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Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice Success Stories

Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice

Success Stories

Denver City Student is Scholarship Recipient at WTAMU  Kathryn English, a sophomore political science major at West Texas A&M University, was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Maxine Durrett Earl Charitable Foundation for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The scholarship is awarded annually in memory of Maxine Durrett Earl to provide scholarships for students who graduated from high schools in and around Garza county and are majoring in political science at WTAMU. Recipients must be full-time students classified as a sophomore, junior or senior and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Alumna Success.  Natalie Jackson is currently Senior Data Scientist at the Huffington Post, working for the politics section and Pollster.com to help improve and expand coverage of polling models, poll aggregation, and election forecasting. She has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma, and did postdoctoral work at the Duke University Initiative on Survey Methodology. She moved to New York in 2012, where she and her husband (also a WT alum!) reside, to work for the Marist Poll, working on all of the NBC/Wall Street Journal battleground state polls in that year, before going to the Huffington Post in 2014. Natalie is very proud of her start at WTAMU, where the talented, devoted faculty challenged her and opened her eyes to previously unknown possibilities, and the community offered a safe, warm, and friendly (if windy and stormy at times) atmosphere for exploring those possibilities. Natalie is currently on the WTAMU Alumni Association Board of Directors representing the east coast contingent of WT alums (there are lots!). She would be thrilled to talk to any students about WT, political science, and career paths.

West Texas Capital Jury Project.  Department members are continuing their research of capital jury decision making. Dr. Keith Price, Dr. Gary Byrd, Prof. Susan Coleman, and Dr. Tim Atchison are working together to examine further the phenomenon of death qualification. The researchers utilize twenty mock capital juries made up of WTAMU students. The death-qualified juries will be compared with the non–death-qualified juries to examine differences or possible sources of pro-prosecutor bias. In October, 2014, Administrative Issues Journal published “Examination of Capital Murder Jurors’ Deliberations: Methods and Issues.” Researchers involved in this project included the principals and a graduate student, Tomi Dillon.

Emergency Response Plan.  Dr. Harry Hueston's graduate class recently took on the challenge of emergency planning. The class reviewed WTAMU's existing emergency plans. The class then contacted universities that had experienced disaster recoveries from: blizzards, floods, train wrecks, tornadoes, wildfires, and chemical explosions. The class applied this information to the WTAMU plan. The revision was presented to the WTAMU President's Cabinet by the class. As a result of the class project the WTAMU Emergency Plan has been revised to include various recoveries. 

Legal Reading.  Dr. James Calvi, professor of political science, and Susan Coleman, instructor of political science, are co-authors of American Law and Legal Systems, seventh edition. The book offers readers a greater understanding of the American legal system.

Book Collaboration.  Dr. Dave Rausch, associate professor of political science, and Dr. Reed Welch, head of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, have teamed up with three other authors to write Government in America: People, Politics and Policy. The 13th edition textbook focuses on the nature of democracy and the scope of government. Its 27 chapters cover a variety of topics. Rausch and Welch wrote part 5 of the book, which covers government in Texas.

National Conference Presentation.  Dawn Marie Jordan, a criminal justice master's student and state parole officer, and Dr. Keith Price, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, presented a paper on preparing correctional students to deal with Mexican immigrants at the American Correctional Association (ACA) conference. The conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. The ACA is the largest correctional association in North America.