Political Science in Washington, 2013

As part of the University Honors Program political science course “Law, Politics and the Supreme Court,” students and Political Science Associate Professor Joe Kobylka are spending spring break 2013 in Washington, D.C. The students are conducting research on Supreme Court cases at the Library of Congress.

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Keeping the momentum going

An update from Katelyn, a sophomore majoring in journalism, Spanish and political science, and conducting research on the Supreme Court’s opinions on student rights:

It’s now Saturday evening, and as I sit 30,000 feet in the air on my flight back to Dallas, I finally have time to reflect on my whirlwind experience in Washington, D.C.

When we came to D.C. early Monday morning, I couldn’t conceptualize what it was I was about to do. I knew two things: (1) I had research to conduct in the justices’ papers in the Library of Congress, and (2) my Spring Break was going to be unlike any other.

I knew I was in for a great experience, but I really could never expect the extent I would bond with my classmates and grow intellectually.

Thank you to the Richter Foundation and Professor Kobylka for the incredible opportunity to do something few undergraduates anywhere are able to do. I am so grateful that we, the 13 “homies” of PLSC 3330, had the chance to conduct individual research in primary sources under the guidance of an expert, insightful professor, and patient mentor.

Before this class, I had never used a library finding aid and didn’t know what the papers of the justices contained. Now, after roughly 40 hours in the Library of Congress, I can comfortably call myself competent in both areas.

The six days we spent in D.C. went far too quickly. The days slipped away in the midst of digging through folders in the Library, slurping milkshakes in the evenings, and going on coffee runs for extra momentum.

And we need that momentum to keep going. Our experience doesn’t end when we land in Dallas. We still have documents to sift through, hypotheses to analyze, and answers to find.

But I think after six fantastic, busy days in D.C., it’s time for a quick nap. Luckily, I have two more hours left in the flight. From the Capitol to the Hilltop, this is one trip I’ll be dreaming about.

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