Summer 2019 Archive
From June 1-6, two Texas State students – political science seniors Marie Lopez and Jazmin Pantoja - attended the NEW Leadership Texas Summer Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. This six-day conference was sponsored by UT's Center for Women's & Gender Studies to encourage undergraduate women to become effective leaders in the political field. 38 undergraduate women, from universities throughout Texas including Southwestern, TCU, UTSA, and St. Edward’s attended. Students heard from a variety of women in public policy including elected officials, community leaders, and issue advocates. Students were also taken on field trips to the Texas state capitol and Austin City Hall, and participated in workshops focusing on public speaking, conflict resolution, networking, and advocacy training.
“My favorite part of the program,” Lopez observed, “was the ‘Introduction to Women and Politics’ presentation because of the startling statistics it provided about women acquiring positions in politics and the role of confidence in running for office.” Pantoja added that "NEW Leadership Texas changed my perspective and empowered me to be open to taking risks to gain experience and to accomplish my goals in life,” Jazmin continued, it’s important “now, more than ever, for female voices to be present in our political system and this conference inspired me to consider being one of those voices”
Political science senior Preston Nieves attended “The Tale of Five Cities,” a conference hosted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Montgomery, AL from June 2-6, 2019. The conference explored the legal, political, and cultural traditions that shaped the United States. Based on Russell Kirk’s book, The Roots of the American Order, the theme of the conference was centered around how five cities (Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia) impacted the trajectory of American political thought. Speakers at the conference included Daniel Dreisbach (American University) and Chief Justice Tom Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court. The conference was attended by students from a wide variety of universities including Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Austin.
On June 24-28, political science graduate student Julio Rodriguez attended the American Public Philosophy Institute’s second annual Summer Seminar at the University of Dallas. Led by Dr. Christopher Wolfe of the University of Dallas and Dr. James Stoner of Louisiana State University, the seminar focused on the idea of natural law and its role in the American Founding and possible contribution to American public philosophy. Students from a variety of colleges and universities including Texas A&M, Notre Dame, the University of Florida, and St. John’s participated. Rodriquez noted that the conversations about natural law highlighted the idea of “human dignity" and “the generality” of natural law principles. Knowledge of these general principles was insufficient and had to be supplemented by “study and experience” Prudence was necessary to translate these principles into practice, and to seek in applying them it was necessary “to respect others, have humility regarding our own opinion, have the willingness to exchange views with others, and be open-minded.”
June 27-30, the Texas City Management Association (TCMA) held its annual conference in Fort Worth, TX. Universities from across the state, such as the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Austin, A&M University, and St. Mary’s University, were in attendance. Texas State public administration students included undergraduates Breanna Higgins, Keyshawn Clark, and James Regan as well as MPA students Samantha Martinez, Carlos Lamkin, Immanuel Tan, Nick Funari, and Desiree Adair.
Among the events, students were asked to prepare a research presentation on the topic of “homelessness”, a subject with which many cities across Texas are currently struggling. Texas State’s presentation placed 3rd. “The environment was open-minded, collaborative and constructive,” Immanuel Tan said, “with an end goal to collectively grow as public administrators.”
Students were also given the opportunity to meet and network with professionals throughout Texas including Spencer Cronk, City Manager for Austin, TX, Kenneth R. Williams, City Manager for Buda, TX, and Scott Sellers and James Earp, City Managers for Kyle, TX. “The TCMA conference was educational, inspirational and a breath of fresh air,” Immanuel added, “I encourage you to join the next TCMA conference, as I am confident that you will grow personally and professionally!”
On July 10th, Texas State MPA students and faculty had the opportunity to tour the city of Georgetown's new city hall and municipal facilities courtesy of the Urban Management Assistants of Central Texas (UMACT) "Lunch and Learn". MPA student Samantha Martinez noted, "the buildings were designed beautifully with great workspace for both their staff and citizens. They really planned this with the mindset of future growth."
The UMACT meeting also provided an opportunity to meet with city administrators from Cedar Park, Georgetown, Rockdale, and Pflugerville. Jackson Daly, the assistant to the city manager of Georgetown, showed a presentation outlining the planning process for Georgetown’s new city hall building and several other redevelopment projects. Dr. Marc Wallace, associate professor of practice in the Department of Political Science added, "the meeting was educational from many perspectives. Attendees learned about Georgetown's decision to balance construction costs, functionality, and longevity while creating a walkable museum throughout each government building for its residents. If I lived in Georgetown, I would visit the government buildings to see the constant rotation of art exhibits, rather than relying on E-government for my transactions."