Category Archives: Student News

2018 Quandt Award Winners

A new set of scholars to receive the 2018 Quandt Awards has been chosen to pursue research overseas. The Quandt International Research Fund was started by the Department of Politics in honor of William Quandt, a distinguished faculty member and well-known expert on Middle Eastern politics. The Fund assists students and faculty in the Department to pursue studies and research abroad by making travel grants to defray the cost of international travel. The awards are administered annually by a faculty committee.

Project descriptions below are taken from their proposals and are subject to change based on their research and findings.

Mariana BrazaoMariana BrazaoThe Aestheticization of Politics: The Role of Indigenous Benches in Brazil’s Political Representation

Brazao will seek to examine how the general aestheticization of every-day, indigenous goods in Brazil impacts the indigenous populations’ political representation and presence in the country. She will visit São Paulo and Brasília, conducting research for two weeks including face-to-face interviews with government officials from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the Ministry of Culture, employees of BEI Editora, and employees of the Institute for Socio-Environmental Issues (Instituto Socio Ambiental – ISA). She will also conduct one-on-one interviews with indigenous tribe members, specifically the individuals who created the benches showcased in The Indigenous Benches of Brazil.

Danilo MedeirosDanilo MedeirosHow Policy Preferences Interact with Income Inequality: Political Polarization in Democratic Brazil

Medeiros’ research will investigate how income inequality is associated with political polarization in Brazil. His research targets the policy agenda of the executive and the relationship between the president and the legislature – features that are often ignored by the extant scholarship. His project also adds to the research agenda that takes economic inequality as an independent variable by including a case outside the advanced industrial world. His final goal is a framework to study the relationship between inequality and political polarization in any democracy with available data.

Nicole DemitryThe NGO Effect: A Bisection of Private Interests and Foreign Perceptions of American Public Policy

Over the last year, Demitry has developed a working hypothesis on perceptual disconnect in Haiti: many Haitians see NGO presence as an extension of US foreign policy, not as neutral non- governmental organizations. Perceptions of the recipients of foreign aid do not seem to be a static factor in the policy and implementation decisions of aid organizations. If this is correct, there are massive political implications not just in Haiti, but in many other underdeveloped countries with a large American NGO presence. Without accurately considering the perceptions of those receiving aid, or addressing potential self-referential truths within Western aid evaluative frameworks, NGOs will continue to fail in successful implementation of humanitarian aid. She will research how unsuccessful NGO activities contribute to this perceptual disconnect and how these effects can be mitigated.

Olyvia ChristleyOlyvia ChristleyNativism, Gender, and the Rise of the Radical Right

Much excellent work has already been done concerning radical right politics, but important gaps still remain, particularly when it comes to our understanding of how the radical right operates in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the United States. The bulk of the research and theorizing on the radical right has arisen from Western European party politics. The historical legacies and political institutions of CEE and the United States are not entirely analogous to those in Western Europe, so it stands to reason that the presence and implications of the radical right movement across these regions might vary in ways that have not yet been properly explored.

Hungary, Poland, and the United States—these three countries share some striking similarities, perhaps most importantly the fact that each one has elected an authoritarian head of state and/or government that is sympathetic to the radical right in the last decade. Christley plans to conduct the first cross-country study in political science that systematically compares the individual belief systems of radical right supporters within CEE to those in the United States. She will also use experimental studies and interviews to disentangle nativist and gendered attitudes among radical right supporters and voters, and examine the conditions that prompt individuals who hold both nativist and pro- (or anti-) gender equality views to support radical right ideologies, policies, and candidates.

Elana GrissomElena GrissomCross-Group Alliances in Ethnically Polarized Societies: The evolution of Arab-Jewish relations in Israeli municipal elections

Up until recently, local elections have been an under-researched area in the study of ethnic politics. Grissom will use municipal elections in Israel as a lens through which to analyze the political identity of the Arab minority. Specifically, she is interested in the factors that cause Arab parties and candidates to ally with Jewish parties, even when it is seemingly contrary to their in-group interests. She has also been granted a visiting research fellowship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which will provide access to libraries, professors, and overall academic support.

Eric XuEric XuBrexit and International Students: A Chinese Case Study

Xu will travel to the United Kingdom to interview international students in the following prestigious London universities: London School of Economics (LSE), Imperial College, London (Imperial), and University College, London (UCL).

His project will target both post-graduate and undergraduate students at those institutions, in order to analyze the following factors relevant to higher-education migration: Why did they select the U.K., and London more specifically, as a destination for higher education migration? How did the U.K. post-visa process influence their decision, and how do they expect to remain in the U.K. after graduation? Has Brexit altered their perception of the U.K. and London’s openness to international students? What alternatives would they have considered in more detail had they had the chance to go back?

He will also speak with international student recruiting offices at the three schools in order to investigate their responses to the Brexit referendum and how they plan on recruiting Chinese students going forward. This project will allow him to collect responses from one of the centers of international student activity in the world, and analyze how push and pull migration factors are qualitatively changed by an exogenous political shock.

More Information about the Quandt Fund

Department of Politics Diversity Day 2015

Diversity Day 2015The Department of Politics hosted its first annual Diversity Visit Day on October 15th, 2015. Thirteen outstanding undergraduates and recent graduates from underrepresented groups spent the day at UVA, learning about graduate school in general and UVA’s Department of Politics, in particular.

Following breakfast with Dean Baucom, and Politics faculty, and current graduate students, the visiting students attended a panel entitled Political Science Graduate School: An Overview.  The panelists—Murad Idris (Political Theory), Robert Fatton (Comparative Politics), Paul Freedman (American Politics, Political Methodology), and Denise Walsh (Comparative Politics)—described what the future holds for them as political scientists in academia: time to read, time to think. The panel was divided on how much time is actually available.

The second panel, on Applying to and Paying for Graduate School sought to demystify the graduate school application process; the panelists offered strategies and tactics for the application process, and explained how to offset costs with scholarships and grants— including those from the Jefferson Fellowship program at UVA.  The panel included Keisha John, Jen Rubenstein, Lynn Sanders, and Herman Schwartz. Dr. John said her current soapbox is showing how a graduate can complete her or his education without getting into significant debt. The visiting students were definitely paying attention.

Other events included a panel on Finding Mentors, Creating Community, Working Across Disciplines, individual and small group meetings with professors, Jon Kropko’s class in Advanced Topics in Multivariate Analysis, Sid Milkis’ class in American Political Development, a wrap-up session, and a party at Department Chair David Leblang’s house.

This year’s Diversity Day participants hailed from around the country, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Dallas, Richmond (VA) and New York City, among other places.

Anyone interested in applying for the 2016 Diversity Visit Day should e-mail Dr. Jennifer Rubenstein, Rubenstein@virginia.edu, and ask to be put on the mailing list to receive more information when it becomes available.

Life After Politics: A Near Life Experience

Life After Politics 2015Fifty students had their eyes opened when eight alums showed up to share what actually happens after you get a degree in politics. Professor Paul Freedman’s Life After Politics panel and speed mentoring activities showcased five post-degree alumni now in the worlds of journalism, law enforcement, non-profit advocacy, and the U.S. Senate staff.

Five panel members spoke about their efforts at life/work balance, though only Albert Kim, First Sergeant Arlington Police Department seems successful at this, including marathons and triathlons into his days. The two journalists Margaret Brennan and Katherine Faulders have chosen careers where politics are a major part of their coverage. They both emphasized how necessary it is to be available all the time, carrying several cellphones and other devices. Like the journalists who have to be hyper-responsive, Gabriel Noronha, Staff Assistant U.S. Senate also has a 24/7 workday. He recommends working on a presidential campaign, if you can find a place as an intern and don’t mind sleeping on the floor. Anna Scholl, Executive Director, ProgressVA & ProgressVA Education Fund, had a less stressful early career, but recommends just saying “Yes” to the menial work and smile as you do it—it will set you apart from those who don’t.

Speed mentoring works much like speed dating, except each alum migrates from a circle of students to a circle of students. At this level of interaction the students get close exposure to ask specific questions and get an immediate response at a personal level. Alumni gain by adding potential employees, associates, and peers to their networks, as well as giving back to the University on a fundamental level. In addition to the panel members, Haley Anderson, Speech and Language Pathology, Jennifer Clarke, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Cameron Kilberg, Attorney and Entrepreneur participated in speed mentoring.

Life After Politics was sponsored and hosted by the Career Center in conjunction with the Department of Politics. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for an announcement of next year’s event and other thought-provoking seminars.