PPE Major Teresa Dennerlein Wins Two Scholarships

Sophomore and PP&E Major Teresa Dennlein has gotten this academic year off to a great start, having been selected for two competitive scholarships!

Teresa is one of nine students selected in this year’s cohort of Dressel Scholars. The University of Washington Tacoma Dressel Scholars Program recognizes and rewards exceptional scholarly achievement, community engagement, and leadership potential for any student enrolled at UW Tacoma. The Dressel Scholars Program was created to honor the legacy of Melanie Jan LaPlant Dressel by creating a robust scholarship and mentorship program that affords our students the opportunities to develop their leadership skills and community connections while giving them the financial freedom to fully participate in their UW Tacoma experience.

Teresa was also awarded a Jennifer Dunn-Thompson Scholarship through the Washington Policy Center. The scholarship is for female students who are interested in policy-related fields, and named in honor of the late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn.

If you are interested in these or other scholarship award opportunities, be sure to visit the Office of Student Fellowships and Awards to find out more!

Lu-A Kikuo Wins Annual PPPA Paper Prize Award

Dilluchei (Lu-A) Kikuo (left) is a co-winner of the annual PPPA Best Paper for her essay “Republican Virtue and Klechibelau in the Face of Colonization: Machiavelli, Rousseau, the Belauan Civic Idea.” Lu-A wrote this paper as part of her work in Prof. Michael Forman (left) Senior Seminar course Winter Quarter, 2019.  Three faculty members (Elizabeth Bruch, Charles Williams, and Sarah Hampson) reviewed papers nominated this year, and selected Lu-A’s, as well as Lucas Waggoner’s, for this year’s award.

Lu-A hails from the island nation of Palau. Beginning in the 16th Century, Palau was the object of colonization by Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United States, all of which sought to obliterate its institutions, values, and culture. The Republic of Palau attained independence in 1981, though it maintains a close relationship with the United States.

Lu-A’s course of study at UWT was heavily influenced by political theory and ethnic and gender studies. Her award-winning paper reflects this trajectory. The notion of republican virtue has a long tradition in Mediterranean and European political theory.  In this tradition, liberty is understood in terms of laws oriented toward the common good and rooted in citizen action. But, the rule of law is a fragile thing and its main source of strength are public virtues such as the love of liberty and citizen engagement in the pursuit of the common good. Lu-A, however, saw something else in the idea of “civic virtue:” she saw the same core precepts found in Klechibelau, a very old idea in Palau.

Klechibelau literally translates into “the ways of Belauan life.” This “encompasses the mores, values, traditions, and customs of the Belauan culture and identity, all of which work together for the common good.” In her paper, Lu-A relies on canonical political theory sources (especially Machiavelli and Rousseau) to reconstruct the notion of republican virtue. She then argues that klechibelau, by offering similar resources, embodies Belauan notions of liberty and has played a role in preserving the Belauan way of life. While it has been much undermined by colonial practices, she argues for its renewal.  “Republicanism and Klechibelau in the Face of Colonization” brings together Lu-A’s course of study and extends it in a completely new direction not only for her, but for the field of political theory.

More importantly, “Republicanism and Klechibelau in the Face of Colonization” also offers something new to the people of the Republic of Palau: a way of rooting new institutions in traditional values.

PPPA’s Senior Seminar (TPOLS 480)  allows students to bring together with what they have learned in their course of study, and extend and deepen their knowledge into a new area. Lu-A’s paper is a superb example of this.

Senior Spotlight 2019: Rania Elbasiony

Meet Rania Elbasiony, one of UW Tacoma’s seniors and legislative intern extraordinaire in the Washington State House of Representatives.  We caught up with her and asked us to answer some Internship program as a “really great hands-on approach to learning about our state’s legislative process”.  A professor’s recommendation brought her to the internship program which is fitting as the draw of “small class sizes…and greater access to…build closer relationships with both my professors and fellow students” was what brought her to UW Tacoma.  Rania describes loving the close-to-home downtown campus here as well as the quality education that with a much more affordable tuition.

A Law & Policy major with a minor in Business Administration, Rania has taken advantage of the urban-serving campus and its many opportunities.  “I think that being a law and policy major has really helped me gain a basic understanding of how our legal system works, which will benefit me when I look for jobs in the legal field as well as when I attend law school in the future.” In addition to the interning at the State Legislature, Rania has interned with the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.  She has also worked directly with the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Neighborhood Councils in the Fieldwork in Law and Policy class taught by her favorite professor, Lucas McMillan.  When asked how she picked her favorite, Rania said, “I’ve had several great professors during my time here, but he manages to be my favorite because no professor of mine has been able to match his level of optimism. He comes into the classroom with a positive attitude and knows how to get his students engaged. Additionally, you can tell that he truly cares about his students learning and always goes above and beyond for his students when they need his help. Not to mention, he is very knowledgeable in his field.”

When asked about what classes she drew most on for success in her internships she credits the Intro to American Legal System and Intro to American Politics for helping her come “to the job with that foundational knowledge of how state government works, which helped ease my transition into a new environment. My field work class and internship at the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office also helped me because it allowed me to strengthen my interpersonal and networking skills.”

On that note, Rania’s suggestion for others who might want to follow a path similar to hers is “volunteering and getting involved with different student groups and organizations. It’s a great way to start networking and meeting people who could potentially lead you to future employment. Additionally, volunteering is a great way to see if the career you are currently interested in is a good fit for you. Also, if you have room to do so, take classes you are interested in even if it doesn’t relate to your major. Last but not least, in the midst of the chaos that school can be, don’t forget to take care of yourself because your mental and physical well-being is important.”

Senior Spotlight 2019: Noah Ramirez

Noah is currently a senior Law & Policy major with a minor in Human Rights who is making the most of his UW Tacoma experience by finishing his degree in Washington D.C.  Although not one to stay in one place for too long, Noah came to our campus in winter quarter of 2018 from the University of San Francisco.  Aiming at first for the Seattle campus, a technicality in the admissions process brought Noah here where he fell in love with UWT.  The cross-country finish to his senior year arose from an internship with social media giant, Twitter.

When asked how working for Twitter works with his Law & Policy degree, Noah said, “Both my major and minor have been very relevant to my work because you have to have a very good understanding of how our government functions, specifically Congress in order to sufficiently perform the essential functions of my job. Also, to manage crisis response work there is a huge play on my human rights minor. I would say that my pathway aligns perfectly for my current role.”

So what does a Twitter intern—A twintern perhaps?—do in our nation’s capital? “To begin with, I do work with Congress such as attending hearings on behalf of Twitter, performing trainings for congressional offices, understanding policies or legislation related to Twitter, and advocating certain policies. On top of this I work on election security within the platform as well as crisis response by Twitter in emergency situations.”

Intensely fascinating and compelling work for those into law and policy!  How does one find and acquire an internship with such a large corporation and government? To start, he urges, you have to apply no matter how daunting.  “To give some context, a statistic reported by Twitter is that for approximately 200 intern positions per year, there are 70,000 applicants.  It is a very thorough and long application process but for good reason. Being confident, doing research, and using your communication skills are all important and helpful.”

When asked about how his education here at UWT prepared him for this opportunity, Noah said, “I believe that every course I took contributed equally well to my work but if I had to name a few they would be the Constitutional Law & American Government [series]. These gave me a concrete knowledge of how our government functions, why it functions that way, how it can be challenged, and how I can make a difference. The biggest part is how I can make a difference because that is exactly what I am trying to do every day in Washington.”

On that inspirational note, what advice would Noah give to future students? “One thing that I always tell people is to stay ambitious. Shoot for the stars and don’t settle for anything less. Even if you may believe that you do not fit the qualifications for something attempt it anyway because you can make yourself qualified with how you react, communicate, and by how determined you are. Also, get on Twitter! A bit of a shameful plug but I have to since I work for the company now! Follow me, ask me questions, and see what I am doing every day in Washington! @jnoahramirez.”

 

 

Students Spend Winter Interning In Olympia

This winter eight UWT students spent the winter quarter working for the State Legislature as members of the state’s Legislative Internship Program.  About 60 students statewide are selected each year, and this year UWT had more students participating than any other school.  Interns work directly for members of the Senate or House.  On the House side, Rania Elbasiony (senior, Law & Policy) interned for Reps. Chopp, Sullivan and Peterson; Alex Morrison (senior, Politics Philosophy & Economics) for Reps. Schmick, Tharinger and Dent; and Kegan Ross (senior, SIAS) for Reps. Leavitt and Fey.  Alex Seddon (senior, Politics, Philosophy & Economics) worked in Sen. Mark Mullet’s office, Alexandria Swanson (senior Law & Policy) for Sen. Ann Rivers, Maria Colocho (senior, Law & Policy) for Sen. Mona Das, Shelby Wiedmann (senior, Politics, Philosophy & Economics) for Sen. Patty Kuderer, and Andrew Volgelgesang (senior, Politics, Philosophy & Economics) for Sen. John Braun.  The internship requires a full time commitment for the winter term, although many of the interns have opted to remain for the rest of the session, which is scheduled to finish at the end of April.  All students earn 15 credits, and complete substantial academic work in addition to their work with the Legislature.

Three other PPPA students also interned in Olympia this winter.  Walter Smit worked full time for the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office, a position that had him testifying twice before Senate and House Committees. Theresa Leo interned with the Washington State Board of Education; and for the second year in a row, Adan Espino spent the quarter lobbying in Olympia on behalf of UWT students.

 

UWT Hosts First Debate

Thursday evening, March 14th, students in Ben Meiches’s TPOLS 275 Urban Debate class hosted members of PLU’s debate club.  The result?  A rousing debate over a proposal to increase the salaries of public school teachers by 50 percent.

This event marked the first time UWT students have participated in intercollegiate debating.  But not the last!  This class, taught for the first time this winter, demonstrates students’ interest in learning to be better public speakers.  Prof. Meiches is now working on establishing a UWT Debate Team.  Next spring, interested students will be meeting during the Wednesday lunch hour to help launch further debating opportunities.  For more information, contact Ben Meiches at bmeiches@uw.edu.

 

Consider an Internship this Winter!

If you are a senior looking to meet your PP&E or Law and Policy capstone requirement, consider an internship this Winter.  You can find out more by attending an info session next Thursday:

Info Session on Internships 

When:  Thursday Nov 8, 2018, 12:30 pm

Where:  WCG 322

We have a number of terrific internship opportunities available, from working for members of the US Congress, to interning with the Pierce County public defender’s office, the County Prosecutor, to working for the city of Tacoma. There are additional opportunities in Olympia, such as working with the Attorney General’s office, the Secretary of State, the State Auditor.or the State of Washington Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.  We also can offer internships in policy, such as with the Washington Policy Center in Seattle.  If interested in learning more, attend the session above.  If interested but not able to attend, contact Professor Katie Baird  (kebaird@uw.edu), as space in the internship is limited! 

Intern Insights: Spring 2018

PPPA students have been hard at work in the community through their internship placements this quarter. Here are six interns to share their experiences in administrative law, criminal justice, and politics:

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Phillip Ramirez (center).

Phillip Ramirez: “I’m interning with the Pierce County Prosecutors office and specifically assigned to the juvenile division at Remann Hall. This internship has been an amazing opportunity to see how juvenile court operates, opening my eyes to a system that is often overlooked when studying the law. Its been great to get hands on experience doing legal assistant work, witnessing court dockets, going out into Pierce County with probation officers, and discussing Washington State juvenile law with the prosecutors that work here.” Continue reading

Intern Insights: Winter 2018 (2 of 2)

This quarter, PPPA students have been hard at work in the community through their internship placements. In this final post, we share updates from three more of our interns.

Gabi Gutierrez (L) and Autumn Nguyen (R), pictured with Glenn Glover, Chief Investigator at the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel.

Autumn Nguyen
Major: Law and Policy ’18
Placement: Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel

“Interning at the Department of Assigned Counsel has been an amazing experience for me. When I first became a part of this internship I did not know a lot about how our Criminal Justice System function daily; let alone ever even set foot in a courtroom! This internship allows me to see all types of career opportunities and the more I learn the more inspired I am to apply for law school. I have met a lot of people in this internship that has given me a lot of good advice and opportunities to better myself as an individual as well as a future law school student studying criminal law. Working at my internship I do see that our Criminal Justice System is very broken, but it only inspires me more to finish school and to be able to start making a difference in our community along with others who share the same passion.” Continue reading