An update from Brandon B., a third-year political science, history and English major who is conducting research on “swing Justices” on the Court:

After an abbreviated day of research on Saturday and a long stay at the airport, we made it back to D/FW airport about 9 that evening. The week really flew by, and I was digging through files at the library basically until we had to start packing up.

Considering the breadth of my research project, I knew that I likely would not get through everything I needed, but I was amazed at how much I did manage to see. All things considered, I probably ended up with significant qualitative data on over 50 Supreme Court cases (some of which I hadn’t even heard of before I came on the trip). Now begins the arduous task of assembling and analyzing all the copies and scans I made while at the LOC. I am heartened by the fact that Professor Kobylka so graciously gave us the week off class, but I also know I’ll be no less busy going through all my notes.

Though I can’t say that I was nervous about how awesome this trip would be or how great the group of people was accompanying me, my expectations were still surpassed. I was amazed not only by the sheer volume of data I uncovered, but also at how well everyone else in the class did with their research. I still remember the first time I went on this trip 2 years ago. This class was my first experience with the political science department at SMU, and since I was one of very few freshmen I didn’t know most of the upperclassmen in the seminar. I was so nervous about my research, and I was hardly the most outgoing person. However, on this trip I can’t say that anyone was as fearful as I was last time. Everyone got along so well, no one ever had a problem discussing their research with one another, and it truly felt like we were part of a scholarly conversation.

I know that both I and Professor Kobylka have been truly impressed by the passion of everyone in the class, and I know that everyone is going to write a stellar paper when the semester ends. I’m looking forward to meeting with everyone in class again next week so we can all finish out the semester strong.