Conference presentation offers experience for Nicole Zeman ’17

Nicole Zeman ’17 of Sussex, Wisconsin, a political science major, recently presented at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference at George Washington University.

“It was an amazing experience to learn from other students, but also be able to share my knowledge,” Zeman says. “The presentation really reaffirmed what I already knew — Ripon College prepares us well.”

The conference brought together graduate and undergraduate students from across the country to present their research. Zeman’s thesis focused on the position of attorney general, both the flaws associated with the position and ways to fix them. Her thesis argued that the position is not politically neutral because of the connection to the president.

“When I picked the topic, I started by just analyzing the role of the attorney general,” she said. “I found information regarding the foundation, power and role of the attorney general, but then I started to find sources that analyzed the shift of the attorney general and the discussion of political neutrality. I realized the fundamental problem within the position, so I tweaked my thesis to include not just an analysis, but an explanation and suggestion on how to fix the role.”

Zeman proposed that the position would be more neutral and accountable if not chosen by the president, but by the United States Supreme Court. Zeman wrote her draft with advice from both Associate Professor of Politics and Government Lamont Colucci and Associate Professor of Politics and Government Henrik Schatzinger.

The conference was a great experience, Zeman says. “I really enjoyed meeting with students all around the nation. At the conference, there were students from universities and colleges all around the United States, and everyone covered a different topic.” The presentation was a good opportunity to learn from others and get constructive criticism on their research, she added.

Zeman will attend the University of St. Thomas Law School in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, on a 90-percent Dean’s Scholarship. She is interested in a career in juvenile services, helping troubled youths get on the right track. She says she’s grateful for what she’s learned at Ripon.

“Within political science and law, there are so many sub-topics and fields that you can choose to specialize in, or learn a little bit about all of them,” she says. “Politics and law require skills such as critical thinking that Ripon truly provides its students with.”

Megan Sohr ’18
Oshkosh, Wisconsin


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