PLS & IR Newsletter Summer 2011
GVSU Political Science and International Relations Newsletter, Volume One, Issue One, Summer 2011
Dear Friend of GVSU Political Science and International Relations,
It is my great pleasure to bring you the inaugural issue of our newsletter. Our alumni, students and faculty have been accomplishing great things in the community and around the globe. The faculty would love to hear about you, and we hope this newsletter will inspire you to reconnect with us. Enjoy!
I would like to thank all the faculty, alumni and students who contributed information. A special thank you goes out to Professors Paul Cornish and Michelle Miller-Adams for their work on the newsletter.
Mark Richards, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science
GVSU PLS and IR alumni are excelling in diverse careers. Our graduates can be found in city, state, and federal government; graduate and law school; nonprofit organizations; and businesses. Some have chosen to live or work abroad, while others are in Washington, DC, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and communities throughout the United States. PLS and IR alums can be found at Google, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the United Way. And while this is not a typical path, Josh Lewis was recently named the co-host of a new reality show on Spike TV.
This issue of the newsletter includes profiles of graduates who exemplify some of the achievements of our alumni. We have also set up a private facebook group for GVSU’s PLS and IR Alumni. This is an excellent way to stay in touch with your colleagues and make new connections.
Distinguished Alumnus in Residence
We were honored to host Dr. James Meernik for the CLAS Distinguished Alumni in Residence event in fall 2010. He graduated from Grand Valley State College in 1985 with a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology.
Dr. James Meernik is currently Professor of Political Science and Acting Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School at the University of North Texas. Previously, he was Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, Chair of the Department of Political Science from 2002-2008, and Chair of the UNT Chairs Council from 2005-2008. Dr. Meernik specializes in research on post conflict peace building with an emphasis on the role of transitional justice and international law. From 2003-2008 he was Associate editor of the journal, International Studies Quarterly. He has published lots of articles and books on these topics. He co-lead (with his wife and fellow political science faculty member, Kimi King) a UNT Study Abroad Program to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia that won the 2007 American Political Science award for the most innovative course in the US. He has conducted research in The Hague, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Arusha, Tanzania on traditional justice issues. Dr. Meernik was on a Fulbright to the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM) in May, 2009 to teach a course on post-conflict peace building and further ties between UNT and UAEM. He was an American Council on Education Fellow in the 2009-2010 class and did his internship at Iowa State University.
Alan Dunklow graduated in 2007 with a Political Science degree. After graduation he joined Teach For America in Baltimore and earned a Master's in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. Now he is at the University of Maryland School of Law. Alan is working this summer for Project HEAL at Kennedy Krieger Institute, a medical-legal partnership that advocates for students with disabilities and their families.
Megan Koops Fisher
Megan Koops Fisher (pictured right) graduated in 2007 with a BA in Political Science. After graduation she completed her MPA at GVSU with an emphasis in Nonprofit Administration. Currently she is the Allegan County Great Start Collaborative Director. The Allegan County Great Start Collaborative is a partnership of local professionals and parents who are committed to setting up and maintaining an early childhood system that will address a child's readiness for school, work and life.
Amanda Fortino earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from GVSU in 2004 in Political Science with a minor in Writing. She is currently working in Los Angeles for PETA as a Major Gifts Officer in the Development Department. She started with them in 2009 as a Campaign Coordinator focusing on Animals in Entertainment in PETA's International Grassroots Campaign Department.
Robert Jenkins graduated in 2004 with a B.S. in Political Science and a minor in History. He was the Student Bar Association President at Northern Illinois University College of Law and graduated with with a J.D. 2007. Since April of 2008 he has worked for the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Michigan as Assistant Attorney General in the Licensing & Regulation Division.
Kristin Kolehouse graduated from GVSU in 2008 with dual degrees in Political Science and English Language and Literature. She lives in Chicago where she works as an editor for a tax consulting firm. She also remains involved in Michigan politics, doing policy research and copyediting for 2012 Michigan Senatorial candidate Randy Hekman.
Josh Lewis graduted from GVSU in 2008 with a BS. He completed a Baker College MBA in 2010. He is currently the co-host of Repo Games on Spike TV.
Eric Luegraduated in 2008 with a degree in History and minors in Political Science and English. After graduating she spent a year working for the Michigan State Legislature as a Legislative Aide for two State Representatives. She is currently a Masters student at the George Washington University and an intern for Congressman Gary C. Peters (MI-09). Her future plans include acceptance into a PhD program in either American Studies or History.
Amanda Miralrio graduated in 2008 with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Latin American Studies. She went on to receive a Master’s degree in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies from the George Washington University, graduating in 2011. During her time in Washington, Amanda has worked at the Elliott School of International Affairs and completed internships at the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress and the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the US Department of Treasury. Her internship recently led to a full-time position as a Compliance Officer at the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Meaghann Myers graduated with a B.A. in International Relations in 2002 and immediately started working for GVSU's Padnos International Center as a study abroad advisor. Nine years and one Master’s degree in higher education later, she is still there, greatly enjoying her job of sending GVSU students off to find their destiny.
Reggie Oates graduated in 2005 with a major in political science. After a year of classes with the School of Public and Nonprofit Administration at GVSU, Reggie got a fellowship to study in Germany at the University of Leipzig. In 2008 he came back to the states and finished a Master in Public Administration at Arizona State. His focus is applied research and statistics, and he is now the primary program evaluator for eight groups receiving federal grants in the Phoenix area.
Jared Reene, after graduating in 2006 with a BA, went to Iraq as an interpreter, graduated with a Master's in International Affairs from George Washington University, and now works for the Department of Defense.
Matt Spayth completed a BS in Political Science in 2008 and recently graduated from Rutgers University with a Masters of Public Policy. He writes that “attending graduate school was one of the best decisions I ever made. In addition, I believe that GVSU greatly prepared me for graduate school.” Matt is working as a State Budget Specialist for the New Jersey Office of Management and Budget.
Alexis Stanczuk graduated in 2010 with a degree in Political Science. During her time at GVSU, she did an internship with Senator Debbie Stabenow. She now has a permanent job in Senator Stabenow's DC office.
Dezarae Strong graduated in 2009 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Spanish, joining the Air Force Reserves after graduation. After completing her training, she was assigned to Andrews AFB in Washington DC where she drills one weekend a month. She was selected to be on voluntary orders at the Pentagon as an Executive Assistant to the Assistant Undersecretary of the Air Force Acquisition, Chief Acquisition Excellence and Change Office. She now works for Senator Ron Johnson as Executive Assistant to his Chief of Staff.
Charlie Terrell graduated in 2009 with a BS in Political Science. After graduating he moved to Washington D.C. where he works as a Program Specialist for the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA). NASWA is an organization of state administrators of unemployment insurance laws, employment services, training programs, employment statistics and labor market information and other programs and services provided through the publicly-funded state workforce system. Charlie is also the Social Media manager for NASWA.
Aing-On Thammarattananon graduated in 2010 with a major in IR and a minor in International Business. After graduation, she worked as an intern at the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington D.C., where she was then hired as administrative staff in the political section of the Embassy. Her job primarily entails research on U.S. policy, drafting diplomatic cables, and scheduling for embassy officials.
Bret Totaraitis graduated in 2001 with a B.A. in Political Science. He currently works for the Office of Attorney General of the State of Michigan as an Assistant Attorney General.
Andrew Wilson graduated with a BS in Political Science in 2006, and from Tufts University with a Masters Degree in Public Health in 2011. While in gradiate school, he also worked as a senior research analyst at the Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts. He plans to begin a Ph.D. program in the fall at Brandeis University's Heller School of Social Policy, where he has been awarded a fellowship.
Endrit Yzeiraj graduated in 2007 with double major in Political Science and Economics, and then studied economics at the University of Warwick in England for an MSc degree. He is currently working at the Albanian Central Bank.
For more profiles, or to post your own, join our facebook group for GVSU’s PLS and IR Alumni. To connect with alumni in your area, participate in alumni events or network with alumni around the globe, visit the GVSU alumni relations site.
Awards and Honors
Kendall Van Ameyde (Political Science) and Shawn Wooster (International Relations) were chosen as our outstanding students for the 2010-2011 academic year. Both students have a 4.0 GPA.
John Rood, a double major in Political Science and Philosophy, was one of four GVSU students named as Gilman Scholars for the Winter 2011 semester. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute for International Education, offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. John will study in India.
Political Science major Alexandra Spurlock has been awarded a $10,000 Barbara Padnos International Scholarship. She will use the scholarship to spend the next academic year attending the School of Russian and Asian Studies Russian as a Second Language program in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Political Science and Women and Gender Studies major Kirsten Zeiter was selected as a delegate for the Commission on the Status of Women meetings held at the United Nations.
Political Science major Ross Valore was awarded the Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship. Ross is a dual major in Political Science and Philosophy and a member of The Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society. He is interning this summer in Washington, D.C. for Potomac Strategic Development CO. LLC.
Midwest Model European Union
While most students were busy finishing their writing assignments and studying for final exams during the last few weeks of the semester, twenty-two Grand Valley students were preparing to take on the additional roles of EU officials and European government ministers at the Midwest Model European Union. GVSU represented Belgium, Hungary, and the United Kingdom at the international political simulation. Political science and international relations majors are joined this year by students from several other departments and from the Honors College. Our delegations included exchange students from France, Hungary, and Poland. About 150 students from ten universities participated in the simulation, which is held annually at Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis. Students attending the Model EU were enrolled in PLS 321, The European Union, taught by Prof. John Constantelos.
Our faculty have published a range of journal articles, books, and book chapters. The list below contains recent examples of prominent work done by our faculty. GVSU faculty names are in bold.
John Constantelos. “Playing the Field: Federalism and the Politics of Venue Shopping in the United States and Canada.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 40:3 (2010).
Paul Cornish. “Augustine’s Contribution to the Republican Tradition.” European Journal of Political Theory 9 (2010).
Kevin den Dulk. The Disappearing God Gap? Religion and the 2008 Elections. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 2010. Co-authors: Corwin Smidt, Bryan Froehle, James Penning, Stephen Monsma, and Douglas Koopman.
Kevin den Dulk. Religion and Politics in America: Faith, Culture, and Strategic Choices, Fourth edition. Boulder: Westview Press (2010). Co-authors: Robert Booth Fowler, Allen D. Hertzke, and Laura R. Olson.
Polly Diven. “U.S. AIDS Policy in Africa: Balancing Competing Interests in PEPFAR Policy-Making,” in Africa and the New World Era, Jacques Mangala, ed. Palgrave MacMillan (2010).
Gamal Gasim. "Reflecting on Sudan’s Higher Education Revolution under Al-Bashir’s Regime." Comparative & International Higher Education 2 (2010): 50-53.
H. Whitt Kilburn. "Survey Research" in 21st Century Handbook of Political Science, John Ishiyama and Marijke Breuning, eds. New York: Sage Publications (2010).
Erika G. King and Robert A. Wells, Framing the Iraq War Endgame: War’s Denouement in an Age of Terror. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Jaques Mangala, ed. Africa and the New World Era: From Humanitarianism to a Strategic View, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, December 2010.
Jaques Mangala, ed. New Security Threats and Crises in Africa: Regional and International Perspectives, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, December 2010.
Michelle Miller-Adams. The Power of a Promise: Education and Economic Renewal in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo, MI: The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research (2009).
Herbert M. Kritzer and Mark J. Richards. "Taking and Testing Jurisprudential Regimes Seriously." Journal of Politics 72(2) (2010): 285-288.
Laura Schneider. “Speak Up! Oral Examinations and Political Science.” The Journal of Political Science Education, 5(4) (2009): 315-331. Co-authored with Melissa Buehler.
Heather Tafel. “Regime Change and the Federal Gamble: Negotiating Federal Institutions in Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Spain.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism, forthcoming.
Darren Walhof. “Beyond Disentanglement: the Politics of Reconstructing Religion and Superstition in Calvin’s Geneva.” Il Pensiero Politico 43.3 (2010).
Thomas Walker. "The Perils of Paradigm Mentalities: Revisiting Kuhn, Lakatos, and Popper." Perspectives on Politics 8/2 (2010): 411-431.
David L. Rousseau and Thomas Walker. "Liberalism," in The Routledge Handbook of Security Studies, Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Victor Mauer, eds. London: Routledge (2010).
Donald Zinman. Chapters on President Ulysses S. Grant and President Martin Van Buren in Chronology of the U.S. Presidency (working title), Matthew Manweller, ed. Greenwood Press, forthcoming.
LECTURES AND EVENTS
Joseph Stevens Freedom Endowment
The Joseph Stevens Freedom Endowment was set up to fund lectures related to human rights and freedom, in honor of Joseph Stevens, a WWII hero who worked to promote education about the Nazi holocaust. During the 2010-2011 academic year, the department was able to sponsor or co-sponsor the following events, among others:
GVSU Amnesty International lecture, "The Truth that wasn't There" by Guy Gunaratne, filmmaker of a documentary on the aftermath of the civil war in Sri Lanka.
Keynote lecture by Oscar Torres for Latin American Studies Film Festival. Torres was the screenwriter of Voces Inocentes. The semi-autobiographical film, set in El Salvador in the mid-1980s, follows the drama of a young boy who must choose between enlisting in the Salvadoran army or joining up with a band of guerrillas.
William Baum Endowment
The William Baum Endowment was established to support classical music and political speakers, to honor Professor Baum's passion for both subjects. In the 2010-2011 academic year, the department was able to sponsor or co-sponsor the following events, among others:
Piano recital by Claire Aebersold & Ralph Neiweem.
"Arab Voices" lecture by Dr. James Zogby.
Keynote Lecture by Dr. Doris Sommer of Harvard University for Latin American Studies Conference on the Americas.
We are pleased to co-sponsor the fall 2011 lecture of reknowned political philosopher Dr. Michael Sandel of Harvard University. Dr. Sandel's lecture is part of the Fall Arts Celebration.
If you are interested in giving to GVSU Political Science and International Relations, you may designate a gift to one of our four funds. You are also welcome to make a donation to GVSU or any of GVSU's designated funds.
William Baum Endowment
See immediately above.
Joseph Stevens Endowment
See immediately above.
John T. Batchelder Political Science Endowment
Established by the family of John T. Batchelder in his memory and to honor his service as a professor at Grand Valley. The scholarship benefits deserving majors in Political Science.
Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship
Started in 1996 by the Paul B. Henry Foundation to assist with expenses of political science students doing semester long internships in Washington, D.C.
To give to GVSU via the method of your choice, please visit:
GVSU's Political Science and International Relations programs thank you for your continued support.
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Page last modified July 18, 2011