The Semester Highlights, Part II.
Forewarning, get ready for a lot of pictures. I mean, a lot of pictures. Since I did my first round-up for the semester a few weeks ago, roughly a dozen other fun events and activities happened and it seems most appropriate to document them now, as yesterday was the last day of the semester. Here, in picture-form, is a brief overview of the exciting things that rounded out the end of our semester.
Indiana Auditor Suzanne Crouch spoke to my Women in Politics class at the beginning of April. Her campaign ads remain among my absolute favorite, with the clever use of her trademark red glasses (you can watch one of her tv spots here). Later, as a surprise guest on our last day, my State and Local Government class listened to former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. It is so wonderful to get to learn about government from the people who actually work within it and I love how students are able to connect the principles we learn in class with the real issues described by our guest speakers. I am grateful that both Auditor Crouch and Mayor Ballard were so generous with their time as to visit the classes and just seeing the students' reactions and engagements with them is a fantastic part of my job.
My colleagues and I participated in "Know Your Candidates" event hosted by our amazing student group, the Janus Club, at the beginning of April. We discussed all of the big races for our upcoming primary at the federal and state level and also talked about the voter registration process. I think we enjoyed talking about the candidates and issues about as much as the students liked learning about them so it was a win-win.
One of my outstanding seniors presented her original research at the Midwest Political Science Association's annual conference in Chicago. It is the largest regional conference in the discipline and can often be intimidating for even faculty members but my student handled the presentation with poise and confidence. As you can tell by how hard I am "cheesing it" in this pic, I was very proud.
Trump held a rally at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds and so some of my colleagues and our students got together to watch the Republican frontrunner himself speak about what he will do for Indiana voters. WTHR actually did a news story about our students watching the speech (you can see it here). Afterwards, we all discussed the rhetoric and content of Trump's speech and the likelihood that he would appeal to enough Hoosier voters to clench the state's primary. It was great to hear students' perspectives about the candidates and also see them applying Political Science concepts to the campaigns.
Sunny days and blue skies lured our classes to meet outside and enjoy vigorous discussions about Supreme Court confirmations in my American National Government (left) and the impact of institutional vs. socialized gender barriers on diverse representation in my Women in Politics class (right). There is truly nothing more invigorating than intellectual debate on Smith Mall or the Portico of Good Hall during the beautiful early days of Spring.
Our department celebrated all of our amazing students for our end-of-the-year celebration. The end of the semester is always bittersweet, because while I am sad to lose some of the most wonderful Seniors I have had the opportunity to teach, I am also so proud of what they have accomplished and what they will continue to do. Thankfully we have an amazing group of underclassmen who will no doubt be incredible in their own right as well.
What a great way to (almost) end the school year! Now just final exams and graduation remain!