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Department of Political Science

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College of Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony

On April 24th the College of Liberal Arts hosted their annual Awards Ceremony to honor students for their excellence in academics and character. The Department of Political Science was well represented.

Todd McDonald received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award and Angela Estrada received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

Holly Doyle received the Richard B. Henderson Award which is awarded for academic excellence and character in the tradition of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Henderson.

Whitney Abshier and Holly Doyle received the Howard M. "Prof' Greene Award which is awarded for academic excellence in honor of a political mentor to Lyndon B. Johnson and many Other Texas State alumni.

Tajudeen Basiru, Bianca Beronio, Kayla Joseph, and Abigail Trahan received the Barney and Linda Knight Scholarship which is awarded to students majoring in Political Science or Business who have persevered in the face of adversity, overcome financial challenges, and demonstrated academic success.

Todd McDonald received the James H. McCrocklin Scholarship.

 Todd McDonald received the Dan Farlow Scholarship.

Lilly Woldenhawariat received the John and Charlotte Sharp Scholarship.

Corey Pohlmeyer received the Walter Richter Scholarship.

Academic Excellence Certificate Recipients:



award ceremony pic


Alumni Night

The department’s annual “Alumni Night” event took place on Thursday, April 20th, four alumni from the department advised students on success in jobs and careers.  The alumni were Will Conley, Hays County Commissioner; Ashley Wersterfer, Legal Assistant to the General Counsel, Texas State University system; Cari Gray, a faculty member at New Braunfels High School where she teaches dual credit U.S. Government courses and Advanced Placement, U.S. History classes; and Alexandra Manning, Vice President of Natural Resources Solutions. The alumni shared their experiences and  offered advice on subjects such as preparing for interviews and office etiquette . Afterwards, students, faculty, and the speakers enjoyed pizza and other refreshments. 

alumni night 2017


Inklings Roundtable on the Middle East

Dr. Tajalli

On Thursday, April 20th, Drs. Arnold Leder and Hassan Tajalli shared their views on the internal politics of Iran, Turkey, Israel’s relations with other states in the Middle East and America’s important role in the region. Their presentations were followed by questions and discussion among the department’s faculty and graduate students. Entitled “The Middle East: America, Iran, Turkey, Israel, & Beyond,” the roundtable was moderated by Dr. Robert Gorman.

The department’s “Inklings” gatherings for faculty and graduate students are in their seventeenth year.  They take their name from a small group of intellectuals (whose ranks included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S Lewis) who met weekly at Oxford University in the early and middle decades of the 20th century to read aloud and discuss their works in progress.

Dr. Leder


Texas State at Emory Model UN

group moas

The Political Science Department's Model United Nations (MUN) program sent students to participate in Model United Nations Emory (MUNE) competition in Atlanta, Georgia from                March 30th – April 2nd, 2017.  Other institutions competing in the MUNE, included Florida State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. Texas State’s delegation consisted of Julia Huerta, John Espinosa, Ana Flores, Sheldon Galipp, Dustin Nichols, Christian Sears, and Cassandra Macias, as well as faculty advisor, Prof. Ben Arnold.  Texas State can be proud of these students’ efforts, as they each represented the Political Science Department and our University in an exemplary manner.

Guest speaker Dr. James R. Stoner presented by Discourse in Democracy

Dr. James R. Stoner, Jr., the Herman Moyse, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University, visited Texas State on Friday, April 7th to deliver a talk on “What Donald Trump Understands about the Presidency.” His 45-minute talk sought to situate the presidency of Donald Trump historically and to analyze it in terms of various theoretical models about the presidency. The talk was followed by another 45 minutes of questions and discussion. A wisely published scholar in the area of American constitutionalism, Dr. Stoner’s books include Common Law and Liberal Theory: Coke, Hobbes and the Origins of American Constitutionalism (University of Kansas Press, 1992) and Common-Law Liberty: Rethinking American Constitutionalism (University of Kansas Press, 2003).



Outstanding Career Achievement award

shields award
Dr. Anderson and Dr. Shields

On Friday, March 24, 2017, Dr. Patricia Shields was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Career Achievement award from the Women and Gender Research Collaborative, at their Century of Conflict: Dialogues on Women, Gender Intersectionality and Militarism 2017 symposium. Dr. Patricia Shields also delivered the morning keynote address at the Women and Gender Research Collaborative conference. The presentation “Jane Addams’s Peaceweaving:  A Feminist Response to Paternalism, Militarism, and World War I” explored Jane Addams’ role in the women’s peace movement during WWI. Addams was the first American women to win the Nobel Peace Prize.



LBJ Museum of San Marcos’ Annual Spring Lecture Series

Richard Kidd

On March 30th, a crowd of over fifty people attended a showing of Richard Kidd’s documentary on the true story of Texas Ranger John "Jack" Coffee Hays, followed by a Q&A session with Kidd. The title of the documentary is "Captain Jack, The Story of John Coffee Hays." The event was part of the LBJ Museum of San Marcos’ annual Spring Lecture Series and was co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

Inklings Talk & Gathering


On Thursday, March 9th Dr. Ashleen Menchaca-Bagnulo shared part of her work on Machiavelli with Political Science faculty and graduate students at an Inklings gathering. Entitled "Don’t Devour the Republic: The Role of 'Humility' in Machiavelli’s Founder," the talk explored ideas of humility, civic republicanism and tyranny in Machiavelli's thought. Her presentation, was followed by a stimulating exchange of ideas and views among our faculty and graduate students.

The department’s “Inklings” gatherings take their name from a small group of intellectuals who met weekly at Oxford University in the early and middle decades of the 20th century to read aloud and discuss their works in progress.

The Spring 2017 Political Science Film Series

The Spring 2017 Political Science film Series featured “The Conscientious Objector” (2004), directed and co-written by Terry Benedict.  The documentary explores the life of Desmond Doss, a US Army medic who was the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.   Seventy five students attended the March 1st event in the Alkek Teaching Theater in conjunction with the 2016-2017 Common Experience, “A Century of Conflict:  Dialogues on the U.S. Experience of War since 1917. 

Movie Conscientious objector


Model Arab League

On February 18th and 19th, five Political Science majors -- Brittlin Richardson, Madeline Machlab, Sarah Marshall, Keeley Dorman and Devin Barrett --  took part in Model Arab League activities at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. In this year's regional competition, Sarah Marshall received the "Outstanding Chair" honor for her role as chair of the council on Palestinian Affairs and Keeley Dorman was awarded the "Outstanding Delegation" for work done on the joint defense council. We are proud of their accomplishments and wish them the best of luck as they prepare for the national competition at the end of March.

Texas State at SCONA

scona group pic

Richard Pastore, Millie Saroha, and Kara Rekemeyer represented the department at the 62nd annual Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA) at Texas A&M University from February 16-18, 2017. The students attended presentations from national security policymakers and analysts including Admiral Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command; Islamic scholar, author, and former radical Dr. Tawfik Hamid; and Dr. Charles McMillan, Director of Los Alamos National Laboratories. Additionally, each student worked in a theme-based group over the three days of the conference to develop a policy to advance national security. Millie Saroha’s group explored the news media and the rise of fake news. Richard Pastore’s group focused on economic warfare, regulation of the financial industry, and cybersecurity. Kara Rekemeyer’s group examined immigration. Pastore and Rekemeyer were chosen to present their group’s proposal.

First Visiting Scholar from the Autonomous University of Zacatecas (MEXICO)

Visiting scholars from mexico

During the first week of the Spring 2017 semester, the Department of Political Science hosted its first visiting scholar from the Autonomous University of Zacatecas (UAZ), a university located in Central Mexico.  Svetlana Maksymenko, a master’s degree student at UAZ, conducted research for her thesis at Texas State’s Alkek Library and also interviewed several professors in the Department of Political Science and other departments for assistance with her thesis.  During part of her visit to Texas State, Ms. Maksymenko was accompanied by Dr. Martín Beltrán Saucedo, a professor at the law school of the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, another university in Central Mexico.  Ms. Maksymenko was the first visiting scholar under a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding between Texas State and UAZ that is designed to promote scholarly and cultural exchanges between the two universities.

group pic of visiting scholars


Texas State Students at the Harvard Model UN

un group

The Political Science Department's new Model United Nations (MUN) program sent a delegation of a dozen students to participate in the Harvard National Model United Nations Competition in Boston from February 14th – 20th. Our students joined more than 2500 students from hundreds of institutions (including Columbia, Brown, Yale, and The United States Military Academy at West Point) and 70 countries around the world. The Texas State delegation consisted of: Carly Spangler, Katy Shull, Ethan Strickland, Bianca Beronio, Brian Delgado, Andrew Homann, Caroline Butler, Justice Mensah, Brandon Milligan, Bre Gilpin, Dominique Gray Berroa, and Lucy Stanley. We’re proud of the way they represented our department and Texas State!

Admiral Bobby Inman- "Inman's View of the World"


Admiral Bobby Inman, former Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of the CIA, spent an hour with Texas State University students on Wednesday, February 25. He spoke about threats to American security as well as challenges and opportunities. Then, he took the audience on an around-the-globe view of the problems in each region of the world. He took questions from the audience for about a half hour, responding thoughtfully and respectfully to each. After the event, he spend an additional half-hour interacting directly with students answering their questions and comments.

Audio of Lecture and Q&A

by Admiral Bobby Inman:

ABC News special correspondent and analyst Matthew Dowd visited Texas State

Matthew dowd
Matthew Dowd with Master in Public Administration student, JacQuitta Beeks

The Department of Political Science and the School of Journalism – Mass Communication welcomed Matthew Dowd, a special correspondent and analyst for ABC News, to campus on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Mr. Dowd, a well-known political commentator and strategist, addressed both American Government and Mass Communication classes about how political, economic, and social institutions respond in today's ever changing world. After the event, Mr. Dowd met with students and fielded questions on a variety of contemporary political topics.

Dr. Paul Kens Interviewed by the Associated Press on Gorsuch Nomination

Dr. Paul Kens

An Associated Press story on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court quoted Dr. Paul Kens. The article explores the history of the seat Judge Gorsuch has been nominated to fill, and quotes Dr. Kens on the seat’s first occupant Justice Stephen J. Field.

To read the Associated Press article please click this link:

Obama Legacy Conference

Many members of the department’s faculty joined scholars from around the country at a two day conference on “The Obama Legacy: Preliminary Perspectives” hosted by Texas State’s Center for International Studies on February 2-3, 2017. Departmental faculty who participated included Dr. Ted Hindson who spoke on America’s relationship with Russia and Europe; Drs. Paul Kens, Don Inbody, and Patricia Shields who addressed issues of law and national security; Dr. Omar Sanchez- Sibony who spoke about Mexico and Latin America; Dr. Howard Balanoff who discussed families and health; Dr. Robert Gorman who spoke about the Obama foreign policy legacy in Africa; Dr. Thomas Doyle who addressed nuclear weapons policy and the Middle East; Dr. Jeremy Wells who examined issues of war and peace; and Dr. Christopher Brown who discussed environmental policy. The keynote speakers were Jeremi Suri, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and H.W. Brands, Jack Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jeremi Suri
Keynote Speaker Jeremi Suri- Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs
University of Texas at Austin


First annual American History & Western Civilization Challenge Bowl

Hernandez competition
(Left) Miguel Carandang, Professor Rudy Hernandez, Molly Williams, (right) Evan Dominguez.

On January 27-28, 2017 Professor Rudy Hernandez brought a team of Texas State University Students to Houston, Texas to compete in the first annual American History & Western Civilization Challenge Bowl sponsored by The American Heritage Educational Foundation. Evan Dominguez, Miguel Carandang, and Molly Williams competed against Texas State against Houston Baptist University. Each Texas State student received a $500 scholarship from the foundation for their efforts. The students had a great educational experience and look forward to returning next year.

Transition in American Democracy Symposium

Dr. Ward and Dr. Faber at Inauguration Symposium

On January 20th, to commemorate the 2017 presidential inauguration, Texas State University sponsored a symposium entitled “Transitions in American Democracy.”  Two Political Science spoke at the event. Dr. Ken Ward spoke on the importance of inaugurations for the American political system.  He addressed different interpretations of the American founding, and the tensions between majoritarianism and republicanism.  Dr. Michael Faber discussed the election of 1800 and the resulting transfer of power from Adams and the Federalists to Jefferson and the Republicans.  This transition underscored the potential for inaugurations to have a healing effect after a contentious election.  The event also featured presentations by faculty from the Departments of History and Mass Communications, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. It was moderated by former Texas Secretary of State and Texas State alumnus, Geoff Connor.