archive of student Highlights

All current and former political science student highlights can be viewed below.

  • Student Highlight: Scott Braam

    by Stephanie Whitaker | Jan 11, 2016

    Scott Braam
    is a 4th year candidate for the PhD in Political Science.  

    He earned his BA in Fall of 2011, his Master’s degree in 2014, and he is now studying for doctoral preliminary exams scheduled for Fall 2016.  He will ultimately become a UIC trifecta alum!

    Scott is in the beginning of investigating possible dissertation topics that have to do with The Politics of Aesthetics.  He says he’s “interested in the effects of negative representation via public policy on Chicago's neighborhoods, and conversely how neighborhoods use art to combat gentrification and systemic urban inequality.”  Further, Scott says, “this research topic came about from a class project I led, regarding the politics behind public art in Chicago.   Eventually I moved forward with this research topic with guidance from Dr. Amalia Pallares.”  He first decided to pursue this topic for his Master’s thesis, focusing on the neighborhood of Pilsen and the politics expressed in the murals there. 

    Recently, Professor Sultan Tepe sent out a department-wide email about Scott’s recent poster presentation entitled A Portrait of Politics: The Wholesale Marketing of the Chicago Neighborhood of Pilsen, which has been selected as the recipient of the MPSA 2015 Best Poster Award. The award is scheduled to be presented at the upcoming Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) meeting, April 9, 2016. 

     When asked about what he has learn from his research, Scott says, “I have learned that only through grass roots bottom up activism, mobilization, and organization can Chicago neighborhoods see sustainable change. Civic engagement, participation, and education are vital components of this change.”

    Scott is hoping to pass his exams in August, and move on to his dissertation!

    Click here to see previous students of the week.

  • Student Highlight: Michael Patrick Halpin

    by Stephanie Whitaker | Nov 13, 2015

    MPH Student of the Week
    Michael Patrick Halpin
    – Expected Graduation Spring 2016

    “This is Chicago. This is America” Quoting former Mayor Richard J. Daley, Michael Halpin is a lifelong Chicago south-sider. He’s a transfer student from Harold Washington College and is proud of the fact that he attended an institution named after another crucial mayor in Chicago history. Majoring in Political Science and History with a concentration in 20th Century Political and Social history, Mike is as political as they come. Since 2009, he has worked with the Mikva Challenge, a non-profit here in Chicago that focuses on the civic engagement of young people. As a student of the organization, he has worked on policy initiatives that have focused on improving the lives of Chicago’s young people in the areas of health, safety and employment. As an employee with Mikva, Mike has aided in the successful facilitation of a summer internship program that placed 60 public high school graduates in the offices of elected officials (Aldermanic and Congressional) from 2013-15.  He also worked in the call center during President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and in 2011 interned with State Senator Heather Steans IL-7.  In addition, he provided operations assistance to the organization. “Mikva’s model of Action Civics and youth development has helped formed the person I am today. I have grown to be a socially conscious and civically dedicated citizen because of their work,” Michael says. 

    UIC has been a rewarding experience for Mike, giving him lots of opportunities.  He is currently the social media coordinator for the Political Science Student Union (PSSU) and a member of the Model UN Team. He enjoys walking around campus laughing with friends and enjoys conversations with his peers and faculty members on national, state, and Chicago politics, always with a coffee cup in hand. According to Mike, “This institution represents the best Chicago has to offer.”

    Applying to law school for the Fall of 2017, Mike is dedicated to Chicago’s future and wants to continue the progressive fight on a community level to make this city a vibrant, affordable, transparent and a safe place for the next generation of residents.  

    Click here to see previous students of the week.

  • Student Highlight: Ifunanya Anikamadu

    by Stephanie Whitaker | Oct 29, 2015

    Ifunanya Anikamadu – Expected graduation:  May 2017

    Ifunanya says, “Education extends from the classroom, to the environment around you.  UIC challenges me to escape my comfort zone and learn from all of the diverse perspectives that I am exposed to on campus and the city around me.”  A junior, she is a Political Science major with a minor in Business Administration. 

    The oldest of four children, she feels a great sense of responsibility to be a good role model for her younger siblings and to honor her family’s investment in, and support of, her education. She says, “My dad is a big influence on my confidence. He has always pushed me to do better, and even when I think I am better, he pushes me even harder.  He has always challenged me to think critically, listen carefully, and arrange an argument logically.

    On campus, Ify is a Resident Assistant for Thomas Beckham Hall dorms.  She enjoys this opportunity to be both creative and a peer mentor.  Her other current involvements include, being a volunteer for ChicagoVotes, a member of the UIC Student Conduct Board, and a member of the African Student Council.  After graduation, her plans are to attend The University of Houston Law Center for Law School and also complete their Legal Mediation Certificate program.

    Click here to view previous students of the week.