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Midwest Political Science Association Conference 2019
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Gabriella Giotto

Liberal Arts Major(s): Political Science, French
Minor: Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Hometown: Sewickley, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience was being able to talk to professional researchers within my field and meeting other undergraduates researching women in politics. The conference is one of the biggest within the political science field, and I was able to meet researchers whose work I had included in my thesis. During my poster presentation, many people were very appreciative of and impressed by the work I had done and gave me great advice for its continuation.

Attending this conference gave me confidence in myself and in my work

How did this experience impact you academically?

Before being accepted into this conference, I had never done anything this academically prestigious. Attending this conference gave me confidence in myself and in my work that my hard work had paid off and that I deserved to be there. As said before, researchers attending the conference gave me great advice on how to best continue my project while encouraging me that the work I had already completed was great.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

Many researchers I talked to during my presentation offered advice on my post-graduate plans. I am planning on taking a year or two to work (most likely for a non-profit organization and/or a presidential campaign) and then attending graduate or law school. Some people I talked to said this was a good idea and that they regretted not doing the same because a lot of higher education schools like to see students working in their interested field of study before attending school. Additionally, this experience further motivated me to devote my time fighting for and researching women's issues such as abortion within the political field because legislators really do impact our everyday lives, and it is so important to be able to understand them.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

Without being encouraged to join Paterno Fellows my freshman year, I never would have been given the opportunity to write a senior thesis and therefore attend the MPSA conference. Paterno Fellows gave me confidence in myself as an academic and pushed me to challenge myself within and outside of my courses. I feel that I truly belong in this category of Paterno Fellows/Schreyer Scholars because the program has improved my academic confidence so much.

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