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Political Science MPP Students Present at Western Political Science Association Annual Conference

MPP Students
MPP Students who will present original research at the Western Political
Science Association's annual conference in March in Hollywood, Calif.
L-R: Taylor Roschen, Emily Ludden, Meagan West, Llanee Anderson,
Melissa Sparks.

The Political Science Department is proud to announce that five MPP students were accepted to present papers at the annual conference of the Western Political Science Association (WPSA) in March 2013.

Founded more than 60 years ago, WPSA aims to foster an understanding of government, politics and public affairs. More than 1,000 political scientists participate in the association’s annual conference.

Presenting a paper at an academic conference enhances students’ learning experiences, hones research and presentation skills, and provides opportunities to network with academics in the political science field. We congratulate these students on their acceptance to the conference. Read more about their projects below:

Llanee Anderson – Hate Crimes

This project investigates perceptions of hate crimes utilizing focus groups that allow for the examination of the role of group composition in the construction of hate crime perceptions. In addition, this project examines the social learning of hate crime perceptions within and across each focus group. To determine how demographics, group composition and social learning impact the perceptions of hate crimes, this project seeks to understand the question: How does social environment and diversity condition the social learning of hate crime perceptions?

Emily Ludden – Plastic Bag Bans

Several local jurisdictions in California are attempting to reduce pollution and waste sent to landfills by implementing second-generation bag bans, which ban the distribution of plastic bags and charge a fee for supplying recyclable paper bags at grocery and retail stores. To enhance the success of second-generation bans, the study seeks to assess how increasing the fees, or economic incentives, on paper bags will impact consumer behavior. Ultimately the project aims to discover the threshold that is most effective at disincentivizing plastic and paper bag usage and thus promote the use of reusable bags.

Taylor Roschen – Urban Development

The more recent “new urbanist” and “smart growth” approaches to urban development have marked a rejection of suburban lifestyles and instead has promoted a massive in-migration of wealthy upper- and middle-class families into downtown cores. With an influx of financial capital and demand for luxury housing, developers have found their niche in the inner-city where, traditionally, vacancy rates are high, housing prices are low, and opportunities for improvement are endless. Following this trend, residents of these previously low-income areas are at risk of being displaced. This paper seeks to identify the impact of gentrification on neighborhood characteristics, most specifically its displacing effects on low-income urban populations. Additionally a series of commonly employed policy alternatives intended to reduce this displacement within several inner-city boroughs of New York City will be evaluated for their effectiveness.

Melissa Sparks – Wetlands Legislation

This project examines the most current wetland legislative bills proposed in California from 2000 to 2012. It tracks more than 230 bills through the legislative process to identify the barriers that prevent wetland policies from becoming chaptered into law and further implemented. This study provides recommendations on how to navigate around these barriers and shepherd environmentally-related wetland conservation legislation through the process. 

Meagan West – Farmland Preservation

The Williamson Act’s responsibility for preserving more than 16 million acres of both prime and nonprime farmland is essential in mitigating farmland development in California, and yet its
effectiveness has recently come under great scrutiny. This research seeks to examine the patterns in acreage enrollment, the quality of land enrolled, non-renewal of contracts, and new enrollments, all of which are key indicators of the effectiveness of the program. The study will also contextualize the current circumstances of California’s financial crisis to assess its impacts on the act’s ability to preserve farmland. In doing so, the project aims to contribute to a greater understanding of the actual effectiveness of the Williamson Act and the feasibility of its continuation.

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