The Social Science Scholars program has given me an opportunity as an undergraduate to release my own survey on a statewide level. As someone whose father recently was given the right to vote because of Amendment 4, having the opportunity to study its impact on the black community further is an enormous privilege. Helping him become more politically active has meant giving him his voice back, and being able to understand how Amendment 4 could empower larger groups of people is an extension of that. Because of the Social Science Scholars program, I have been given the tools to study a complex issue, and study it in a way that will empower my community. If a connection can be found between Amendment 4 and attitudes towards voting, a path for increasing black political participation as a whole can be found.
All of this has implications for democracy. While disinformation and polemics may stimulate a broader public conversation about social concerns such as gun violence, the relative incivility of these narratives which included polemics and insults are unlikely to increase users’ tolerance to individuals’ championing opposing perspectives—which is an important precursor to consensus-building . Conversely, fact-based narratives, particularly those discussing May’s mental health, could assist in consensus-building regarding health care in America. Even the personal narratives shared by students may help those holding opposing points of view regarding issues such as gun control better understand one another insofar as these stories can help individuals find areas of unanticipated agreement. Disinformation, in short, is bad for political conversation, political debate and deliberative processes.
This past summer, I worked on two different projects through Social Science Scholars. During the initial part of the summer, I worked on my Honors Thesis and IDEA grant research project in the region of Catalonia focused on the region’s declaration of independence. On the latter half of the summer, I became a Lex fellow…
My internship and broader experience within the Social Science Scholars program helped me gain a clearer focus on my plans post-graduation. I have decided to use my fourth and final year as an undergraduate at Florida State to fulfill requirements for dual degrees in Political Science and Spanish. I already intended to pursue a graduate degree, but some of my conversations with executive staff during my internship led me to reconsider my program of study, and to shift away from political science and toward data science. My ultimate goal is to work in either state or federal government, or as a researcher at a think tank, and to be able to use both my political science background and my data science skills to craft robust, empirically-derived public policy.
Frankly speaking, most students don’t want to take math classes. I’m sure most of my students can recall vowing to never take another math class again after their Algebra 2 finals in high school. Imagine their disappointment when they learned that my Social Statistics course was a requirement needed to earn their undergraduate sociology degree….
In short, we don’t have enough information to make a judgement on whether e-scooters make a net positive contribution to the Tallahassee community (or other similar places). Hopefully, the city of Tallahassee can use their current pilot program to carefully evaluate the safety and management issues and develop an understanding of who is using the scooter services and whether it is leading to a reduction in auto use.
As much as we push to maintain objectivity and distance, we study what we do because it matters and we hope to have an impact through our research.
ACT House has helped me realize my agency and the ability to fight the good fight. What I didn’t know, was that I had the agency before ever joining the ACT House, and so does everyone else.
In sum, the 2018-2019 academic year was a great one for the college. COSSPP’s 150+ faculty, 60+ staff, 4,700+ students, and almost 40,000 graduates remain committed to our mission of Engaging Today’s World, Producing Tomorrow’s Leaders.
Arguably, Trump will go down in history for his catch phrases and unconventional political use of Twitter. It is not clear, however, whether historians will be kind to him – or us – when they look back at our political discourse. The good news is that we can control how we engage in tough conversations, and that through this process of engagement we will learn more about ourselves.