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ACU political science, criminal justice students earn honors, scholarships


Bryson Frank, Soo Bin Im at the European Union Conference in California

Students in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at Abilene Christian University have earned prestigious recognition in the 2023-24 school year.

“Our students explore why terrorism happens and how to stop it. Our students explore how trade can increase between Europe and South America. Our students study the challenges and dangers of the China-United States competition,” said Dr. Neal Coates, chair of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. “In short, our majors are learning, interning and researching as they prepare for public service and leadership in a wide variety of professional positions and graduate school opportunities.”

Students have earned accolades, prestigious scholarships and debate and oratorical honors this year:

  • Erin Hodgson (’24) was selected by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program as a Fulbright grantee for 2024-25 and will serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Germany. 
  • Hodgson’s article on “The Alternative for Germany: A Chimeric Identity in an Era of Rising Nationalism,” was published in the Journal of Undergraduate International Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Tamil Adele, junior criminal justice major from Midland, was named a Sumners At-Large Scholar and will receive a $30,000 scholarship for her studies at ACU.  
  • Bryson Frank, a senior political science major from Plano; Soo Bin Im (’24); and Alyssa Powell (’24) presented at the Undergraduate Research Conference on the European Union in California in April 2024 on “The Race to Invest: What Is the Driving Cause of the European Union’s Increased Involvement in Latin America?” Their paper was selected as one of the top eight conference papers and will be published by the Claremont-UC Undergraduate Research Conference Journal on the European Union.   
  • Frank was selected as one of two of the conference’s best presenters and won the grand prize, a fully funded two-week-long 2024 summer school program hosted by the European Union.  
  • Hannah Maniscalo (’24) won the first place in the undergraduate research competition for her presentation on “The Pandemic and Terrorism: A Comparative Study of Terrorist Narratives during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” at the 16th annual Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa Conference in Washington, D.C., in November 2023.  
  • Maniscalo, along with Dr. Candice Ortbals-Wiser, professor of political science, published research on “First Ladies and Fashion Double-Binds” in The Palgrave Handbook of Politics and Fashion.
  • Emily Pablico, senior political science major from McKinney, won the Battle of Flowers Oratorical Competition with her speech on “A Marriage of Equals: Tradition and Modernism in O’Neil Ford’s Little Chapel-in-the-Woods,” in San Antonio in February 2024. 
  • Stephanie Newberry (’24) won fifth place in the Battle of the Flowers competition with her presentation on “El Paso High School: The Timeless Lady on the Hill.” 

“I am proud of these students, as they have competed and won on a national stage, and I’m grateful for ACU’s support of undergraduate research and its ability to fund student trips to conferences all over the country,” Ortbals-Wiser said. “This helps prepare them to apply for major scholarships such as Fulbright and Truman.”

Learn more about ACU’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice.

— Vivian Banegas
June 14, 2024

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