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former graduate students
The Political Science Graduate Student Association (PSGSA) is an organization geared towards graduate student advocacy, news, and assistance for the Department of Political Science and International Relations.
The Fall 2022-Spring 2023 office holders are:
President: Stephen KippVice President: Spencer WhyteSecretary/Treasurer: Wenxin LiFirst Year Mentor Coordinator: Toms Ratfelders
The director of graduate studies serves as the PSGSA's faculty advisor. PSGSA always welcomes any graduate student in the department who wishes to help out in organizing and undertaking its activities.
Our mission, as stated, is first and foremost graduate student advocacy in the department: giving a voice to student concerns, prerogatives, and achievements. In service of this mission, the PSGSA will hold a number of town hall-style meeting open to student discussion throughout the fall and spring semesters.
PSGSA places at the top of its agenda the construction of a mentorship program for first-year students and assistance in designing a graduate student professionalization seminar for first and second-year students.
The PSGSA mentorship program aims to better integrate first-year graduate students within their new environment, concentrating on the team of graduate students, the department, the University of Delaware and the city of Newark. The program intends to match each first-year student with a senior graduate student (in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year) according to similar academic interests. The main role of the mentor is to answer the new students' questions and guide them throughout the first months of the program. Mentorship activities, once students have been admitted, will also serve as a further recruitment tool; new students are given an orientation in acclimating them to the department, the University and Newark. Incoming students are able to come on campus, visit the department and have lunch or contact their mentor if they have any questions regarding their future life in Newark.
By extension, the mentorship committee also ensures that former graduate students of the department continue to mentor current students, encouraging alumni to come home and share with us their professional experience and advice for our own career development.
The PSGSA will also provide advice to the department about designing a graduate student professionalization seminar. This course will be required for first year graduate students as a means of informing them of the many nuances to success in graduate school and the career of an academic. Furthermore, PSGSA will provide assistance to the department for any revisions to the graduate student handbook, curriculum, and/or clarifications of the requirements of the graduate program.
With these efforts, the members of the PSGSA hope that this organization will effectively advocate and express the needs and wishes of the department's graduate students. We hope these efforts will spark interest and greater involvement among the department's graduate students in crafting their experience at the University of Delaware.
For more information on PSGSA, please contact: Steven Kipp
For more information on the mentorship program, please contact: Tom Ratfelders
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President Stephen KippI am a fourth-year Ph.D.
candidate specializing in American politics and political theory. My
research broadly revolves around questions of U.S. environmental and
spatial governance—employing a policy feedback perspective to
illustrate how Federal geopolitical rationale and initiatives impact the
social. In this vein, my dissertation seeks to interrogate the
relationship between U.S. rural development policy at the Federal level
and political behavior in rural communities. Prior to matriculating at
the University of Delaware, I graduated from Western Connecticut State
University with B.A.s in history and political science, respectively.
Vice President Spencer WhyteI
am a third year Ph.D. student with research fields in international
relations and American politics. More specifically, I am interested in
historical IR and how state leaders' perceptions influence the foreign
policy decision-making process. Some of my recent work has applied IR
role theory to the politics of the post-Brexit UK.
Secretary/Treasurer Wenxin Li I
am a forth-year Ph.D. student. My research interests include
international relations of the Asia-Pacific, comparative regionalisms,
domestic politics-foreign policy nexus, Japanese foreign policy and
Chinese foreign policy. My dissertation proposes to examine Japanese
diplomatic capacity to shape the regional security order. I am
originally from China and received a Bachelor of Economics from the
University of Tokyo in Japan before joining the department.
First Year Mentor Coordinator Toms Ratfelders Second-year
Ph.D. student specializing in the international relations of the Middle
East. His particular interests are connected to the Gulf region and the
foreign policies of the small Gulf monarchies. Before joining the Ph.D. program in 2021, Toms worked as a journalist and hosted a discussion
show on foreign affairs — “The World in a Pocket” for one of the largest
online news sites in Latvia – TVNET. Toms has also worked as a civil
servant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, where he helped to
facilitate bilateral dialogue between Latvia and the Gulf states.