Political Scientist Aaron Weinschenk is being quoted by The Atlantic as an expert on political participation following his recent interview about voter turnout in local elections across the United States. Weinschenk has written extensively about political engagement and has a forthcoming book on the topic. The article, which was published at The Atlantic’s CityLab website last week, includes a number of references and links to Weinschenk’s published work on voter turnout. Weinschenk is an assistant professor of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Jared J. Spude of Sturgeon Bay is the May 2015 recipient of the Outstanding Student Award presented by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association. He will receive the award May 16 at a student award ceremony on campus, on the eve of spring commencement.
Spude is earning his bachelor of science degree with a near-perfect gradepoint average and summa cum laude, or highest honors, having completed majors in Political Science and Public Administration.
The UW-Green Bay Alumni Association, which has been designating a single Outstanding Student Award recipient for each graduating class since 1976, recognized Spude for his undergraduate success as student, researcher and volunteer in service to others. He was nominated and selected from among approximately 930 graduating seniors eligible to receive diplomas at May commencement.
Originally from Brussels, Wis., Spude graduated from Southern Door High School in 2008 and immediately joined the U.S. Army. After serving two years at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and completing secondary job training, he was deployed to the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division. He enrolled at UW-Green Bay within months of leaving active duty in November 2011. He began service with the National Guard that continues today with his work as a training instructor at Fort McCoy and the Wisconsin Military Academy.
At UW-Green Bay, Spude has been active in both academic and community-service initiatives. He has contributed in several campuswide advisory roles, sharing a student perspective with University leadership. Within his Political Science academic unit, he participated in a student-faculty task force that helped develop curriculum, draft the syllabus, and conceptualize a new capstone class and project to be required of all future majors.
Spude devoted significant time and energy to Phuture Phoenix, assisting administrators of the pre-college program with grant applications and behind-the-scenes management. He also gained first-hand experience as a mentor to participating grade school, middle and high school students, and served as coordinator for the Phuture Phoenix tutoring program at Green Bay West High School.
His advanced-level research in public policy addressed the complex issue of state of Wisconsin allocations to local K-12 school districts. His research findings supported the view of many small, rural districts that they are treated inequitably by the current formula. He shared this information with his hometown Southern Door School District and various legislative officials. Spude was chosen this spring for appointment to the University’s internship program with the Office of the Mayor of Green Bay. He worked closely with the mayor’s chief of staff, focusing on research and services related to economic development and entrepreneurship.
In his spare time, Spude has worked as a WIAA-sanctioned football and basketball official, local radio announcer, public-address announcer for high school sports, volunteer varsity basketball assistant, and as music ministry leader for his Brussels parish.
The ninth edition of Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century is coming out Tuesday (April 14). Michael E. Kraft, UW-Green Bay professor of Political Science and Public and Environmental Affairs, is co-editor along with Norman Vig of Carleton College. Kraft notes the book debuted in 1990, 25 years ago, with a new edition every three years or so. It’s still going strong, Kraft says, and the publisher tells him it remains the best selling text on environmental policy. Here is a link to the book’s webpage for CQ Press, a division of Sage Publications.
Katia Levintova, associate professor of Political Science with Public and Environmental Affairs, is the co-author of a newly published article in The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Its title is “Sustainability: Teaching an Interdisciplinary Threshold Concept through Traditional Lecture and Active Learning.” The article is the result of collaborative, undergraduate research involving Levintova and then-student Daniel W. Mueller, in a project that was part of the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program. Mueller is now pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at Washington State University. It his first publication overall, and Levintova’s first co-authored article with an undergraduate student.
For UW-Green Bay student Vanya Koepke, a meeting over coffee might have helped to solidify his future career.
“I actually had the chance to get coffee with my professor, Dr. Weinschenk, and his good friend, Andy Rosendahl last semester,” said Koepke, “Andy Rosendahl just happens to be the Green Bay Mayor’s Chief of Staff.”
The conversation sparked a desire in Koepke to become even more involved.
“After talking with him I was just really inspired to dive into this as soon as possible,” he said.
A series of events after this initial meeting led Koepke, a double major in Political Science and Public Administration, to accept an internship as an assistant to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff. (Above, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt and Koepke show their Phoenix pride). Koepke, who is also the UW-Green Bay Student Government Association President, began the internship in January 2015.
As an assistant to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Koepke’s main job is to work on the State of the City address that the mayor gives annually in March.
“I’ve been doing a lot of research trying to find facts and various stats that we can beef up the State of the City with,” he said, “It’s also an election year, so you’re trying to be creative with setting a message or tone that could resonate with the voters later on in April.”
This internship is Koepke’s second. He previously interned in the De Pere Planning and Zoning Department, where he compiled the sustainability report.
“I put that together and presented it to the city administrators and staff at the end of my internship. It was very rewarding.”
Koepke will be graduating in May 2015 and hoped to further enhance his education by taking on this new opportunity during the spring semester.
“I knew that it was my last semester and I could choose to sit in five classes or I could build off of the great experience I had at the De Pere internship last semester and get out,” he said, “So I figured, why not get out into the real world and get that hands-on experience during my last semester here.”
This experience translates directly into what Koepke plans to do in the future.
“My hope is to work as a staffer at the capitol in Madison for five or six years,” he said, “My ultimate goal is to run for office. I’d like to run for state assembly or later on House of Representatives.”
Koepke feels that when UW-Green Bay students pursue internships they not only set themselves apart, but also build a stronger Green Bay community.
“I think if we get them connected with an internship in the greater Green Bay area, that will motivate them even more to not only explore the possibilities of getting a career here but also settling down here and raising their family here, and maybe retiring here one day,” he said, “So it’s really important for us to retain our talented students. And second, I think is just to get that real world experience. To take what you’ve learned in class and show ‘Hey, I can apply this to various parts out in my vocation.’ So I think that those are the two key areas for that.”
For Koepke, the experience itself has been positive.
“I’m really enjoying it,” he said, “I would recommend it to anyone else.”
Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication
(We’re not saying the two are related, but…) UW-Green Bay Prof. Emeritus David Littig deserves a shout-out for his well-chosen words to Fox 11 News regarding a proposed reworking of the UW System’s 111-year-old mission statement that found its way into Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal. The veteran political scientist warned Wednesday against tampering with the cherished ‘Wisconsin Idea’ of serving people across the state in all walks of life. “He is really totally attacking in many ways the core principal of the University of Wisconsin System,” Littig said. Litting wasn’t the only person criticizing the amendments, of course, and by the time the interview aired, Walker aides were already walking back the changes as a “drafting error.” To see the Fox 11 story.
Associate Professor and UW-Green Bay Political Science and Global Studies Chair Katia Levintova on Wednesday (Dec. 17) helped explain the day’s big news of changing U.S. relations with Cuba in an interview with WBAY, Action 2 News. “The embargo’s not going to be lifted right away, but there is the conversation about having this particular act repealed in Congress,” Levintova said. “But there are immediate lifting of restrictions on travel, on research, on remittances, which means, kind of, a real breakthrough for the ordinary people.”
Ozum Yesiltas, an assistant professor of political science at St. Norbert College, will address “The Kurds and the Situation in the Middle East” at the next Global Studies Roundtable Discussion at UW-Green Bay. The free session, open to all, runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. this Friday (Dec. 5) in Room 103 of the University Union. The roundtable series is sponsored by the Global Studies, Political Science and Public and Environmental Affairs programs at UW-Green Bay.
Political scientist Aaron Weinschenk, assistant professor of Public and Environmental Affairs, has been invited to give a lecture to the staff of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Foundation is hosting an online “learning lab” on the topic of informed local voting. On Dec. 19, the Knight Foundation will bring together via video conference a select group of ten researchers from multiple fields with Knight Foundation staff to learn from existing research and discuss responses to the following questions: How can cities increase informed participation in local civic endeavors, including voting? What are the tactics, policies or programs that will lead to persistent civic engagement in local communities? The exercise will inform Knight’s research agenda on increasing informed local civic participation that will guide its grant-making strategy for engagement. In 2012 alone, the Knight Foundation gave out $92,352,685 in grant money. Additionally, Weinschenk has been awarded an Artinian Travel Award from the Southern Political Science Association to attend the association’s annual meeting this January in New Orleans. The travel grant covers a portion of the cost of traveling to the conference.
As we’ve told you here before, UW-Green Bay held a series of TEDx-esque “Phoenix Talks” during the first week of November, welcoming engaging community leaders — most of whom are UW-Green Bay alumni — to discuss their careers and lives devoted to public service. The events — focused on education, nonprofits, environmental protection and city government, respectively — were enlightening and well-received, attendees said. If you missed a talk or would like to see any (or all) of them again, click here.