July 23, 2012
USU students to attend national political conventions
Two USU students, Briana Bowen and Lindsay McBride, will represent USU at the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention, respectively. Both Bowen and McBride are in the Honors program at USU and were selected as a preparatory experience for applying for the prestigious Truman Scholarship, which focuses on public service.
“The seminar we'll attend as part of the experience combines lectures, tours and hands-on fieldwork assignments to inform students about various components that go into the presidential elections,” said McBride, who is also an Undergraduate Research Fellow.
“The national convention nominates the party's candidates for president and vice president,” said Bowen. “It is a great opportunity for the party to present its platform, spotlight its political stars and get the party revved up for elections. It is also a chance for the political party to enjoy primetime media attention for four days, and––hopefully as result––garner those critical election-winning votes of moderate Americans.”
Honors students who were interested to apply for the Truman Scholarship were encouraged to apply to attend the political convention. They were required to send letters to the director of the Honors program detailing why they wanted to attend, how the program would fit into their overall academic and professional goals and if they were involved in undergraduate research and how the program would supplement or expand their research.
Students were selected based on GPA, standing in Honors, relationship of the program to their academic and professional goals, understanding of current political field, involvement, as well as suitability for the Truman Scholarship.
“The students are going to be interacting with nationally recognized political figures while learning the inner workings of our political process,” said Amber Summers-Graham, Honors program coordinator.
The total costs of the program and housing are being equally supported by Honors, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the President's Office and the Provost's Office. The airfare is paid by the student’s individual departments.
“This will be a great experience for the students, especially since they will be in the center of the political process during a historic election year,” said Scott Bates, associate vice president for research. “The fact that they will be present for both President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s speeches is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, N.C. from Aug. 25-Sept. 27, while the Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Fla. from Aug. 27-30.
“At a time when capitalism is threatened by critics on the left and right, attending this convention will provide valuable political insight to my economics classes,” said McBride. “I am excited to attend the Republican National Convention, and I am honored that I will be able to represent Utah State University at such a prestigious event.”
“Having listened to my professors talk about their own personal experiences with national conventions, as well as having watched the televised coverage of past conventions, I am overwhelmed and thrilled to have the chance to experience a national convention firsthand,” said Bowen. “Thanks to the incredible support Utah State has given, this opportunity has transformed from a distant impossibility into a thrilling reality. I look forward to being able to use my experience to give back to the school and the next generation of Aggies.”
- Nadiah Johari