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On Politics Department of Political Science Alumni Newsletter Spring ‘09

Political science alumnus Neal Porter builds programs for global victims of torture.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


On Politics James McCormick, chair Editor: Joyce Wray Features and Photos: Steve Jones and Dave Gieseke Design: Sheena Lara On Politics is published once a year for the alumni, friends and faculty of the Department of Political Science at Iowa State University, an academic department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Please address all correspondence to the editor: 515-294-7256 Mailing Address: Iowa State University Department of Political Science 503 Ross Hall Ames, IA 50011-1204

International traveler. This Iowa State student honored for her international activities.

First Lady’s right-hand woman. Michelle Obama’s chief of staff is an ISU political science graduate.

Election night workers. Political science people stayed busy on election night 2008.

Interning in the White House. Student and GOP “veteran” Alyssa Staley was chosen among many to work in the Bush White House.

Different duties. Longtime political science adviser Dana Schumacher has a new position at Iowa State. ISU political science alumnus Neal Porter, center front, poses with staff at the Center for Victims of Torture office near Freetown in Sierra Leone. Porter’s organization aids victims of torture in several international locations. See page 12.

Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries can be directed to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 3210 Beardshear Hall, (515) 294-7612.


Warmest greetings to all alumni and friends of the Department of Political Science! The past year has been an especially good one for the Department. We completed a very successful external review of the Department, continued to serve a large number of undergraduate and graduate students, hired two new faculty members to strengthen the Public Policy and Administration program, witnessed colleagues receive prestigious University and College awards, and increased our gift productivity to support student scholarships, internships, and faculty excellence. Although these highlights provide a snapshot of departmental accomplishments, I would invite you to review the rest of our departmental newsletter to appreciate the extraordinary range of achievements by our faculty, students and staff over the past twelve months. The Department’s External Review In April 2008, the Department was visited by four distinguished scholars from the Universities of Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Utah to review our programs and activities. We were extremely pleased by the summary assessment that the review team made of our undergraduate program and our undergraduate majors: “We find the Department to be impressive in many ways,” they wrote, “particularly in its commitment to undergraduate education. Courses are rigorous, varied and thoughtfully-planned. The students with whom the team met are first-rate. In fact, ISU political science undergraduates routinely win impressive awards and accolades.” The reviewers were equally supportive of the Department as a whole: “We see the Department of Political Science at Iowa State as a topflight, mid-size, all-purpose department, offering a full range of undergraduate classes, an MA in political science and a fully-embedded MPA.” In all, we are most gratified by this external validation of our efforts and remain committed to continuing and improving upon such excellence in the years ahead. The external review also provided us with a number of important suggestions on how we can continue to improve our Department, and we have already begun to implement them. Most notably, the Report encouraged us to expand the relative size of the faculty, strengthen some of the major subfields within the Department, and enhance our scholarly and grant activities. Importantly, too, the reviewers recommended that we pursue new faculty appointments with a public policy focus as a way to wed together the various parts of the Department. Indeed, we are in the process of doing just that as we make new faculty appointments for academic year 2009-2010, and we anticipate that future hires will have this same kind of policy focus as well. In moving in this policy direction, we will not only strengthen the unity

among the faculty, but we will be well positioned to assist our students in understanding the role of public policy in an increasingly competitive and globalized workplace. The Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Both our undergraduate and graduate programs continued to serve a large number of students during the past year. Our number of undergraduate majors remains the fifth largest in the College, and our course enrollment continued to increase this past year as well. The increase in undergraduate majors and enrollment has been accomplished in part by our sustained commitment to quality teaching and through diligent efforts to meet our students’ needs. The departmental teaching evaluations are uniformly high each semester, and we have developed several initiatives to serve our students better. Furthermore, our majors continue to achieve at a very high level as well. For spring 2008, for example, 92 or 29.7% of our majors achieved the Dean’s List, continuing a pattern of 20% or more of our majors on that list since 2002. Thirty-two of our majors were members of the LAS Honors Program, 11 were nominated for Phi Beta Kappa, and three were nominated for Phi Kappa Phi within the past year. During the past year, too, we have made important strides toward integrating our three graduate programs (MA, MPA, MSIA programs) within the Department as a way to encourage greater cross-fertilization and efficiency among them. These steps have included the appointment of a single faculty member to serve as director of the three programs; the revision of our governance document to reflect a more integrated unit between the political science and public administration programs; and a new departmental commitment to a policy focus as a unifying theme among them, much in line with the recommendation of the External Review. Furthermore, our total number of graduate students remains near the top among the social sciences in the College. Faculty/Staff Appointments and Recognitions Over the past year, we have made two important faculty appointments, and we have been pleased to witness our faculty and staff members receive important University and College awards. Luicija Birskyte from Indiana University was appointed to teach and do research in the area of public budgeting and public policy, and Regina Winters from the University of Nebraska at Omaha was appointed to teach and do research in the area of public personnel administration and nonprofit organizations. Both will contribute importantly to the Public Policy and Administration Program and to our undergraduate program. We welcome them to the Department. This past fall, too, we appointed Jason Chrystal as our new academic adviser. Jason comes to us with a Ph.D. in History from Iowa State University and considerable teaching and administrative experience. He replaces Dana Schumacher, our academic adviser for the past seventeen years, who assumed a new position as assistant director of the University Honors


Program on campus. We are most grateful to Dana for long and distinguished service to our Department and our students, and we are confident that Jason will continue the tradition of excellence in advising our undergraduate majors. Finally, and importantly, Richard Mansbach received the University’s International Service Award, Dana Schumacher was recognized with the Regents Award for Staff Excellence, and Joyce Wray received the LAS Merit Excellence Award. These awards reflect the quality faculty and staff that continue to serve the Department, College, and University. Our Gift and Alumni Activity The department has over 2,400 living alumni, and we continued to increase our support from alumni and our friends over the past year. The variety and magnitude of gifts were especially gratifying during the past year: Both the level and number of contributions to the Political Science Development Fund increased over the past year; the pledged endowment of three undergraduate scholarships progressed nicely during 2008; an alumnus provided a generous deferred gift to the Department during the past year; another recent graduate initiated a scholarship to aid the experiential learning opportunities for our majors; and a colleague is currently initiating a deferred gift to the Department. In addition, we remain committed to pursuing named professorships to honor one or more faculty members and hope to be able to report progress on that initiative in the near future. In all, the gift production for the Department has totaled about $320,000 over the past four years, a drastic increase from any earlier period in our departmental history. During 2008, we also worked with, and recognized, the important accomplishments of our alumni. During this past October, the Department had the pleasure of awarding the fourth annual Alumni Achievement Award to David Donovan, who is a 1980 graduate with a double major in Political Science and Journalism and who is currently General Counsel for the NFL’s Washington Redskins. We also were delighted to learn that another alumnus, Paxton Williams, was this year’s College recipient of the Young Alumnus Award. Finally, the Department continues to rely upon the Political Science Alumni Advisory Board for its helpful insights and suggestions on meeting the needs of today’s students. We are most grateful to those alumni who assist us in that way. Thank you once again for your continuing interest in, and support of, the Department of Political Science at Iowa State University. Please continue to visit our web site (www.pols. to learn about our ongoing activities, and kindly send me an email ( to let me know what else you would like to see on the departmental web site or what else you would like to know about our activities. We are constantly working to meet the needs of our students, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff, and I would be delighted to hear from you. I promise a prompt response.


Ambassador Manatt honored with ISU Alumni Association’s highest honor The ISU Alumni Association recognized five individuals, including Ambassador Charles T. Manatt, with its highest honor given to Iowa State alumni. The Distinguished Alumni Award honors ISU alumni who are nationally and/or internationally recognized for preeminent contributions to their professions or life’s work. A 1958 rural sociology graduate, Ambassador Manatt has committed his life to serving his country and promoting the causes of justice, philanthropy, and education. An attorney who earned his J.D. from George Washington University in 1962, Manatt is the founder of the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. The firm started out specializing in legal services for the banking community but

today has grown to offer international legal and consulting services for a variety of industries in 10 locations, including California; New York; Washington, D.C.; Mexico; and Brazil. Manatt founded First Los Angeles Bank and served as its chairman from 1973-1989. He entered politics at 15 and was chair of the California Democratic Party before being elected chair of the Democratic National Committee in 1981. In 1992, he was co-chair of the successful ClintonGore presidential campaign, and in 1999 President Clinton appointed Manatt as the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Manatt’s distinguished career in law, business, and politics is not only highlighted by professional achievements. He has given widely of his time and talents to organizations such as the National Legal Center for Public Interest’s Board of Directors, the Mayo Clinic Foundation Board of Directors, and both of his alma maters: George Washington University and Iowa State. He recently served as chairman of George Washington’s Board of Trustees. An Emeritus Governor of the ISU Foundation, he is a national vice-chair of Iowa State’s Campaign Destiny. He endowed the Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Politcal Science in 2002. Political science alumna Aurelia Trywianska Kollasch competed in her second Olympics last year for Poland, finishing 11th in the 100-meter hurdles (she ended 17th in the same event in the 2004 Athens games). She earned degrees in political science and international relations from Iowa State in 2000 and earned an M.A. in political science in 2002. A former Cyclone runner, she is shown with her husband and coach, Korey Kollasch, in front of the “Bird’s Nest” – the Beijing National Stadium.

William Angrick recipient of Ink Public Service Award at Iowa State William P. Angrick II, citizens’ aide/ombudsman for the State of Iowa, has been named the 2008 Dwight Ink Public Service Award Winner at Iowa State University. Iowa State’s Public Policy and Administration Program presented Angrick the award at a ceremony held in 2008, on campus. Angrick has worked in his role since 1978. He is appointed by the Legislative Council of the Iowa General Assembly to investigate citizens’ complaints about Iowa state and local government. He has held the office of president of the United States Ombudsman Association (USOA) and currently serves as president of the Board of Directors of the International Ombudsman Institute, an organization with a membership from 92 different countries including the European Union. He is a past member of the Ombudsman Committee of the

Administrative Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA), which produced a resolution expanding upon the ABA’s original definition and standards for ombudsmen offices. He also recently completed service on the Standards Committee of the USOA. The Dwight Ink Public Service Award honors Dwight Ink, an Iowa State alumnus who served every U.S. president from Eisenhower through Reagan. Throughout his public service, Ink had responsibilities for organizing past federal departments and agencies. The award is given to public managers in Iowa who exemplify the highest standards of dedication to public service and are characterized by their leadership abilities, their passion for their work, their high professional standards and the respect they are given by their peers.


Governor Culver appoints Greta Johnson to State Board Of Regents Iowa Governor Chet Culver has announced his appointment of Greta Johnson of LeMars to the State Board of Regents. “Greta is a dedicated public servant, and an outstanding student,” said Governor Culver. “She is a great representative of Iowa’s young people, and I look forward to working with her as the newest member of the Iowa Board of Regents.” Johnson is a junior at Iowa State University, majoring in Political Science. Her previous experience includes service as a page in the Iowa Legislature, leadership roles at Iowa State University, and working as an intern in the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, where she organized a caucus education workshop. Johnson’s term began in October. The student member’s term expires one year from graduation, unless the member reenrolls in an Iowa Regent Institution within that one year period. The student member’s term is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate. The Iowa Board of Regents is a nine person board that governs and coordinates the activities of Iowa’s three public universities, the Iowa School for the Deaf, and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.

Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, returns to ISU

Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University and a 1977 political science and environmental studies graduate of Iowa State, spoke on “Building the New American University” in the Department of Political Science on May 9 of last year. Dr. Crow was the speaker for the spring ISU commencement where he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Crow spent six years at Iowa State, including as director of the Institute for Physical Research and Technology (1988 to 1991), director of the Office of Science Policy and Research (1985 to 1991), and associate professor of management and political science (1985 to 1990).


Faculty, staff honored by college, university Three faculty and staff members in the Department of Political Science last fall received awards from Iowa State University and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The recipients included: ISU International Service Award - recognizes faculty for outstanding international service in terms of teaching, research, or administration, within the United States or abroad. Richard Mansbach, professor of political science. Mansbach has established himself as one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of international relations. He has developed an international reputation as a pioneer of an approach that emphasizes non-state actors and identity rather than states and material power. His theoretical framework is part of an ongoing revolution in his subfield of political science. The author and/or editor of 15 books, he teaches a variety of courses on international politics. He has traveled extensively, lecturing on international relations and global phenomena. Regents Award for Faculty Excellence - recognizes an outstanding university citizen who has rendered significant service to Iowa State University and/or to the State of Iowa. Dana Schumacher, former academic adviser, Department of Political Science. Schumacher advised several hundred undergraduate political science majors and co-majors, helping them select better life choices and career opportunities. She advised the whole student and not just the piece that is associated with the major, embodying the qualities, integrity and characteristics of the engaged citizen. LAS Merit Excellence Award - recognizes and honors Merit employees who have achieved excellence in their respective fields. Joyce Wray, secretary, political science. Wray is known for being adaptable, flexible and innovative in dealing with students, faculty, staff and others in the Department of Political Science. She successfully coordinates several major events and many campus visits annually for the department.

Donovan receives Alumni Achievement Award David Donovan, a 1980 political science and journalism and mass communication graduate, received the Department of Political Science’s Alumni Achievement Award during homecoming ceremonies in October on campus. Donovan, of McLean, Va., is the general counsel for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League.


Awards Alumni Award for Senior Faculty Excellence 2008 Richard Mansbach, professor, pictured with Mack Shelley

Graduate Student Awards and Scholarships Donald E. Boles Distinguished Graduate Student Award Mark Nieman with Associate Professor Alex Tuckness

Dwight Ink Graduate Scholarship Award Casey Muhm with Associate Professor Alex Tuckness

Pi Alpha Alpha Anne Wiltgen and Pandora Lamar with Associate Professor Alex Tuckness

Undergraduate Student Awards and Scholarships Alda & Weldon Brown Award Jessica Maves with Professor James McCormick

Don Hadwiger Working Student Scholarship Award Courtney Thomas (left) and Katie Madson with Assistant Professor David Cunningham Kent & Kristen Lucken Fund Burcin Cevik, Air Force Academy Conference Samantha Clark, SCUSA Conference, West Point Christelle Lauen, Naval Academy Conference James A. Socknat Memorial Internship Mark Nieman


Ross Talbot Outstanding Graduating Senior Award Jessica Maves with Senior Lecturer Dirk Deam

Young W. Kihl Scholarship Christelle Lauen with Professor Richard Mansbach

3rd House Memorial Scholarship Emily Balch Serge Garrison Memorial Scholarship Clark Richardson. Pictured with Mark Joyce

Political Science Club Recognition Award Political Science officers Jacob Braunger and Katie Madson with Senior Lecturer Dirk Deam Pre-Law Competition Paper Benjamin Rooney (2nd place), Maria Reinig (1st place) and Katherine Lundberg (2nd place)

Pi Sigma Alpha initiates Front row – Jessica Maves, Lisa Wilson, Katrina Schaefer, Ben King, Christelle Lauen, Ben Copley, John Haugo, Brittany DuBois Back row – Brionni McGriff, James Weber, Chris Untiet, Tara Ross-Hebbe, Neal Marasinghe, Andrew Hallman, Kristian Einsweiler, Amy Hein, Jacob Braunger Yong S. Lee Excellence in Public Management Scholarship Jennifer Ensley

Jessica Maves is recognized for her international activities. It’s almost easier to list the countries that Jessica Maves hasn’t been to while an Iowa State student. A professor once described the recent graduate as the student “with the most frequent flyer miles” on campus. In her four years at Iowa State, Maves participated in four separate study abroad programs and she has been recognized for her international work with the 2008 LAS Student International Excellence Award. “It’s been pretty easy to get that second major in international studies,” Maves says. “Iowa State has opened my eyes to international travel and has provided me a great venue through which to travel in.” Maves’ travels actually began in high school when she went to Western Europe. But it was a summer-long Iowa State study abroad program that gave her the bug to travel. “The Tones of Florence was a great way to be introduced to study abroad,” she said. “That program was so much fun and it was great to be with a professor who knew the most intricate details of every place we visited.” Soon Maves was traveling to Belize, participating in a

language program in Egypt and touring China with the Iowa State Singers. Along the way, the political science major began researching local elections in such countries as Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Japan and Turkey. “I knew from the outset that I was interested in international politics,” the honors student says, “and it seems like every time I go abroad there is a local election. “One summer I was in Turkey for a friend’s wedding and, of course, there was an election. I talked with people to see where they stood on the issues.” No matter if she is in London, Cairo or Beijing, Maves makes it a point to talk with locals. That’s the best way she says to learn about the country. “That is the best way to understand how people behave,” she says. “You can’t truly read about culture in a book. I love interacting with people and experiencing history first hand. “People want to tell me their history - tell me places to go.” But just as importantly they want to learn about Maves and why she is in Dubai or Istanbul. “The world is a big place,” Maves says. “But we have so much in common and we all have things we can relate to.” dg


ISU politcal science alumna Jackie Norris is named Michelle Obama’s chief of staff

White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian Jackie Norris (left) confers with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Jackie Norris, the chief of staff for first lady Michelle Obama, earned her master’s degree in political science from Iowa State University in August 2008. Norris wrote her thesis project on the mobilization of young voters. “She definitely used her academic experience in the recent election,” said Kim Conger, assistant professor of political science at Iowa State and Norris’ major professor. “She translated that into practical action during the campaign.” The Iowa state director for Barack Obama’s general election campaign last fall, Norris also was a senior adviser for Obama during the Iowa caucuses. Obama easily won in Iowa on Nov. 4 with 54 percent of the votes. Norris attended Iowa State as the 2005 Iowa recipient of the James Madison Fellowship. The scholarship goes to educators who teach about the United States Constitution. Norris was a high school American government and history teacher in Iowa.


“She’s about the most lovely person I know,” said Conger. “She’s so easy to work with, and she was always engaged in class.” Conger said Norris’ experience and knowledge of the American political system brought a unique perspective to her Iowa State classes. “Michelle Obama is lucky to have her,” Conger added. As Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Norris will assist the first lady in planning her heavy travel and appearance schedule. Norris served as political director on Vice President Al Gore’s 1999-2000 Iowa caucus campaign and as finance director of Tom Vilsack’s 1998 campaign for governor of Iowa. Norris worked in Washington, D.C., for seven years on Capitol Hill, in the White House as a scheduler for Vice President Al Gore, and at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. sj

Election night kept ISU political science people busy

Professor Steffen Schmidt on the set of CNN Español.

A history-making presidential election and huge voter turnouts marked the 2008 campaigning season. A number of people from Iowa State’s Department of Political Science were busily involved in the campaigns. Many volunteered time, including a number of students. A handful of political science faculty were providing commentary for different media outlets, as they have been doing since the 2008 campaigning began. Professor Steffen Schmidt was again in Atlanta doing commentary on CNN Español, which has roughly 20 million subscribers in Latin America, Spain and

Spanish-speaking Africa, and two million-plus in the USA. Schmidt is a native of Colombia. Closer to home, Alyssa Staley was busy in Story County marshalling volunteers for Republican candidates. The senior in political science began as volunteer coordinator of the Tom Latham campaign for Congress, and then assumed those duties for every GOP candidate in Story County. With a full load of classes, Staley used her time management skills to fit in some 25 hours a week during the campaign. “Campaigning became difficult as classes were in full swing,” she said. “I did get burnt out and sick for

Student Alyssa Staley coordinated GOP volunteers.

a couple weeks, but I have dealt with stress before and I knew that I just needed to eat right, try to get one more hour of sleep a night and push myself through it.” With at least 25 volunteers a day in the last week and a half before the election, her group “relentlessly” called every identified Republican in the district, reminded them to vote and asked their support for Republican candidates. “As soon as the getout-the-vote program started, I stopped recruiting volunteers and joined them in calling voters,” said Staley, from Charter Oak in Crawford County. “I did not put the phone down until eight p.m. on Nov. 4.

There was no more I could do. Now we waited for the results.” In a night dominated with Democratic victories, she was able to change into her eveningwear and join others from her party at a hotel party and at least celebrate Latham’s re-election to the House. “Every Republican candidate in Story County was in attendance,” Staley said. “Unfortunately, we were the only team in celebration. Regardless, we used this as a time to thank our volunteers, reminisce about the campaign and finally get to enjoy each other’s company without having to work.” sj



he riverfront, Victorian-style home in Minneapolis could have come out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Inside, however, people deal with the results of humanity’s dark side. “We had better close the door. We need to respect the clients’ confidentiality,” said Neal Porter, a 1989 Iowa State political science and international studies alumnus. Porter is the director of International Services for the Minnesotabased humanitarian organization the Center for Victims of Torture. The house is one of CVT’s two Twin Cities healing centers, where more than 300 victims of torture – mostly Africans now living


in Minnesota – each year receive direct rehabilitation services or referral to other organizations. A handful of men and women, assumed to be torture victims, entered the healing center while Porter talked about his CVT work in the United States and overseas. His role is not rehabilitative, according to Porter, who had just returned from the Middle East and was preparing to fly to Africa. He spends up to three-months a year abroad working in mainly two initiatives. One is building capacity for humanitarian organizations on five continents to operate their own torture treatment programs. CVT provides grants, technical assistance

and training. Porter also oversees CVT-run programs in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Jordan, all ravaged by civil wars or hosting large refugee populations, to build their own sustainable programs by training teachers, nurses and others to deal with the mental health needs of torture victims. He has overseen the training of more than 150 paraprofessionals who can act as counselors or advocates for victims of torture. “In places like Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where there are very few, if any, qualified counselors to work with highly traumatized war survivors

and torture survivors,” Porter said, “we will leave behind a cadre of people who are very skilled and experienced in dealing with highly traumatized populations.” Torture rehabilitation is an expanding global human rights movement of some 200 organizations that provide for or advocate for torture victims. Torture is

work for three years in the 1990s in post-war Eastern Europe. That’s a long ways from his boyhood home of Spirit Lake, Iowa. His father traveled internationally for Berkley, the fishing and water sports manufacturer founded in Spirit Lake. “My dad would be gone for a week or two and come home and tell me what he learned and saw and

“In places like Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where there are very few, if any, qualified counselors to work with highly traumatized war survivors and torture survivors,” Porter said, committed by more than 100 nations, according to the CVT, to control populations through fear. The Minnesota center was the first in the U.S. to provide comprehensive client care programs. Founded in 1985, medical personnel, social workers, psychologists and others aid those dealing with victims’ psychological and physical trauma. In addition to client services in Minnesota – now home to an estimated 30,000 victims of torture – and its international efforts, CVT also aids other U.S. torture treatment centers, conducts research, and sponsors public policy and educational programs. Porter’s position is a good fit for him. He’s had a long interest in international affairs, and did humanitarian

did in Europe, East Asia and Canada,” Porter recalled. Porter read all the time about distant locales, and he studied maps until he knew them by heart. His family moved to North Dakota, where he finished high school, but he returned to Iowa to enroll at Iowa State. Three older sisters preceded him on campus. He focused his studies on Asian politics and history, and also spent a year studying in Taiwan. After graduation, he took several career turns, all with an international flavor: a government job, two graduate degrees from Yale (including international studies) and employment with a nonprofit development agency where he ran several programs in southern Africa. In 1996, four months

after the Dayton Peace Accord was signed, he was on the ground in Bosnia for humanitarian support. War in the former Yugoslavia had raged since 1991. Most of the fighting was over, yet curfews were in place and tension reigned. “It was kind of grim,” Porter recalled. “It was extremely depressed – a lot of people were out of work.”

Midwest. He was aware of CVT’s reputation of being a leader in torture treatment and prevention, and he’s pleased to have landed at CVT. “I feel extremely fortunate to be able to work in this field that does get me overseas frequently and live close to home.” Porter’s work is challenging and exposes him

“we will leave behind a cadre of people who are very skilled and experienced in dealing with highly traumatized populations.” He lived in a relatively safe city, but he once was held at gunpoint and his vehicle stolen by “youthful thugs.” He called the work, for a United Methodist relief organization, both challenging and interesting. “I thought I’d give it six months just to see if I liked the work, the country and the organization, and I ended up staying three years,” Porter said. Returning to the U.S., he wanted to remain in humanitarian work while coming home to the

to an aspect of our world with which few Americans come into contact. Clearly, the need for his services and those of his organization outweigh what they can accomplish. Yet, they see results. Speaking to members of Congress in 2007, Porter stated, “Clients consistently report having increased hope, better coping skills and improved relations with others after receiving help from CVT.” sj


White House Work

Alyssa Staley, behind VP Dick Chaney, poses with White House interns.

Student and GOP ‘veteran’ Alyssa Staley interned in the Bush White House. Many wanted the internship – 1,500 applied and only 90 were accepted. The position was in the White House working in the George W. Bush administration. Alyssa Staley was a Republican Party veteran at age 19. The now-senior political science major at Iowa State served as a field representative for the Tommy Thompson for President campaign in 28 western and northwestern Iowa counties. Then she re-set her goals. “If I could be a field rep at 19, I could go and do bigger and better things,” said Staley, a tall, former high school athlete from Charter Oak, in Crawford County. “I learned to set my goals higher.” Several letters, essays and interviews later, Staley landed an unpaid internship from January to May 2008 in the White House Office of Political Affairs, which falls under the Strategic Initiatives Office. The White House had some 10,000 workers, 90 percent of whom didn’t work in the White House itself. Staley toiled in the nearby Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Her job was to track issues and review the political atmosphere in eight southern states, from Texas to Florida. Staley scanned newspaper web sites and other sources and wrote political briefs that eventually became part of the briefings for President Bush. “I learned pretty much everything there was going on in those states,” she chuckled. Although an intern, Staley was given considerable responsibility and she believed she contributed a lot. “I actually felt like I was an assistant,” she noted. “I felt like I was part of the office. I was blessed in what I got to do.” Staley also spent several weeks helping organize a major White House leadership summit. And she was one of the


few interns called to duty for the Republican National Committee in the White House’s Political Office. Although the work was taxing and the hours were long, Staley enjoyed participating in several White House activities. “I was able to attend several events on the South Lawn,” she recalled. “It’s an honor to attend events there.” She was present when championship sports teams came by for presidential recognition, and she saw Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the White House. “I was only six feet away from the Pope,” she said excitedly. “He was driving by waving from his ‘Popemobile.’” Staley also met Barney and Mrs. Beasley, the two White House dogs known for sometimes running through the offices late in the day. “It was kind of neat to meet the First Dogs, too,” Staley laughed. Staley, who also played softball and ran track, helped lead Charter Oak-Ute High School to the Class 1-A state basketball championship in 2005. A year later she was set to page in the Iowa Legislature for Speaker of the House Christopher Rants following the hoops season. However, the Bobcats advanced to the state tourney again, and she had to tell Rep. Rants, “Sorry. I have to be a week late. We have another state championship to win.” Her team settled for third place, but Staley had an excellent experience in the Statehouse. “It was then that I really fell in love with politics,” she recalled. Rep. Rants encouraged Staley to volunteer for a presidential campaign, which led her to Tommy Thompson’s organization. After Thompson withdrew from the race, Staley worked for Tom Latham’s congressional campaign. (See story on page 11.) After graduation, Staley’s plans to attend either law school or a public policy school. However, it’s most likely politics will remain in her future, she said. sj

Schumacher dances to a new university position Longtime political science adviser now works for the university’s Honors Program.

The person who for 17 years in political science was often considered “the face of the department” is no longer in Ross Hall. Dana Schumacher, the department’s academic adviser since George Bush – the first George Bush – lived in the White House, now works for the university’s Honors Program as the Assistant Director for Scholarship and Research. Schumacher served political science from 1991 until moving up the sidewalk to the Jischke Honors Building last summer. She considered her political science position “a great job” at the university. “It had to be a great job – I basically wrote it,” she laughed. Although her new position is housed in the Honors Program, Schumacher’s work is university-wide. She recruits students and helps them apply for national

fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Truman and Goldwater scholar programs. She also coordinates the spring undergraduate research symposium and the research grant programs. When Schumacher started in political science, she was a half-time adviser, but she watched the job as it “grew and grew and grew.” Even before she took on the role, she suggested to her friend and former next door neighbor, Jerry Shakeshaft, a longtime political science professor at Iowa State, a departmental adviser was needed. Shakeshaft was the undergraduate coordinator at the time, and the department was growing, rapidly increasing his workload. “Jerry was carping one day about all the extra work he had, and I suggested they get a professional adviser,” Schumacher recalled. A couple years or so later, she

had the job. She immediately clicked with political science students, a group of young people “who want to make their mark on the world,” she said. “Political science attracts a pretty amazing group of students. They are motivated to affect change. “Their desire to do good things made them so great to work with.” She proudly talks about all the GSB and other campus leaders she has advised, and all the alumni who hold important positions in government, business, law or politics. She maintained a strong network of political science alums. “They are creative students who can do some amazing things,” she said. “It made it a very fun program to advise. It tested my creativity.” Schumacher literally knew everyone connected to ISU’s political science department, from high

schoolers investigating the program to students to the active alumni base. A Los Angeles native, Schumacher grew up dancing. She joined a dance company at age 18 while in college, and although she enjoyed performing, it sapped her time. “I figured out that if I wanted to graduate, I’d better quit.” She did, but joined another company and danced “off and on.” She has taught dance on the faculties at Iowa State and St. Thomas University in Minnesota, and still teaches ballet weekly. She even danced in an Iowa Lottery commercial a few years back, getting about five seconds of air time in the spot. “I never had a student who saw that commercial know it was me,” she said laughing. sj


Faculty Updates Kim Conger has spent the past year doing research on the role of religion in American politics, teaching and advising students, and running after a toddler. Her research on politically active evangelical Christians has given her many opportunities to reflect and comment on the 2008 elections both in Iowa and nationally. With seed-grant money from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she traveled to Virginia for two weeks in June to interview young evangelical activists in both parties as they prepared for the fall campaigns. She’s also been hard at work at a variety of publications and conference presentations throughout the year, and was elected chair of the Religion and Politics research section of the American Political Science Association. She’s teaching Religion and Politics, and American politics for both undergraduate and graduate students this year.

David Cunningham is enjoying his second year as a professor in the department. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the duration and termination of civil war. This summer, he spent several weeks in Europe, attending a workshop in Vienna and giving a presentation in Zurich. This year he is teaching classes on African politics, research methods, and the graduate introductory seminar on International Relations. Kathleen Cunningham is once again teaching comparative politics this year, along with a course on international security. Last summer she presented her research on ethnic conflict in Zurich, Switzerland and during the fall has presented work in Boston, MA, Iowa City and Claremont, CA. She continues her work on ethnic and nationalist conflicts, as well as a new project on the origins of support for democracy in countries with forced regime change.


Matt Potoski spent an enjoyable year on sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Management. He learned a lot, made some new friends, and enjoyed living in a lovely part of the country. He’s excited to be back in the classroom and hopes he is not too old to try some new tricks. Richard Mansbach continues to scribble and has published a new text, a new edition to his reader, and a book of essays—old and new. (“When you are asked to do a book of essays, it is a clue that you have been teaching a very, very long time.”) He continues to teach courses in international relations and, if our economic situation persists, will probably do so for several decades more! He also continues to travel. In recent months he has given papers in Slovenia, Italy, and Kyrgyzstan. He returned from the last of these with a broken ankle owing to an energy shortage which led to a blackout and a hole in a street due to the theft of a manhole cover that was presumably melted down for profit. He hopes the past year has been a productive one for all of you. Beyond his administrative duties, James McCormick engaged in a number of teaching, research, and service activities during the past year. In the area of teaching, he continued to teach U.S. foreign policy, assist with the Orientation to Political Science course, and directed or served on several graduate committees. In the area of research, he published a chapter on U.S.European relations in an edited volume on America’s “War on Terrorism,” (Lexington, 2008) and has completed a chapter on public opinion and future American foreign policy for inclusion in an edited volume entitled New Directions in U.S. Foreign Policy (Routledge) that is expected in January 2009. He also completed revisions on the fifth edition of his American Foreign Policy and Process text, that was published in January 2009 by Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. He presented papers at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association and at a joint meeting of the American

Council on Quebec Studies and the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States during the past year. In the area of university service, he was elected chair of the University’s Chairs Cabinet and was appointed to the University Budget Advisory Committee. He continues to serve on the African-American Studies Search Committee for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and on the Board of the Engineering Policy Leadership Institute in that College. In the area of professional service, he was elected Vice-President of the Foreign Policy Analysis Section of International Studies Association and organized the foreign policy panels for the meetings of ISA in February 2009, acted as an external reviewer for the Department of Political Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and as an external evaluator for promotions at two other universities, and served on the National Screening Committee for Fulbright applications to New Zealand. Finally, he continues to review manuscripts for several disciplinary and subfield journals and to serve on the editorial advisory boards for Paradigm Publishers and Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

In 2009, Alex Tuckness engaged in research on issues of punishment and mercy as well as public administration. He has an article forthcoming in American Political Science Review titled “Punishment, Property, and the Limits of Altruism: Locke’s International Asymmetry.”   It examines the legitimacy of states using force to punish war criminals or stop crimes against humanity in cases where doing so is not in the interests in the state in question.  He published an article on “John Locke and Public Administration” in Administration & Society.  He also taught a new course earlier this year that will become a required course for MPA students in the future called “Foundations of Public Administration.”  In August he stepped down as director of graduate studies, but will continue to teach in the MPA program in the future.

Robert Urbatsch spent the year savoring not only having professors in the department less senior than him, but also no longer being last in alphabetical order (welcome, Regina!). Following these triumphs, the goal for this year involves getting the department to hire a professor taller than he is. When not scheming on that front, he continues to teach courses in political economy and research methods.

Mack Shelley was appointed Director of the Public Policy and Administration Program, and Director of Graduate Education, in August 2008. He also became a Faculty Affiliate in Iowa State’s Institute for Social and Behavioral Research, where he conducts externally-funded research on health, education, and other policy areas. He serves as a member of the Media Experts List for the American Statistical Association, to address media-related questions on such topics as aging, elections and voting behavior, and public opinion polling. In April 2008 he was an invited external consultant for the College of Education at the University of Georgia, on developing UGA’s Education Policy and Evaluation Center; also during ISU’s spring break he gave an invited talk on education policy at the University of Central Florida. He continues to conduct research in the area of electronic government. This included serving on the planning committees for the “YouTube and the 2008 Election Cycle in the United States” conference to be held April 3-4, 2009 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the International Conference on Electronic Government 2008 conference held October 23-24, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia. He was appointed a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards for AE: American Government (McGraw-Hill) and TS: Political Issues (McGraw-Hill). Recent publications include the forthcoming book Quality Research in Literacy and Science Education: International Perspectives and Gold Standards (Dordrecht, NL: Springer), 2 book chapters published and 3 more forthcoming, 3 articles published in refereed journals (Journal of Management in Engineering, Educational Technology & Society, and IEEE Transactions on Education) and 2 forthcoming in Rural Sociology and Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice. His funded research and evaluation has been conducted with support from the Iowa Department of Education, National Science Foundation, Iowa Department of Elder Affairs (using federal pass-through funding from the Administration on Aging and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Public Health, U.S. Department of Education, and Ames Community School District. Presentations were given at conferences sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Association for Science Teacher Education, Department of Statistics at the University of Central Florida, College of Education at the University of Georgia, Lewin Group, Midwest Political Science Association, ISU Learning Communities Institute, Iowa Department of Elder Affairs, Add Health Users Conference at the National Institutes of Health, American Statistical Association, American Political Science Association, Iowa Educational Research and Evaluation Association, Aging and Disability Resource Center National Meeting, ISU’s Research Institute for Studies in Education, and the Department of Political Science.


Alumni Updates Keegan Kautzky joined The World Food Prize Foundation in 2008 as the Director of National Program Development & Outreach and is responsible for managing the national expansion of the Foundation’s youth and educational programs. Rachel Faber Machacha is the Education Abroad Adviser at Oregon State University. Rohini Ramnath is now with Teach for America in Washington, D.C., after returning from a year’s study at the University of Ghana as a Rotary Scholar. Also working with Teach for America are Julia MacMillan and Nathan Chiaravallotti. Students attending graduate school are Basil Mahayni (University of Minnesota), Jessica Maves (Penn State), Devin Hartman (Indiana University), Karin Brandt (MIT), Jon Haugo (ISU), Ryan Jaehrling (ISU), Rachael Voas (ISU), Rose McAndrew (Arizona), Damien Snook (Ohio), and Rachel Miller (ISU). Nathan Swanson is at the University of Cairo on a Rotary Scholarship. Michael Wiederholt and Arthur Sciortion were commissioned as officers in the US Navy upon graduation. Scott Anderson, Tommy Parker and Eric Bryer are serving with the US Marine Corps. Recent grads attending law school are Katie Madson (Drake), Tim Reineke (Iowa), John Kvinge (Minnesota), Jordan Navara (Drake), and Valerie Berg (Lewis & Clark). Hyung Lae Park received his Ph.D. from Purdue and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Jackson State University. He teaches American Government, Public Opinion, Voting Behavior and Methodology. His research area is voting behavior in general, focusing on minorities voting behavior. Charity Nebbe has published her first children’s book Our Walk in the Woods with Mitten Press. She and her husband have two children. Martha Pope, Christelle Lauen and Kimberly Hope work at Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS), an international education non-


profit organization. Shannon Paseka is a project and research associate with the Iowa League of Cities. Michelle Wilking works with the Social Security Administration. Kent Hartwig has returned to Iowa after many years with the Minnesota Legislature, and now works with the Iowa Department of Veteran Affairs. Nick Nahirniak lives in Seattle and is a Procurement Agent for The Boeing Company. Tarneka Harrison is pursuing her Masters in Family Life Education and finished her second play, “The Storm Is Passing Over.” Jude Igbokwe is Division Administrator over the Labor Market and Workforce Information Division at the Iowa Workforce Development. Michael Farley is the Business Finance Manager for the Business Development Division of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Anthony Kassekert is a Ph.D. candidate at the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. On December 12, Sara Mitchell visited the Political Science Department. Sara is an ISU (class of 1991) alumna and was a Political Science and Economics major. She got her Ph.D. at Michigan State University in 1997 and was a faculty member in the Political Science Department at Florida State University for seven years. She is currently an associate professor of Political Science at University of Iowa. During her visit, Sara gave a research presentation entitled “Domestic Law Goes Global: How Domestic Legal Traditions Influence International Courts” which is from a book project she has with Emilia Powell. She also met with faculty from the Political Science Department, as well as with graduate students and undergraduate majors. In an email, Sara said of her visit, “I really enjoyed visiting the department and meeting with professors and students. It is wonderful to see how much my alma mater department is thriving!”

Lloyd Axworthy (center), President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg and former Canadian Minister of Foreign affairs, gave the seventh annual Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science at Iowa State on Oct. 30. He is flanked by Ambassador Charles Manatt and his wife Kathleen Manatt. Thomas and Elizabeth Phelps and the Manatts established the lecture in 2002.

Alumni Association award to Williams Paxton Williams, a 2000 political science and communication studies graduate, received Iowa State’s Young Alumnus Award by the ISU Alumni Association in the fall. The award goes to a graduate age 40 and under of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who has excelled in his or her profession and provided service to the community. Williams is the executive director of the George Washington Carver Birthplace District Association in Diamond, Mo. He portrays Dr. Carver in “Listening to the Still Small Voice,” a one-man play on the famous scientist’s life, a production that Williams first created while an Iowa State student.


Making a Difference The Department of Political Science at Iowa State University is committed to providing outstanding opportunities for the university community. In order to have the resources necessary to take our programs into the future, support for the department is essential. We want to provide scholarships to support our very best undergraduate majors and graduate students as well as recognize faculty excellence. To help make a difference, simply fill out the form and mail to: ISU Foundation, 2505 University Blvd, Ames, Iowa 50010-8644. For more information about making a gift to the Department of Political Science or including ISU in your estate plans, please contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Development Office at 515-294-3607 or Erin Steinkamp at

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Political Science 503 Ross Hall Ames, IA 50011-1204

07 P09:03 I wish to support programs in Political Science at ISU. Enclosed is my gift of: _____$1000 _____$250 _____$100 _____$50 Other $_______________ Please specify the fund that should receive your gift: _____Student Scholarships _____General Development _____I will request that my employer match my gift My employer is _________________________________________ Please charge my credit card. _____ VISA Card #_______________________ _____ Mastercard Exp. ________________________ _____ Discover Signature____________________________ Date____________ Phone # and e-mail ____________________________________

On Politics 2009  

Alumni newsletter