino is double majoring in international studies and Spanish with a political science minor. She shares reflections on her NEW Leadership Pennsylvania experience here:

“My experience at the NEW Leadership Program was a memorable one. I was able to interact and get to know many other collegiate Pennsylvania women who were interested in the prospect of being involved in politics. When I originally applied for the program, I was unsure if it would be something I would enjoy or would be applicable to my future career interests. However, I would recommend this program to any woman remotely interested in getting involved in politics or becoming more civically involved. Although I did not see myself running for a major elected office in the future, after completing this program I surely want to become more civically involved in local politics today and in the future. This program emphasizes the importance of women becoming in politics not only in higher-up positions, but also locally. It taught me that getting involved in politics does not mean you have to be a U.S president or even a senator.

“One memorable quote I remember from the NEW Leadership Program was a modification to the quote by Shirley Chisholm — “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” At NEW Leadership, we came up with a new quote, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring your own table.” This quote and ideal resonated with me and many of the other women at the conference. In politics, women and especially women of color are underrepresented. As a result, an important demographic, as well as different life experiences and skillsets are left under utilized and not included in important conversations and decisions that affect women and our nation as a whole. I learned that sometimes, when there’s no seat at the table for you or no designated place for you to be included in a conversation, you have to make room for yourself because your ideas and opinions matter.

Allegheny senior Elyse Cinquino and Allegheny graduate Dana Brown, Ph.D., executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics at Chatham University

“I am currently involved in Allegheny Student Government as vice president, and I believe the skills I was able to develop at NEW Leadership will assist me in this position as well as my other position on an executive board in my sorority. This program was also advantageous for networking as we had networking opportunities, and I even was able to meet Justice Cynthia A. Baldwin, who did a Fulbright in Zimbabwe that relates to what I’m interested in doing after graduation. This networking practice was very helpful, and we also had a networking and public speaking training to prepare us for our networking sessions.

“During the NEW Leadership Program, we visited Harrisburg, and it was very cool to see where and how state-level politics take place. The panels and general conduct and setup of NEW Leadership was diverse and non-partisan with different women, representatives and political leaders from different parties and backgrounds. This was great so many of the collegiate women had people they could relate to and receive advice from. Overall, the NEW Leadership Program would be something I would recommend and am proud to call myself an alumna of!”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Welcomes New Faculty

From a native of Italy who speaks five languages to a motocross enthusiast, Allegheny’s new faculty members bring many unique backgrounds and qualities to the campus classrooms in the fall of 2019. Let’s meet each of them briefly:

Kathryn BenderKathryn Bender
Assistant Professor of Economics

Kathryn Bender joins the Economics Department this fall and is helping students discover the economics of natural resources. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Centre College and her master’s and doctorate from the Ohio State University.

“I’m excited to start at Allegheny this fall,” says Bender. “I’m involved in several projects on consumer food-waste behavior and hope to find new avenues to explore at Allegheny around this topic.”

Her dissertation, “Date Labels and Food Waste: A study of the effect of label characteristics on food waste in the United States,” studies the confluence of environmental science, economics, and marketing in the food distribution ecosystem in the United States. She is also interested in exploring the effect of feminine hygiene programs in developing countries on the environment along with women’s empowerment, health, and education.

In her free time, Bender enjoys playing soccer, riding horses, and hanging out with her two dogs, Huck and Nala.

Bradley Burroughs '02Bradley Burroughs ’02
Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

After graduating from Allegheny in 2002, Bradley Burroughs earned his master’s degree from Duke University Divinity School and his Ph.D. from Emory University. His first teaching job was at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. After resigning that position to attend to family needs, he taught for four years at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. “But I am thrilled to be back in Meadville and reconnecting to the Allegheny community,” he says.

His academic interests span a variety of theological and ethical thought. His most recent work has been in two areas. The first is Christian political ethics, which led to his first book, Christianity, Politics, and the Predicament of Evil: A Constructive Theological Ethic of Soulcraft and Statecraft. It has also led to other published pieces that assess practices of contemporary warfare. The second area of his recent work has been in how Christian thinkers have understood the concept of evil, which is the subject of his next book project.

Burroughs enjoys mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, and being outdoors generally, “or at least as much as I can do now with two kids in tow. Although not entirely unusual, one of my more surprising talents is juggling, which I learned from a hallmate in Baldwin during my first year at Allegheny.”

He also is proud that he was the first in his family to graduate from college.

Moira FlanaganMoira Flanagan
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Moira Flanagan is a lifelong morris dancer, a form of traditional English folk/pub dancing. She is also the newest chemistry professor at Allegheny.

She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City and a Ph.D. in biophysical sciences from the University of Chicago. Most recently, she was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Chemistry Department at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently, her research combines biochemistry and physical chemistry techniques to understand the physical and photoprotective properties of heterogeneous biological pigments like melanin.

“My interest in the chemistry of biological systems also shapes how I teach,” Flanagan says. “I get excited to bring biological contexts into other fields of chemistry (as often as I can), but also emphasize the physical chemistry concepts (like entropy) in biochemistry topics.

“My teaching is based on the idea that everyone can learn science if they want to and I am here to help. I reject the idea that some people ‘get’ science and math and some people don’t,” Flanagan says. “One doesn’t need to be an expert in chemistry to critically analyze and problem-solve in a new context.”

Besides her affinity for chemistry, teaching and morris dancing, Flanagan enjoys cooking, especially fish and fresh pasta. “I also won a coloring contest in my local paper when I was 4, and actually still consider myself an amateur artist in drawing and cartooning.

Jessica Harris
Visiting Assistant Professor of History

Jessica Harris received her bachelor’s in history, master’s in Afro-American Studies, master’s in history, and Ph.D. in history, all from UCLA. She also held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto in the Department of Italian Studies. She taught at Santa Monica College as well as at the University of Toronto during her fellowship.

Her research focus is on the history of the 20th century United States and the World, Modern Italy, and Black Europe, “and I am particularly interested in gender and race, their intersection with material culture, and the subsequent effect on group identities,” Harris says.

Since she studies Italian culture, “I like to watch Italian films and listen to Italian pop music,” says Harris.

Her five minutes of fame occurred as a teenager, Harris says, “when my club soccer team and I appeared on an episode of Bette Midler’s sitcom ‘Bette’.”

Mahita KadmielMahita Kadmiel
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Mahita Kadmiel has spent most of her life learning about human diseases, and she enjoys teaching students about how the human body works — or fails to work — in the event of a disease.

Kadmiel taught for two years as a visiting assistant professor at Colgate University. She is trained in biomedical sciences, completing postdoctoral training in molecular endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health. In addition, she holds a Ph.D. in cell and molecular physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in biology from Michigan Technological University, and a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and biochemistry and medical lab technology from Andhra University in India.

“My academic interest has always been in improving our understanding of the molecular basis of human diseases,” Kadmiel says. “Too little or too much of stress hormones (glucocorticoids) and changes in sex hormone levels (estrogen and testosterone) have been linked to vision problems.”

She is investigating the function of these hormones in the cornea and retina using rodent models and cells derived from human eyes. Kadmiel also is interested in studying the role of hormone-mimicking chemicals (more commonly called endocrine-disrupting chemicals) on ocular cells and tissues and how they might influence eye health.

Kadmiel incorporates her interest in various forms of art not only in the biology courses that she teaches, but also in her time outside the classroom and laboratory.

“I enjoy working on art projects and DIY projects along with my two kids,” she says. “This is my trick to get mom-time and hobby time in one shot!”

Douglas LumanDouglas Luman
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Douglas Luman joins the Computer Science Department from a background in creative writing and composition. He earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from Bradley University and his MFA is from George Mason University, where he studied poetry and was the Heritage Student Fellow in 2017. He taught in the University Writing Program at George Washington University.

“So, suffice to say, I am an interesting fit in computer science. The way I usually explain it is that all of my work is computational, even though it is done in a humanities-leaning context,” he says.

His MFA thesis, “Prodigy House,” was a computational investigation of an early literary algorithm (“Travesty”). His other work is all computationally based. “I essentially ‘write’ aided by software that I write and others (like Google Cloud tools — Translate, Speech to Text) that I use in conjunction with writing. During graduate school, I developed a computational constraint platform that I continue to run at

“One might say that my work is less from an academic background and more out of a discipline or practice,” Luman says.

Luman is also interested in approaches to computational pedagogy: that is, what do the humanities, writ-large, have to say about teaching computer science? “Is there some way that we can use humanities-based concepts/data to teach students what it means to be responsible for their code? I wonder if there’s some distinction here to remind both students and ourselves of the perennial lesson that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should,” he says.

He and his partner, the poet Jenni B. Baker, also run a book arts press called Container, where they produce other artists’ work in three-dimensional, novel forms, “which is to say as a gem tray of origami paper gems, etched glass bottles, or as cross-stitch kits, for example,” Luman says.

Rebecca OliverRebecca Oliver
Assistant Professor of Political Science

Rebecca Oliver received her bachelor’s degree from the Université de Montréal and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She arrives at Allegheny after teaching most recently at Murray State University in Kentucky and, prior to that, the University of Southern California.

Oliver’s research examines the politics of inequality with respect to labor markets and social policy in Europe. Substantive topics of her work include labor union strategies, collective bargaining institutions, public opinion, childcare policy and territorial inequalities in social policy.

She is currently completing revisions for her book, “Negotiating Differences: The Politics of Egalitarian Bargaining Institutions.” The book examines the following question: Why, in the face of common growing pressures toward greater liberalization and pay dispersion, are egalitarian bargaining institutions sustained or reconfigured in some instances and bluntly dismantled in others? Employing the cases of Italy and Sweden, the book studies developments in egalitarian collective bargaining institutions.

Oliver recently adopted a puppy named Griffin. “My interests of hiking, canoe camping, exploring and getting lost in new cities/towns, making cupcakes, skiing, playing tennis, attending live jazz concerts and visiting art galleries are currently taking a back seat to dog training,” she says.

Kelly PearceKelly Pearce
Instructor, Environmental Science & Sustainability

Kelly Pearce is a graduate of Juniata College, where she majored in wildlife conservation and minored in education. She received her master’s degree in applied ecology and conservation biology from Frostburg State University, and earned her Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Appalachian Laboratory.

She is a wildlife ecologist and conservationist with research interests at the intersection of ecological and social science, including the field of human dimensions of wildlife conservation. “I use quantitative and qualitative approaches to study how environmental, social, and policy factors influence wildlife populations and species distributions. I also strive to better understand approaches that mitigate conflict and encourage coexistence between people and wildlife,” she says. Pearce also serves on the Outreach and Conflict Resolution Task Force as a member of the IUCN Otter Specialist Group.

“My research has taken me to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, where I evaluated the ability of the river otter to serve as an aquatic flagship species for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” she says. “I have also been involved in a variety of wildlife ecology projects focused in western Maryland and West Virginia, including a study on eastern spotted skunks, Allegheny woodrats, and a variety of bat species.”

Pearce enjoys live music and spends much of her free time watching and traveling for shows, she says. Pearce also enjoys motorcycle journeys. “I rode my first motorcycle when I was 3 right into the back of the garage. I still love to ride on my parents’ farm in central Pennsylvania, and this past summer I earned three first-place finishes in a vintage cross-country motorcycle race series.”

Gaia RancatiGaia Rancati
Assistant Professor of Marketing and Neuromarketing in Economics

Gaia Rancati joins the Economics Department and will teach Principles of Marketing and Business and Managerial Economics during the fall semester.

Rancati is an experienced trainer and coach in both sales and customer experience specializing in retail, sales, team building, and management. She earned her Ph.D. in marketing and neuroeconomics as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing from IULM University, and a master’s of leadership and management from Il Sole 24ORE Business School in Milan, Italy. She is a sought-after researcher and speaker in the field of neuromarketing where she applies the science of neuroeconomics for improving customer experience in the retail field with a focus on service encounters, sales transformation and artificial intelligence.

Lauren RudolphLauren Rudolph
Assistant Professor of Biology

Lauren Rudolph joins the Biology Department with undergraduate and graduate degrees as double-majors in neuroscience and psychology. She attended Washington and Lee University for her undergraduate education and Indiana University for her Ph.D. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles in neurobiology and neuroendocrinology, and then taught neuroscience as a visiting professor at Pomona College.

Rudolph’s research is generally focused on steroid hormones and how they act to drive certain behaviors, such as mammalian reproduction. Her wider interests include neuroendocrinology, hormones, reproduction, sex differences, and physiology.

“I am continually impressed with the ever-expanding range of steroid hormone effects,” says Rudolph, “and how hormones can alter behaviors. I study how hormones act in ‘non-traditional’ ways to change the shape and function of cells, tissues, and organisms.”

When traveling on planes, Rudolph says she tends to get into interesting conversations because she is often working on presentations about reproduction. She sees those discussions as part of her “unofficial outreach”: sharing her research with other people.

During her time at Washington and Lee University, Rudolph played volleyball on a team which won conference champions each year, earning a place in the NCAA tournament during her four years as an undergraduate. Besides volleyball, Rudolph also enjoys the outdoors, cheese, sarcasm, making up forced acronyms, animal fun facts, and March Madness.

“I am also skilled at removing the gonads of rodents (for research!),” she adds.

Rosita ScerboRosita Scerbo
Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish

Rosita Scerbo joins the Department of Modern and Classical Languages as a Spanish instructor. Her research interests include Latin American and Chicanx visual autobiography. This includes photography, cinema, paintings, murals, and digital art. She is also a specialist in Digital Humanities and Hispanic digital pedagogy tools.

Scerbo was born in Italy but has spent most of her life studying and working abroad. “I’m a heritage speaker of Spanish, as I learned Spanish in my community as a child before I dedicated my life to the Hispanic language and culture academically in school and in college.”

She taught Spanish and Italian language, literature, and culture at West Virginia University during her pursuit of a master’s degree and at Arizona State University while earning her doctorate. She also has taught Spanish in Sevilla, Spain, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, during study abroad and Spanish immersion programs. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Calabria in Italy.

“I speak five languages,” says Scerbo. “I went to dance school for many years, and I’m particularly passionate about Latin dances, including salsa, bachata, and merengue. My two daughters’ names — one is human and one is canine — are Sol and Luna, that is Spanish for sun and moon.”

Sarah StangerSarah Stanger
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Sarah Stanger joins Allegheny’s Psychology Department and also plans to provide assessment and treatment services to children and families in Meadville as she works toward clinical licensure. Stanger attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She says her time there “ignited my passion for contributing to a learning community like Allegheny.” Stanger then traveled cross-country to attend the University of Vermont, where she taught undergraduate courses and earned a joint Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology.

Most recently, Stanger was in Portland, Oregon, completing her predoctoral clinical internship. While there, she provided assessment, consultation, and treatment services for children and families in a hospital-based setting.

Stanger hopes to observe interactions between families and children in a laboratory setting while at Allegheny. “I am interested in understanding the development of adaptive stress responses — both physiological and behavioral — in children and adolescents,” says Stanger. “This includes examining how parenting and other contextual factors, such as family socioeconomic status, contribute to this development.”

Outside of her professional life, Stanger has competed in horseback riding, enjoys skiing and snowboarding, and has a love for college sports and theater. She anticipates learning to cross-country ski while in Meadville, as well as attending her students’ productions and sporting events.

Asmus TrautschAsmus Trautsch
Writer in Residence

Asmus Trautsch studied philosophy as a major and German literature (modern and medieval) as a minor at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and at the University College London in Great Britain. In addition, he studied composition/music theory at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at Humboldt University, spending a term as a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York City. He has taught philosophy at the University of Dresden and has been a guest lecturer at other universities.

His research interests include contemporary poetry, philosophy of tragedy, philosophy of literature, philosophy of music, ancient Greek philosophy, aesthetics, and ethics.

“My interests lie in the arts, including fine arts, film and dance and in the ways in which the sciences and the arts work together for enabling understanding and new knowledge,” says Trautsch. “Also I’m passionately interested in how philosophy and literature can contribute to educating society and improving politics.”

Trautsch likes to engage in “entertaining dialogues with lots of curious questions,” bake cakes, conduct orchestras and play various musical instruments. He shares a fun fact from his past: “I once won second prize in a competition called ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ in Dresden.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

A Gator’s View From Down Under

Editor’s Note: Allegheny College junior Joseph Merante is spending the spring 2019 semester at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He shared his thoughts on life there so far:

The first thing that hits you when you step out of the airplane on the eastern edge of the Australian continent is the heat. My experience might have been intensified, since my first step onto the tarmac was in daylight. I had one more plane to board once I got to Australia, and I had to wade through a thick curtain of heat hovering above the asphalt to get there. I’ve been to California, places like Palm Springs, and the weather there is hot and balmy. The airport in Brisbane is hot full stop.

Student Joseph Merante interacts with a kangaroo.

The good thing about all this heat, though, is that Australians don’t mess around when it comes to air conditioning. Each room has its own Aircon unit that lowers 10 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes. And, of course, you get used to it. At this point, when it’s 70 degrees in my room, I’m shivering in my pajamas.

What’s bad about all this heat are tropical flowers and fruit plants. What comes from them, I mean. Sunlight is everywhere, which means foliage is everywhere. And if foliage and fruit are everywhere, that means flies are everywhere. And if flies are everywhere, that means things that eat flies are everywhere. The food chain here is quite bottom heavy. Unlike in the United States, where you have mountain lions and moose and bears, the biggest terrestrial predator is an emu, if that even counts. Dingoes, I guess, are next. There are tons of lizards, frogs, snakes, birds and bats. They are having a pest problem with the frogs; drivers will swerve out of their way to try to run them over. It’s the same with bats, they try to expel colonies only to move them to the next town over.

What’s good about all this heat are the beaches. The water is warm, the sand is soft, the seagulls are disrespectful — everything you’re looking for from a beach experience. The coast nearest to Townsville, called the Strand, has the unique situation of being penned in by an island and the Great Barrier Reef. Although that’s not good for surfing, the lack of angry waves means it’s perfect for nice and relaxing dips into the ocean. Right now it’s jellyfish season, so we are warned against choosing your own locations to swim, but there are plenty of netted areas that are dragged in the morning that are open to the public. There is also a place known as the rock pool, which is a large stone basin that filters in seawater each week that you can swim within, if the nets aren’t enough. Each of the beaches has a stand where a container of vinegar is placed. Should you get stung, you are told to run to the vinegar and pour it on the wound.

A waterfall cascades through Australia’s lush vegetation.

In terms of culture shock, it’s much less of an adjustment than I was expecting. If someone’s popular, you can talk about how they went on “Oprah.” I’m studying the effect of trauma in one of my classes, we immediately went to clips of 9/11. The “What the Fox Says” video went viral here. People love Minecraft. People love the “Walking Dead,” and the “Walking Dead” video game. A lot of the music is familiar.

The water in restaurants is different, however. You don’t get the server hovering at your elbow filling up your glass whenever it’s empty (which is not good for me since I’m still sweating profusely). They do indeed say “G’day” and “mate.” They say “uni” and not college. They don’t have ketchup, they have tomato sauce, and they like beets (yay!) on a much greater variety of things.

While in Australia, I am taking two English classes, one about narrative theory, the other about different forms of biography. I am also taking a political science class that focuses on developing nations, charting the different methods and timelines for countries. My final class is called “Indigenous Australians,” which studies different native groups, including the Torres-Strait peoples.

My time at Allegheny has done a great job of teaching me to be self-sufficient, sensitive to other people’s values, and considerate of those who have different academic backgrounds, all of which has had a major impact on my experience here. I’m looking forward to coming home this summer, but in the meantime, I’m going to spend as much time at the beach as physically possible.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Students Attend Annual “Ready to Run” Campaign Training Event

Allegheny students attend Ready to Run Pittsburgh campaign training event
From left: Veronica Blair ’22, Dana Brown ’00, Emma Godel ’21 and Aubrey Hall ’22

Allegheny College students Veronica Blair, Emma Godel and Aubrey Hall participated in Ready to Run Pittsburgh, a bipartisan training program to encourage women to seek government leadership positions, at Chatham University in February.

Hall, at the request of the Office of College Relations, provided the following personal reflection on the experience:

It was 6 o’clock in the morning and still dark outside on when two other students and I piled into a school-sponsored van headed toward Chatham University. We had been recommended by our advisors to attend the Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics’ annual campaign training event for women. The center’s executive director at Chatham, Dana Brown, graduated from Allegheny in 2000 and was a visiting associate professor of political science for the 2009–10 school year. In that respect, Allegheny has a special relationship to the Ready to Run program in particular, having sent students to Chatham for the conference in years past as well.

Upon arriving at Chatham, the three of us entered a room largely made up of women much older than us (though several students from Chatham were in attendance). Brown introduced the keynote speaker and spoke broadly about the so-called “pink wave,” the importance of political participation among women, and numbers that still have not been brought to parity between men and women. The opening address was given by Celinda Lake, a prominent pollster who’s done work for such congressional figures as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Lake touched on the unique challenges and double standards faced by female candidates for office, as well as the specific characteristics that make female candidates marketable.

After the address, attendees were divided into two tracks: one designed for women already in the process of developing a campaign plan and another designed for women deciding whether or not to run for an elected office. Being that neither Godel, Blair, or I had any intention of running a campaign in the next year or so, we all opted to undertake the “Getting Started” track. The first component was a presentation by Dana Brown on the key components involved in deciding the right time to run a campaign and the intricacies of different kinds of elected positions. The second component was a panel offering words of wisdom about community engagement, occupied by Councilwoman Fawn Walker-Montgomery of McKeesport, Councilwoman Anita Prizio of Allegheny County, Mayor Melanie Halcomb of Ben Avon, and State Representative Lori Mizgorski.

In between speakers, not only did we have the opportunity to listen to professional women in the fields of campaign finance and communications, but were also able to network with women all around the state who are planning campaigns for the coming election cycle. The conference was impactful not because the candidates at the event were high profile; on the contrary, most were running for lower-profile local offices. We met women running for school board positions, judgeships, and city council positions. None of these were women in search of power, but rather women intent on bringing the lessons from the conference back to their communities. That was something that each Allegheny attendee, at the end of the conference, pledged to do as well.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Two Allegheny Students Spending Spring Semester as Fellows in Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Though connected through the Allegheny College Political Science Department, junior Jesse Tomkiewicz and senior Casey McDaniel have different goals, aspirations and interests.

While Tomkiewicz is interested primarily in labor law, McDaniel considers himself more of a generalist, with interests divided relatively equally among multiple policy areas.

Casey McDaniel
Casey McDaniel

This semester, the students’ respective interests have led them to different committees in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where they are serving as fellows at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Allegheny students have been selected for the competitive Pennsylvania House Fellowship Program for the past five years.

The fellowship allows students to participate in committee work, as opposed to working as staffers for specific elected officials.  The fellowship’s responsibilities include attending hearings, committee meetings and legislative sessions, as well as conducting constituent services and policy research. As a capstone to the program, each student will have the opportunity to draft his or her own original bill and present it to committee members and other legislators.

McDaniel, a political science major and communication arts minor from Anaheim, California, says that working with a committee provides an opportunity to gain experience with implementing good policy.

“When you work for a particular legislator, you are much more of a generalist because, typically, especially state legislators don’t have that many resources, so they have a small staff and they have to do a lot of different things,” McDaniel says. “When you’re working with a committee, you just really specialize in what that committee does. It’s less overtly political and much more based on good policy and getting good information and making sure that the right people are involved in the decision-making process.”

Jesse Tomkiewicz
Jesse Tomkiewicz

The fellowship focuses on policymaking at the state level, rather than the national. Tomkiewicz, the head of the Coalition for Labor on campus, says this focus complements his goal of attending law school to study labor law, a passion he attributes to growing up in a working-class family.

“A lot of labor law is not just duking it out in court or fighting in employment discrimination cases,” says Tomkiewicz, a political science and philosophy double major from Freeport, Pennsylvania. “It’s also going to be lobbying and talking to representatives, so having that internal understanding of state government is definitely helpful because state government controls a lot of our criminal law.”

McDaniel sees his road ahead as a continuation of the kind of work he will be doing during the fellowship.

“I think a lot of the time we put too much emphasis on the role that elected officials play when policymaking is really complicated, and there are a lot of really hard-working people that put a ton of time in that maybe have a lot more impact than elected officials do,” he says. “I was always interested in being one of those people, and I think being a staffer working for a committee is a way to test my sea legs, to see how I like working behind the scenes on policy development and the work of a legislature.”

The application process for the program included answering general questions and submitting a resume, transcript and writing sample. Both Tomkiewicz and McDaniel credit two Allegheny professors — Patrick Jackson, director of fellowship advising in the Allegheny Gateway, and Brian Harward, director of the Center for Political Participation, as key to supporting their applications.

“Both Jesse and Casey have aspirations to be in politics in some way and have worked every angle that they could while at Allegheny in order to advance this agenda,” Jackson says. “I think that the House Legislative Fellowship is both a good reward for that work and a good launching pad for whatever comes next.”

The students also credit part of their success to a liberal arts education and Allegheny’s curriculum.

“This program was available to juniors in college, seniors in college, graduate students and law students,” says Tomkiewicz. “I’m competing with people that ought to be blowing me out of the water. I’m actually at the bottom rung as a junior applying for the program, but I think Allegheny College and its emphasis on research and the success this school has had in conducting undergraduate research, coupled with the liberal arts experience, definitely gives you a major edge when you’re applying for a job that’s basically going to be comprised of just that.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Professor Shares Guggenheim Award for Mexico Drug Cartel Research

Allegheny College Political Science Professor Shannan Mattiace is one of three educators who have received a $40,000 Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation award to survey indigenous communities in Mexico about how those areas are able to curtail drug-related violence.

Mattiace is currently in Chile teaching and conducting research as part of a 2018–19 Fulbright Award. She also is partnering with Notre Dame University Faculty Fellow Guillermo Trejo and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas Fellow Sandra Ley to conduct research in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero.

Political Science Professor Shannan Mattiace is participating in a study of narco violence.

The $40,000 award will be used to hire a Mexican polling company to conduct approximately 1,000 interviews in eastern Guerrero with individuals who use an alternative justice and community policing system as well as those outside the region who use conventional justice and policing systems, Mattiace said.

“We are interested in finding out how people on the ground see their community police and evaluate their alternative justice system,” Mattiace said. “We’ve interviewed leaders from the region, but need to know how legitimate and effective these systems are for citizens. After we get the data, we’ll be able to say much more about the viability of community policing and alternative justice as a potential model for areas of Mexico that have historically been ignored by governmental officials and that are currently under siege by transnational criminal organizations.”

The educators are studying areas in southern Mexico where indigenous villages in the mountainous highlands have been able to fend off widespread activity by drug traffickers. The area is considered one of the most peaceful in Mexico despite being in Guerrero state, which is racked with drug-trafficking violence. The team is surveying communities that have both fended off the narco violence and those that have not.

“We hope that this research will contribute to the ongoing policy conversation in Mexico about criminal violence and what communities can do to keep themselves safe,” said Mattiace. “Our preliminary research suggests that it is community organization scaled up to a regional level of coordination that seems to protect communities from narco violence. Depending on what we find in the field, we hope to be able to make recommendations to governmental officials that support regional efforts of community policing and conflict resolution.”

While in Chile, Mattiace is teaching and lecturing on immigration, Latin American indigenous and social movements, and Mexican politics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Profitability is the Key to Sustainability, Scholar Says

The key to future abundant renewable energy is finding a way to generate and distribute that energy in a profitable and sustainable way, scholar and author Jeffrey Ball told an audience at Allegheny College on Tuesday night.

Ball, a former newspaper reporter, said his experience reporting on and researching renewable energy policy has shown him that if environmental progress is to be made, its stakeholders need to find out how to make sustainability profitable. He also said that the future of climate change and worldwide sustainability of resources are in the hands of young people.

“I just turned 50 years old. The people in this room who I really want to talk to are the people less than half my age,” Ball said. “This is maybe the mother of all mega-issues, and if you want to make a difference in the world, you should dig into this, and if you don’t care too much about making a difference in the world but you just want to make a lot of money, you should dig into this.”

Ball, currently a lecturer at Stanford Law School and scholar-in-residence at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy, spoke at the Tippie Alumni Center as part of a two-day visit to campus where he also was addressing academic forums.

“Not only is it not the case that renewable energy is a silver bullet, but I’m sorry to tell you that there isn’t a silver bullet, period,” he said, “Not only am I not going to give you easy answers, I don’t think I’m going to give you any answers. What I am going to do is to encourage you to try to ask deeper questions” about climate change, said Ball.

Ball spent 15 years at the Wall Street Journal as both a reporter focusing on energy and the environment and an editor of the paper’s environment section.

In his discussion of global climate change, Ball drew information from his experiences traveling around the globe to report on the evolving nature of energy policy in more than 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Germany and China. He told the audience that the key actors in the race toward competitive renewable energy are countries in the developing world, including China and India.

Allegheny sophomore Emily Kauchak encouraged her fellow students to explore the Environmental Law and Policy programs which Allegheny has made available. She said it is also important to share the importance of sustainability with her peers.

“The environment relates to everything that we study here in the world, and on this campus. Every student at Allegheny is an environmental scientist,” she said.

Ball’s lecture on Tuesday, entitled “Sharp Fights and Hard Lessons in the Global Race for Clean Energy,” was organized by Allegheny’s Law and Policy program, and was the start of a short course entitled “The Future of Energy Policy,” which also will incorporate lectures from two other scholars, Robert Glennon, one of the nation’s thought leaders and commentators on the fresh-water supply, and Dr. Julie Sze, professor of American studies at the University of California-Davis.

Photo Credit: Aubrey Hall ’22. Photo Caption: Lecturer Jeffrey Ball, right, discusses a point about profitable sustainability with first-year student Sebastian McRae.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny’s Student Alliance for Prison Reform Hosts Anthony Ray Hinton

Anthony Ray Hinton spoke at Allegheny College on Thursday, Sept. 20.

Anthony Ray Hinton was released from Jefferson County (Alabama) Jail in 2015 after serving one of the longest sentences on death row among those later exonerated — and since then he has been traveling the country telling his story.

Hinton spoke at Allegheny College on Thursday, Sept. 20, as part of a program sponsored by the national Equal Justice Initiative and Allegheny’s Student Alliance for Prison Reform.

Hinton wrote “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” a New York Times bestseller, about his experience.

“I wish I could look you in the eye and tell you that the state of Alabama made an honest mistake,” Hinton told a roomful of Allegheny students and other community members. “I wish I could look you in the eye and tell you that race had nothing to do with me going to death row for 30 years, but the truth of the matter is the state of Alabama didn’t make an honest mistake, and race had everything to do with me going to death row.”

In the summer of 1985, two Birmingham-area fast-food restaurants were robbed and their managers fatally shot. In July, there was a robbery at a restaurant in Bessemer, Alabama, where the manager was shot but not seriously injured.

Though a 29-year-old Anthony Hinton was working at a locked warehouse 15 miles away at the time of the second crime, and although there were no eyewitness accounts of the first incident, he was arrested one evening while cutting the grass outside of his mother’s house. He matched a vague description of the perpetrator, and after being brought into the police station, was identified from a photo lineup.

Hinton was told by the detective handling his case that it didn’t matter whether he did or didn’t commit the crimes. The officer “was going to make sure that [Hinton] was found guilty.”

After illegal seizure of a firearm that had been in Hinton’s mother’s possession, the state of Alabama claimed that the gun matched the one used in all three crimes, and lacking an expert who could sufficiently refute the state’s claims, Hinton was convicted and sentenced to death row. It was here that he spent 30 years steadfastly maintaining that he was innocent, and after more than 12 years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned his conviction, and Hinton was allowed to walk free.

Hinton’s entire family died while he was on death row, and the state of Alabama has yet to issue him an apology or pay him the $3 million he is legally due, he said.

“I go around the country telling this story because I truly don’t want any of you young people to get caught up in a system that is flawed,” Hinton said, emphasizing the importance of young people mobilizing in favor of prison reform, “Your children’s children will inherit this judicial system that we have if you don’t stand up and do something about it.”

Student involvement in seeking improved justice was a frequent theme on Thursday evening, touched on by Hinton himself, by audience members who voiced their questions, and by student organizers of the event. The local Student Alliance for Prison Reform, which is a relatively new group on campus, is part of a larger alliance, spearheaded by Princeton University, which seeks to get students involved in political processes and open dialogue about injustice.

“Mr. Hinton’s story was one that we all found especially compelling,” said the student club’s vice president, Brian A. Hill ’19, “We figured that getting someone who works hand-in-hand with the Equal Justice Initiative would not only serve the purpose of our club, but also have a broader appeal to the campus. Getting Mr. Hinton was a challenge, but it’s a challenge that we’re really proud that we took on.”

The evening concluded with a round of questions, as well as an opportunity for students to talk with Hinton one-on-one. Hinton’s book is being adapted into a movie scheduled to be released in the United States in 2020.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research