PP&E Students Showcase Experience at Regional Meeting

On Thursday December 1st, two students and military veterans, Paul Howell and Joshua Rios, accompanied Professor Ben Meiches to Evergreen State College to participate in a discussion on The Rise of Drone Warfare and the Social Transformation of War. Led by Evergreen professor Steve Niva, Joshua and Paul related stories about their encounters with drones as service members and as Politics, Philosophy, and Economics majors studying armed conflict. The presentation and Q&A were conducted with an Evergreen class studying the transformation of war over the past few decades. The event was a tremendous success, bringing together students’ personal experience, their critical thinking, and academic skills into a collaborative project with another regional institution.
The sessions with Evergreen students brought a number of pressing issues to the fore, including the future of armed conflict, the pressures and ethical questions that face contemporary service members, and the impact of technology on the business of soldiering. The event showcased the strength of PPE students as both scholars and community members. Evergreen students posed rich, engaging questions in a fantastic dialogue which hopefully sets the stage for future collaboration about major political issues moving forward.

Sean Rojas’ Research on Wildfires Published in the News Tribune

Guest columnist Sean Rojas is a student at University of Washington Tacoma.Don’t be fooled by our rare mild wildfire season,” writes UW Tacoma senior Sean Rojas. Rojas’ opinion piece, published October 30th in Tacoma’s News Tribune, argues that we should not think we’ve tamed our growing wildfire problem just because this year’s wildfire season was a mild one.  Climate change, and pointedly, a lack of funding for wildfire protection, leaves us more vulnerable than ever.  Rojas is majoring in Finance at UW Tacoma, and researched wildfires last spring in his TECON 410 Economics of Public Policy class.   Great work Sean!

Takele Gobena Addresses Canadian Labor Congress Conference


This October, Takele Gobena, a senior in Politics Philosophy and Ecotakele-1nomics, was an invited speaker at the Canadian Labor Congress’ (CLC) “Rise Up” conference held in Ottawa.  The conference brought together labor and human right activists to discuss ways to strengthen labor organizations and address social inequalities. The CLC, the largest workers’ union in Canada, selected Takele to speak because of his effective advocacy for a $15 minimum wage in SeaTac as well as his lobbying on behalf of the rights of Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize.  His speech, entitled “Adapt, Engage or Lose,” discussed how workers and unions should respond to the changing nature of work.  The first of many to follow, we’re sure!

Election Series Kicks Off With Debate Over Sound Transit 3

Proponenst3-8ts and opponents of Sound Transit 3 (ST3) teed off Monday night in a two-hour debate over this November’s ST3 ballot initiative.  The event, held in William Philip Hall. was moderated by newly-hired
professor of economics Justin Beaudoin. It opened with Sound Transit’s Executive Director of Planning Ric Ilgenfritz presenting an overview of Sound Transit’s prior two phases; followed by a description of the proposed third phase:  a $20 billion extension of light rail that would, among other things, connect Tacoma to the SeaTac airport and Seattle. You can watch a youtube video of the event here.

The ST3 debate was the first of a series of sevenst3-2 election-related events that Politics Philosophy and Public Affairs (PPPA), a Division within UWT’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, is
organizing with the Tacoma-Pierce County League of Women Voters.  Go here for a detailed description on the entire series. Special thanks go to students Blake Stagner, Gabriela Raisl, and Berkan Koroglu for their help with this inaugural event.

Amaya Pens OpEd on Teen Truancy Policy

Congratulations to senior Law and Policy major Melissa Amaya for publishing her opinion piece “Truancy Boards Will Put Teens in School, Not Jail” in this Sunday’s The News Tribune.  Read to find Amaya’s distillation of research she undertook this spring in her TECON 410 Economics of Public Policy course.

Amaya plans to attend law school after graduating this coming year.  She’s off to a good start!  You can read her oped here.

Students’ Projects on Display in UWT Undergraduate Showcase

Oscar 2On Friday May 27th, students from two PPPA classes displayed class projects at the quarterly UWT Undergraduate Showcase event held in William Philip Hall.  Nearly a dozen students from Prof. Katie Baird’s TPHIL 251 Data and Discourse class presented Posterboards of their project examining alternative ways to measure trends in inequality in the US.

AnotheKate 1r four students from Prof. Baird’s TECON 410 Economics of Public Policy class presented posterboard versions of class essays.  Katherine Daniels (right) analyzed land usage Melissa 3policies in Gig Harbor.  Melissa Amaya (left) examined the impact of Community Truancy Boards.  Annika Nelson argued for labeling all foods containing GMOs, and Doug Nelson wrote about recent controversies over Louisiana’s prison system.  Congratulations to all the participants and kudos on their good work.

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2016 PPPA Paper Prize Goes to Brianna Trafton

Brianna Trafton won this year’s Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs’ (PPPA) annual award for the best Capstone paper, a paper written for Prof. Charles Williams’ Capstone on The Great Depression.  The paper (“The New Deal  Watershed—for Watersheds:
Franklin D. Roosevelt, New Conservation, and the Legacy of an Environmental President”) argues that FDR’s growing awareness of environmental challenges shaped both his New Deal policies and our nation’s subsequent environmental policies. “Brianna did a great job connecting the personal and ideational roots of FDR’s New Deal policies, and uncovering his lesser-known legacy on environmental issues,” said Prof. Etga Ugur, one of three PPPA faculty members who judged papers nominated for this award.  In total, faculty nominated six students for PPPA’s annual award.

All three faculty judges remarked on the outstanding quality of the students’ work.  “These were among the best student papers I’ve seen in my 16 years at UWT,” commented Prof Katie Baird. “We thought a number of them should be published almost as is.”

The other five nominated papers included three from Prof. Ugur’s Capstone class on Democratization and Political Development in the Middle East:  Brian Juneman wrote “Iran’s Green Thumb:  Why the Growing Reform Movement isPPPA internship event Slow to Bear Fruit”;  Brittany Hale (the winner of the PPPA paper prize two years ago) wrote “International Creations: The Case of Iraq, Syria, and Jordan”; and Joshua Va
was the author of “The Syrian Identity Crisis: Explaining the Resilience of Assad’s Ruling Bargain”.  Prof. Eric Bugyis nominated two papers from his Capstone on Christianity and Radical Politics.  Ian Clogston wrote a paper entitled “Virtue, Terror, and Republicanism during the French Revolution,” and Austin Reddy wrote “Sacramental Theology as Immanent Science: The Subversive Heart of Catholicism.” “All of these papers were excellent,” remarked Prof. Ben Meiches, “Picking a top paper was particularly difficult because a strong case could be made for each of them.”

PPPA paper prize 2A brief award ceremony, followed by Brianna’s presentation of her paper, will take place Monday May 23rd from 12:30 to 1:30 in the Dawn Lucien Boardroom (GWP 320).  All are welcome, and pizza will be served.  All past PPPA paper prize-winning papers can be found in UWT’s Digital Commons.