BYU undergraduates present at the Midwest Political Science Association

Political science students Soren Schmidt and Matthew Young along with international relations student Taylor Rawson stand at their booth at the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA).

Political science students Soren Schmidt and Matthew Young, along with international relations student Taylor Rawson stand at their booth at the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) in Chicago.

Earlier this year, BYU political science students were invited to to Chicago to present at the annual Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), networking with other students as well as world experts in social science topics.

Soren Schmidt, a senior studying political science, was involved in research regarding India’s perception and public opinion of the United States. His project was entitled, “Simple Information in India: How Much Can It Impact Opinions and Behavior?” Mentored by Professor Darren Hawkins, Schmidt found that when presented with simple fact about Indian-US relations, Indians’ attitudes about the US remained unchanged.

After presenting his findings and speaking with both students and field experts, Schmidt commented that, “The interest in and scrutiny of my project were both flattering and grueling … I received many suggestions for improvement and enough ideas for follow-up research to keep me busy for a long time.”

As an undergraduate political science student, Matthew Young’s presentation was also met with both praise and guidance. He got connected with both Ph.D. students and professors from other prestigious universities such as Harvard University who gave him encouragement and direction on furthering his education and research.

Young was grateful to represent BYU at the conference and noted that many people recognize the hard work of undergraduates at BYU.

“[As] I presented people made comments about how they are always impressed with BYU students research and the opportunities that are provided to underclassmen at BYU, since most presenting at the conference are undergraduate seniors or graduate students,” Young said.

Also attending the MPSA conference were BYU international relations students Bryonna Bowen and Taylor Rawson, as well as the recently-graduated political science student Geoffrey Cannon.

MPSA gave these students a chance to grow their network and gain valuable experience outside the classroom, not just presenting, but getting to know others in their field of interest and get guidance for the future.

“It has been one of the single most relevant and helpful experiences I’ve had in my time as a student because it gave me both purpose, experience and valuable direction for the future,” Schmidt said.

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