Political Science Student Achievements

April 25, 2013

Political Science department sophomore, Matthew Lillard, has received a full scholarship from the U.S. Army.

Congratulations to our students!

Celebrating our Seniors!!

March 11, 2013

The 2013 class of Political Science seniors has big plans for the future. Here is what some of our seniors will beĀ doing after graduation:

  • Maura Shirley has been accepted to the competitive Teach for America program. She will be working with childrenĀ in Atlanta.
  • Justin HarrisĀ has been accepted to the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s dual degree MBA/MHSA program. He is also getting married this summer.
  • Morgan Floyd will be returning to India for one year to manage the building of a hospital in Gujarat.
  • Devon Golden has been accepted to several terrific law schools: Chase (NKU- with scholarship), Louisville, and the University of Kentucky.
  • Molly Shoulta has received a full ride scholarship to Duke University’s School of Divinity.
  • Meredith Cave will be moving to L.A. to pursue a film career. She hopes to work in the faith-based film industry as an actor or production coordinator.
  • Carolyn Allen was accepted to law school at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.
  • Matthew Wingate will be attending law school at Northern Kentucky University.
  • Elizabeth Boeglen has been accepted to law school at Loyola University- New Orleans, Samford University, and the University of Louisville.

Congrats to all of our seniors, we wish you the best!

Former Death Row Inmate Gives Speech at Georgetown

December 12, 2012

Dr. Stephen Mergner, Chair of the Department of Political Science, worked with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty to bring Randy Steidl, an exonerated death row inmate, to speak at Georgetown College. Mr. Steidl came to campus on November 29 and spoke to students about his experiences with the legal system. An article on the event that appeared in The Georgetown News-Graphic follows:

Former death row inmate speaks with Georgetown College students about case, struggles

By Nancy Royden

Georgetown News-Graphic

Georgetown College students and others learned first-hand Thursday about the difficult experiences and struggles death row exoneree Randy Steidl faced.

“I went to trial in 97 days. By day 2, I realized I didn’t have a chance,” he said during a lecture.

Steidl was on death row for 17 years for a crime he did not commit. One veteran cop and a group of dedicated journalism students succeeded where the system failed, he told the students and others in the room.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty sponsored the lecture, and Dr. Stephen Mergner, chairman of the college’s department of political science, said the ACLU reached out to him about the possibility of Steidl’s visit.

Understanding how the legal system can work, or fail, should be an important facet of preparing the students for the careers they will have in a year, or a few years from now, Mergner said.

“It is the mission of Georgetown to prepare the future leaders of tomorrow. Our students will soon find themselves in the position of power that will necessitate them weighing their personal convictions against the realities of life. It is essential that they take this opportunity to witness firsthand the consequences of legal errors,” he said via e-mail.

Steidl, now president of the board of directors for Witness to Innocence, said he and his co-defendant were convicted for the 1986 murder of newlywed couple Dyke and Karen Rhoads in the small town of Paris, Ill. They maintained their innocence, but not until journalism students at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. became involved did the case receive proper review, Steidl said.

“I grew up trusting authority,” he said. “I had a rude awakening.”

Being on death row can be a terrifying experience. Steidl told the group, “You can’t sink any further than this.”

Going up and down an emotional roller coaster was a way of life, Steidl said.

Some of those who have been put to death through capital punishment were later discovered to have been innocent, he said.

“You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can’t release him from the grave,” Steidl said.

On the Witness to Innocence’s website, Steidl is pictured wearing a T-shirt stating he was “convicted and condemned by perjured testimony, fabricated evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, police coercion and rewards.”

After years of fighting for his freedom, Steidl said he has little faith in the justice system, but now works to help others gain liberty when it is appropriate.

“No human is perfect. Why people believe the judicial system is perfect is beyond me,” he said.

Once someone is set free from prison, life can be have other challenges he or she did not face previously.

“There’s no mental health care. There’s no job training. There’s nothing,” Steidl said.

The death penalty has no place in a civilized society, he said, and encouraged the students, “Whatever you do, do it with integrity.”

Kate Miller, of the ACLU of Kentucky, spoke with the students before Steidl’s lecture. She said if anyone wanted to sign a postcard that is being sent to Gov. Steve Beshear in favor of abolishing the death penalty, they were welcome to do so.

“We know so much more today about the death penalty than we did in 1976, when Kentucky reinstated it,” the postcard states. “More than three decades of experience reveals that it is a risky, arbitrary, unfair, ineffective and costly distraction from justice.”

The death penalty system is broken; that is why 17 states, including West Virginia, and just recently, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois and Connecticut have rejected capital punishment, the card continues.

Only weeks before Steidl’s visit to Georgetown College, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights called on state lawmakers to abolish the death penalty, and less than a year ago, a team of legal experts completed a 400-page report outlining the serious flaws within the commonwealth’s death penalty system, according to the ACLU of Kentucky.

Model United Nations Conference

November 21, 2012

On Nov. 17-20, students from Georgetown’s Model United Nations class attended the annual American Model United Nations conference in Chicago. Students participated in a 4 day simulation of the United Nations and practiced diplomacy on committees that researched topics such as disarmament, water rights, and food security, among others.


Political Science Professors Participate in Mock Presidential Debate

November 13, 2012

Dr. Melissa Scheier and Dr. Stephen Mergner of the Political Science Department participated in a mock presidential debate on October 23, 2012. The debate, held at Georgetown College, was sponsored by GAC and SGA. An article and photo from The Georgetonian follows.

SGA, GAC host mock Presidential debate



The Georgetonian/EVAN HARRELL
From left, Evan Jacoby, Hayden Summers, Megan Norris, Dr. Melissa Scheier, Meredith Scalos and Dr. Stephen Mergner.

The Student Government Association and the Georgetown Activities Council held a Mock Presidential Debate Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 in the John L. Hill Chapel at 11 a.m. The event was a Nexus credit, and it was in a style similar to a town hall format. The moderators were Megan Norris from SGA and Evan Jacoby from GAC. Over 90 students were in attendance.

Dr. Stephen Mergner was the Republican representative while Dr. Melissa Scheier represented the Democrats. As topics were presented to each side, the proponents detailed their candidateā€™s platform on the issue. The topics discussed were: budget and taxes; employment; and education. It was intended for more issues to be discussed, but the professors spent more time than the moderators had originally planned.

Each side was also given a two-minute period for closing arguments. For this, two student representatives from College Democrats and College Republicans took the stage. The representative for College Democrats was Meredith Scalos, and the College Republican representative was Hayden Summers.

There was a Twitter account created just for the debate, and students could tweet @GCDebate to ask the representatives questions. Several in the audience chose to ask questions about student loans, a topic that is very relevant and could possibly have an impact on studentsā€™ futures.

When it came to employment, Mergner said the Obama administration had been given four years already and that they were ā€œout of ammunition.ā€ He also stated that corporations are the job creators in an economy, and by making them feel secure, they would be comfortable enough to make investments. Scheier disagreed that the nation was out of options and pointed out the Presidentā€™s Recovery Act and DREAM Act, both of which put Americans to work. She also pointed out his belief in systems that put students into internship and job shadowing positions such as the Collegeā€™s Graves Center for Calling and Career.

At the beginning of the debate, a vote was taken via ballot among the students. The options were Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and Undecided. After counting the ballots, Norris said the votes were: 47 Romney, 31 Obama and 12 Undecided. She also mentioned SGA and GAC would be sponsoring another mock election. It will be online, and students will be able to vote through the My Georgetown portal.

Source: The Georgetonian.

Students Learn About Graduate School & Law School

October 2, 2012

On September 27, Georgetown students learned about the ins and outs of graduate school and law school from current grad students and law students. The Political Science Department co-hosted this student panel with the Graves Center for Calling and Career. GC students got to learn about issues related to program demands, career possibilities, funding availability, and the job market for different careers. Panelists included Shannon Moody and Wade Wilson from the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky and Katherine Caudill and Mike Durborow from the Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucy University. The panelists helped to inform students about what life is like for a grad student or law student, and they offered the GC students terrific advice. In particular, they all agreed that choosing a graduate or law program should not be taken lightly; the most important thing is to truly search for something you are passionate about before deciding on the next step after college.

Graduate Student & Law Student Panel- 9/27/12

September 24, 2012

Do you want to know what graduate school and law school are really like? Come hear from current graduate and law students about the ins and outs of graduate school and law school! The Political Science Department and the Graves Center for Career and Calling are co-hosting this panel, which will take place on Thursday, September 27, from 3-4 PM in the Ward Room of the LRC. Email Kali Wright-Smith (kali_wright-smith@georgetowncollege.edu) with any questions.

Georgetown Outing

August 30, 2012

At right, Dr. Stephen Mergner is pictured with Georgetown College Political Science alums Katherine Caudill and Brittany Gunther. Caudill and Gunther are currently attending law school at Northern Kentucky University.

Political Science Student Experiences the White House

Walter Cosby, a student in the Political Science Department, participated in a summer White House internship program. At right, Cosby is pictured with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Upcoming Career Center Events for Law & Graduate School

Law School Panel Discussion
On Wednesday, September 12th,Ā the Graves Center for Calling and Career will beĀ hosting admissions directors from the University of Louisville, UK, and Northern Kentucky University for a panel discussion on the law school admissions process.Ā  The event will take place from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM in the LRC Arnett Room and the Graves Center will be providing pizza and refreshments for the panelists and students.
Law and Graduate School Fair
On Monday, October 1st, the Graves Center for Calling and Career will be hosting approximately 25-30 law and graduate schools for a campus career fair.Ā  This event will take place from 5-7 PM in the Student Center Hall of Fame Room.
For more information, please visit http://www.georgetowncollege.edu/career/


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