I hope everyone has had a great year since our last newsletter release. This year we are reaching out in the summer months with the hope of enticing many of you to put us on your calendars for some exciting developments and events that are coming for the new school year, including our next Homecoming Celebration and our highly-touted annual Constitution Day events (stay tuned)! One of our most exciting developments coming up is the expansion of our department with the addition of our talented public administration colleagues -- we welcome Professors Ljubinka Andonoska, Eric Boyer, John Bretting, Bradley Chilton, and Scott McDonald! We also heard news this year about our esteemed colleague and friend, Kathy Staudt (Professor Emerita), who was recognized this past spring with an American Border Studies (ABS) Lifetime Achievement Award -- well done and well deserved Kathy!
On a more somber but also congratulatory note, we learned this year that our wonderful colleague of over a decade, Irasema Coronado, was retiring from UTEP and taking a new position a director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University (ASU). Irasema told us not to make any fuss but we just wish to briefly note here how much all her years of invaluable service, mentorship, and friendship meant to our faculty, staff, and students -- thank you Irasema and Godspeed in your new endeavor!
Our students continue to shine and expand their horizons in ways above and beyond the call of duty, including with a record number of Political Science Komarnicki Scholarships awarded this past year. Pi Sigma Alpha had yet another successful year (including with their annual conference), GRO students traveled far and wide, and the University Democrats landed the honor of hosting at UTEP the last event for Beto O'Rourke before the 2018 midterm elections. We have had a great number of talented new students join our BA and MA programs, with some returning for a second stint as former BA grads-turned MA majors. Others have gone on to other top programs or jobs elsewhere while keeping in touch about how proudly they have since represented their Miner spirit, some along the Paso del Norte region and others even across the globe.
For Homecoming 2018, we had a wonderful celebration in Benedict Hall and as with the previous year enjoyed catering of Mexican food and donuts while catching up with many colleagues, friends, and family. We were honored to have Dr. Natalicio at our event, which was her last Homecoming as UTEP’s President. This coming year we will be celebrating Homecoming on Friday, October 4th, at 4:30pm (location TBA). Please mark your calendars and plan to join us -- we will be following up in the near future with more details about the location and theme... We hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you all there!
Are you interested in giving back to UTEP, our department, and students? One can do so in many ways. Alumni can help students by contributing to our endowed scholarship funds or our gift fund. Our gift fund helps to support our pre-commencement ceremony, which we have held at the end of each semester for the past three years. It is wonderful to honor our graduating students and meet their families, and we would like to expand this event by providing each graduating student with a gift by which to remember us. You can help in other ways. For example, students in Pi Sigma Alpha (PSA) and the Global Relations Organization (GRO) have benefited from alumni giving, which has helped support PSA induction ceremonies and conferences, and GRO study-away trips, such as the Model United Nations simulations in New York and Washington DC. We would also like to increase the number of opportunities for alumni to interact with students in the coming years, and we hope that you will think about participating in various activities, such as through our Speakers Bureau, where alumni can visit classes or hold a talk, ideally where we can highlight your successes as role models for our students. If you are in a position to create internships, our students are eager to engage in such educational and networking opportunities. You can read about some of the most recent experiences with these types of activities below. We thank our alumni for all of your kind contributions and continued support, which helps us to serve our students --we very much appreciate it!
I am delighted to report that the state of our department is strong! Please feel free to visit our department website and our Facebook page for more information about us, including our MA program for those interested. Please also consider donating to the Political Science program to help us for the coming year. We look forward to seeing you at future events and wish you all the very best.
Please feel free to peruse our latest newsletter by clicking on each of the links below highlighting some of the most recent student, alumni, and faculty activities and accomplishments!
--Dr. Charles Boehmer, UTEP Political Science Department Chair
Once upon a time, the Political Science and Public Administration faculty were jointly housed in the same department until the PA program developed into its own unit. During that time, faculty from both units kept close academic ties and collaborations, and in recent years we even shared in some fun events such as joint efforts for celebrating homecoming in Fall 2014. Heading into the 2019-2020 school year, we are all excited and greatful to have our PA colleagues join forces once again under one roof -- we welcome our friends into the department and look forward to fantastic opportunities to grow together... Below is the star roster of our colleagues joining us in Benedict Hall -- bienvenidos amigas y amigos!
2019 ABS Announcement for Dr. Kathleen Staudt, Professor Emerita
In recognition of a remarkable career of mentorships, research, and community impact achievements and contributions to ABS and the field of border studies, Dr. Kathleen Staudt received the American Border Studies (ABS) Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, April 26, 2019 in San Diego.
Dr. Kathleen (Kathy) Staudt, PhD (University of Wisconsin, 1976), Professor Emerita, University of Texas at El Paso, taught political science, border politics and women studies in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands for forty years, since 1977. She has published twenty books and edited volumes, over half of which focused on borderlands. She founded and directed UTEP’s Center for Civic Engagement from 1998-2008 and served on many nonprofit and public boards. Kathy has also served on the ABS board of directors and in its various committees. Kathy raised two now-adult children, son Mosi and daughter Asha.
The award was presented by the selection committee chair and past president, Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera.
STUDENT RECOGNITIONS & ORGANIZATION ACTIVITIES
POLITICAL SCIENCE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS (2018-2019)
Each year, a select number of our top students are chosen as recipients for one of the Komarnicki Scholarship Awards for political science. Here is the latest lineup of super stars for the current academic year (listed alphabetically):
Ruben Aguirre (Komarnicki Top Undergraduate Award)
Gisela Argote (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Sergio Armendariz (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Evan Carcerano (Komarnicki Top Undergraduate Award)
Emmanuel Carcoba (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Jared Chumsae (Komarnicki Top Graduate Award)
Kevin Duran (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Jairemy Edwards (Komarnicki Top Graduate Award)
Briana Elizondo (June M. Kruszewski Memorial Award)
Aztecatl Espinosa (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Katya Gutierrez (Komarnicki Top Undergraduate Award)
Jessica Harding (Komarnicki Top Undergraduate Award)
David Jackson (Komarnicki Top Graduate Award)
Sarah Justus (Komarnicki Top Undergraduate Award)
Estrella Loredo (Komarnicki Top Undergraduate Award)
Mariana Luna-Saenz (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Eric Martinez (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Bryan Monroe (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Yolanda Monroy (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Michelle Munoz (Komarnicki Top Graduate Award)
Danny Parks (Komarnicki Top Undergraduate Award)
Ariana Perez (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Paola Quintana (Komarnicki Undergraduate Award)
Ashley Rodriguez (Komarnicki Top Gratuate Award)
Mark Stinson (Komarnicki Top Graduate Award)
Ru Tu (Komarnicki Top Graduate Award)
Armando Wilson (Irena Grabowska Kruszewska Memorial Award)
...and here is a photo of the commemoration of the June M. Kruszewski Memorial Award, who was honored this past spring by the Department of Theater & Dance:
Under the leadership of Professor Abha Singh, the University Democrats sponsored a final election rally for senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke on November 5, 2018. The rally was held at the Magoffin auditorium at UTEP, and attended by more than 1,000 supporters. The event was covered by the national and international media.
Global Relations Organization: Model UN Trip Report by GRO President Carlos Amaro
During the months of March and April, I had the honor of attending and representing UTEP, during a conference/competition at New York University for their 10th annual Model United Nations conference (NYU MUNC X). This was a big event for our team of UTEP students, and a very important event for our student organization [GRO]. I was able to attend this conference as the President of the Global Relations Organization (GRO) with the support of our advisor, Dr. Charles Boehmer, our alumni giving, and the Department of Political Science. As the president, I was able to recruit, along with my vice-president, Austin Stephens, three students that showed interest in the event. Initially, a total of 12 students showed interest, however, since the trip is partially paid off out of pocket, and then a portion of it is reimbursed upon return (with funds from alumni and the Department of Political Science), only a few were able to go. It was a little disappointing how the interest and want were there, but the financial situation didn’t allow for more students to attend. However, we were able to gather a group that was knowledgeable, excited, and interested in the competition…not just interested in visiting New York and getting out of school for a few days.
The competition began on Thursday, March 28th in the evening. Students from different universities gathered in an auditorium to hear an active member of the United Nations give a speech of his current work. It is always really inspiring to hear different stories, insights, and the work active UN members, are striving to achieve. After this short gathering and meeting, we were separated into different groups. The structure of the NYU MUNC is the following; first, a student is assigned a character within a sub-committee that belongs in a larger committee. In my case, I was a member of the Mexican Committee within the Current Events Committee. Within the Current Events Committee, there were three sub-committees; Mexico, United States of America, and Syndicate of Criminals. The NYU model is a little different from other models. This is because NYU invokes the use of technology and communication with “Crisis.” With our laptops, and an in-house software provided by the university, we are able to communicate with everyone in our sub-committee and everyone in our committee. Crisis, on the other hand, communicates with the “backroom”, who keep a degree of control to make sure no “extremely unrealistic” plans take action, and they keep a record of who is doing what. This helps a lot given the fact that you are constantly communicating with them and they have an unbiased agenda.
The character we are each assigned vary in range of role and possibilities. In my committee, we had a former soccer player, a pop-star from Spain, the CEO of Aeromexico, Federal Financial Adviser, President of the Senate, governors of different states, and of course, many more; these committees are usually composed of 25+ members. I was assigned to play the role of a simple doctor practicing general consultation: we are provided with a paragraph-long biography of our character during the competition. From there, we begin working towards “our goal.” This involves speaking in public to push for our agenda, communicating with other members, drafting directives, and collaborating with others to support our goals. At the end of the day, the person who wins the event is the person who passes more directives, speaks the most, and most importantly, allows for her/his creativity to have a “heavy influence” in the larger committee along with the sub-committee. While we all did a good job by making impacts, being creative, and passing many directives, the competition was unfortunately…better.
On Sunday evening, when I spoke with each of the chairs of the committees in which UTEP students were involved, they expressed themselves very surprised with the UTEP students. The chairs were very pleased with the participation of our UTEP team and very surprised given that most of the team members were experiencing this type of event for the first time. Our students each passed a minimum of three directives. This is awesome given the fact that I had asked them to write and propose one directive to show proof of attendance. The fact that they all passed a minimum of three, shows that they really were interested and that they proposed more than the minimum required. The chairs were very impressed with the speed at which our students were able to catch up with the environment and how they started working on their own goals. The only “negative” feedback provided was that they needed to show a little more leadership. The winners of each committee showed leadership and heavily altered their committees by convincing the majority of the committee to follow their lead. This is a difficult goal, usually achieved by the most experienced students. As the president of the organization, I cannot ask for more from a group of students like these. I am proud of their efforts and achievements. Lastly, after speaking with the chairs and the Secretary-General, we were invited to attend next year as part of the staff that runs the event. This is for the purpose of trying to start our own MUNC at UTEP. The conference ended Sunday evening, and myself along with the fellow students were really happy with the conference. I have attended this conference before, and I can honestly say that this team, and these members, were the most dedicated, most interested, and most committed to the conference. I am very pleased with the results, new friendships, and the overall result of the trip.
Pi Sigma Alpha: An Annual Update from PSA Advisor, Dr. Taeko Hiroi
In 2018, the following students met the rigorous requirements of the honor society and were inducted into national membership: Spring 2018 Inductees—Johnathan Cereceres, Carolina Iglesias, Karla Quiz; Fall 2018 Inductees—Kevin A. Duran, Bryan Matthew Monroe, Michelle E. Munoz Cisneros, David I. Yeverino, Theresa R. Edmonston. Congratulations! The 2018 Student Paper Conference on Politics and Institutions that Pi Sigma Alpha organized in April was a huge success. The event drew more than 100 students and faculty members and student presenters shared their research and gained useful feedback from the faculty judges and the audience. Pi Sigma Alpha also hosted the Life in Politics: State of El Paso Conference on April 25, 2019.
SHINING STAR ALUMNI
Jerrod Williams (BA 2013) Goes to Washington... and Returns to the Miner Family (MA Pending)!
Jerrod Williams is a veteran who served in the United States Army for a decade in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and three combat tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom until he retired in October 2010. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso in May 2013 focusing on International Politics with a minor on intelligence and national security. He later went to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., to work on an M.A. in Security Policy Studies with a focus on Transnational Security and Defense Analysis, including studying abroad in Israel to focus on the subject matter of Non-State Actors. During his tenure at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, he worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration as a work study to help come up with better solutions to modernized data and recordkeeping for the National Guard and Reserves within the military service branches. He was subsequently recognized as a President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold) Awardee for his service.
Before returning to UTEP, Jerrod took part in a capstone research project on the Navy’s UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike), proceeding into the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage. He focused on the research question as to whether or not the Navy’s carrier fleet needs an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform to more effectively achieve its missions. Jerrod and his colleagues examined that question by determining whether the UCLASS could deliver an increase in mission performance worth the cost of the program. Since its inception, there has been intense debate over the UCLASS program within Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). The Navy plans to spend $3.7 billion on the program and Jerrod’s group concluded in part that determining which missions the program should prioritize will be critical to future Navy operations.
Jerrod is now back at the University of Texas at El Paso to obtain an M.A. in Political Science and will be working on a final project regarding Congressman John Lewis and the significant policies he has contributed to during his storied tenure in the House of Representatives, including initiatives aimed to address issues of equality and justice as they affect African Americans and other minorities, as well as to further the prosperity of all Americans. His research has also covered more broadly the areas of government leadership, international affairs, international politics, intelligence, transnational security issues, and defense analysis. He is projected to graduate in the fall and return to the federal government as a civil servant in the Department of Defense.
Jesse Soria (BA 2017): Greetings From Manchester!
Previously a shining star of our undergraduate program, Jesse has since graduated with Merit (Honors) to get his Master's degree from the University of Manchester. Jesse is also now featured in the University of Manchester's website video for their School of Law. See the video here (https://www.law.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/) and linked in the screen shot below:
Dr. Charles Boehmer continues as Chair of the Department of Political Science. He enjoys teaching courses in the area of international relations, such as International Security and Foreign Policy of the U.S. His research also continues on the relationships between human rights compliance by countries and networks of international organizations. He has also been working on papers studying the effects of economic development and growth on interstate conflict. Dr. Boehmer also continues to serve as faculty adviser of the Global Relations Organization (GRO), which has participated in UN model simulations in New York the past four spring semesters, and also in Washington DC this past fall.
William Corbett is an attorney and he has taught as a Lecturer at UTEP for the past 13 years, specializing in law-related and courses in government. He is a member of a team of four volunteer teachers at the first "community school" in Doña Ana County. A community school consists of a partnership between the school and community resources. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone--all day, evenings and weekends. The volunteer teachers are conducting a semester-long course in "street law" for eighth grade students. Mr. Corbett's topics included various aspects of civil law.
Dr. Irasema Coronado organized a conference at the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez on September 12, 2018 that focused the impact of the deportation process on families on the U.S.-Mexico border region. The goal of the conference was to bring together deportees, policymakers, human rights activists and academics to propose public policy solutions to mitigate the impact of the deportation process on families on both sides of the border. Participants included deportees that shared the challenges they face integrating into Mexican society as well as the plight of their family left behind in the United States. Representatives from the Instituto Nacional de Migracion, Municipio de Ciudad Juarez, Mexican Consulate in El Paso, provided information on the resources available to deportees and their families and members of Non-governmental organizations–Casa del Migrante, Albergue Mexico, Derechos Humanos Integrales en Accion, A.C. discussed the direct services that their organizations provide to deportees. Academics from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, Colegio de Chihuahua and the University of Texas at El Paso, presented research papers on the topic. Deported U.S. military veterans also participated in this event along with members of Dreamer’s Mom; many of whom have U.S. born children with them residing in Mexico and others with children left behind in the United States. The conference flyer is pictured below:
Dr. Gaspare M. Genna published two journal articles in 2018. The first, in Social Science Journal, finds that public support for a common European Defense and Security Policy involves trust in European Union governments with special emphasis on trust in the German government with an inverse effect when trusting the British government. The second article, published in The Journal of College Student Retention, demonstrates the positive impact early interventions in the classroom has on increasing student success. As director of the North American Studies Program, he has further developed the minor and continues to engage scholars in research involving North American immigration, development, and security. He also continues to serve students and the profession through various on and off campus initiatives that expand global and interdisciplinary opportunities and improve student success.
Dr. Taeko Hiroi published a co-authored article, “Disentangling legislative duration in coalitional presidential systems,” in The Journal of Legislative Studies (2018). Her solo-authored article, “Paradox of Redistribution: Legislative Overrepresentation and Regional Development in Brazil,” forthcoming in print in 2019, was also released as an advance online publication in December 2018 by Publius: The Journal of Federalism. Drs. Genna and Hiroi also produced a concise introductory political science textbook, which was published in January 2019. Dr. Hiroi was also invited to give a talk about Brazil’s presidents and governing coalitions, and their implications for legislative productivity and political crisis at the Institute of Developing Economies/Japan External Trade Organization, an organization related to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Several of Dr. Hiroi’s undergraduate and graduate students presented their work at professional conferences. Dr. Hiroi continues to serve as faculty advisor for Pi Sigma Alpha, Political Science Honor Society. Through the honor society, Dr. Hiroi helps students to develop leadership skills and assists them with grant proposal writing and event planning, among other things.
Dr. Rebecca Reid gave a Constitution Day lecture on indigenous law in September 2018. She and Dr. Curry published “Are We There Yet?: Addressing Diversity in Political Science Subfields” in PS: Political Science & Politics, which used new data to identify areas of improvement within the public law discipline as well as across political science subfields. She organized departmental leadership and research workshops to supplement student learning in courses and UTEP EDGE. She also attended several conferences to present original research on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and indigenous law.
Dr. Gregory D. Schmidt presented a paper, “Ballot Structure and Regional Context: Comparing the Election of Women in Lima and the Peruvian Provinces,” at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Latin American Studies Association in Barcelona Spain on May 24. He served as president of the Midwest Association for Latin American Studies (MALAS) during 2018, organizing and hosting the annual conference in El Paso on November 15-17. During 2018, he taught 11 classes, in which 1,172 students received final grades.
Dr. Gregory S. Schober published one co-authored journal article, published one co-authored book chapter, and had another journal manuscript that was accepted for publication. He presented papers and served as a discussant at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting and the Meeting of the Midwest Association for Latin American Studies. He was a participant in the Culture and Health Community of Practice, and he served as a steering committee member and co-investigator for a community-based participatory research project on diabetes education interventions in the local region.
Dr. Jose D. Villalobos published a co-authored book chapter on presidential leadership and national security with Routledge (2018) and has another co-authored book chapter on discrete emotions in politics that is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. He also ran a major, original national survey fielded by YouGov and contributed to the British Election Study (BES), which generated data for the final portion of a co-authored book manuscript on group empathy in politics that is now under contract with Cambridge University Press. He currently serves as chair of the Dean's Community Engagement Task Force for Liberal Arts and Director of Student Enhancement and External Relations for Political Science. He also continues serving as Faculty Liaison for Nonpartisan Voter Registration for UTEP’s Center for Civic Engagement in concert with the El Paso County Elections Office. He is a 2019 Inaugural Member of UTEP's Academy of Distinguished Teachers (ADT) and is also serving as a member of the Distinguished Teaching Award Committee for the American Political Science Association (APSA).
Dr. Joseph Zhou was invited in July 2018 to present his co-authored paper at the 8th Political Science Studies and Methodology Workshop at Fudan University, a top-ranked public university located in Shanghai, China. The paper, now forthcoming at Asian Survey, compares the effects of economic performance to bolstering political legitimacy in democratic and authoritarian countries and finds its stronger effects in the latter. The workshop was a good demonstration of the fast and complex changes taking place in the Chinese academia. The theoretical and methodological rigor of some Chinese scholars clearly rivaled those of their American counterparts. Meanwhile, some state-sponsored propagandists also attended the workshop and contributed to some of its memorable and comical moments. Below are two pictures from the workshop (Picture #2: A cartoon diagram drawn by political science graduate students at Fudan):
POLS IN PICTURES
The 2018 Political Science Department Homecoming Celebration
POLS Graduation Celebration
Jairemy Edwards Thesis Defense
Guest Speaker Dr. Brandon Rottinghaus (Univesity of Houston) Presenting to Students and Faculty on Lessons in Addressing Political Polarization in Texas
UTEP Celebrates Constitution Day with Area Students (Reflection shared by Dr. Irasema Coronado)
Approximately 800 students from area high schools were able to get multiple perspectives on the importance of the U.S. government on its 231st birthday through a Constitution Day performance and presentations on Sept. 17, 2018, at The University of Texas at El Paso.
UTEP faculty members from the departments of English, Theatre Arts and Political Science, and the Women’s Studies, Chicano Studies and African American Studies programs led seven sessions that focus on the U.S. Constitution, several of its amendments and constitutional law. The activities took place from 9:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. mostly inside Union Building East but also in the Fox Fine Arts Center and the Blumberg Auditorium inside the University Library.
The event began at 9:30 a.m. with a brief welcome by Denis O’Hearn, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, at Centennial Plaza before the students went to the first of the three sessions they attended. Topics included citizenship, antislavery literature and the women’s suffrage movement. UTEP’s Center for Civic Engagement also conducted a voter registration drive in the Union as part of the program.
While the University always celebrates Constitution Day, 2018 is the first year that organizers arranged anything this big on campus. While the program’s emphasis was on the Constitution, a secondary focus helped familiarize these students with UTEP, some of its academic programs and their instructors.
High school seniors appreciated the importance of higher education, learn about the Constitution, and left UTEP armed with information on how this document enhances our democracy.
Below we provide numerous memorable pictures from the proceedings:
Presenting Tony's new historical, biographical book written by Beata Halicka that contextualizes his storied life
Presenting on Thaddeus Kosciuszko (the Polish officer who fought alongside colonialists against the British in the American Revolution)