January 23, 2021

Students to Present at National Conference

Three University of Mary Washington senior political science and international affairs majors will be presenting scholarly research reports at a national research conference in Washington on Feb. 14. The Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Political Science Research Conference is sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha, the 600-chapter national political science honor society.

Katherine Johnson is a senior at the University of Mary Washington where she is studying political science and sociology. Her paper is entitled: “Venturing into a Minefield: Employer Practices in a Post Burwell v. Hobby Lobby State.”

Johnson hopes to enter law school in the fall with a focus on constitutional and civil rights law. She is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and she graduated from Girls Preparatory School.

Paige McKinsey is a senior at the University of Mary Washington where she is a double major in Women and Gender Studies and International Affairs.  Her paper is entitled, “Finding Meaning in Difference; Girls’ education initiatives in Kenya from the UN and NGOs.”

McKinsey is the current President of the feminist club at UMW where she has worked with students, faculty, and administration to raise awareness and bring about change on campus. In June, McKinsey will leave for Togo where she will serve as a Community Health and Malaria Prevention volunteer with the Peace Corps. She is from Effort, Pennsylvania and she graduated from Pleasant Valley High School.

Benjamin Hermerding is a senior at the University of Mary Washington where he is studying political science. His paper is entitled, “The Effect of Subjective Class on Political Beliefs in Virginia.”

Ben is an Alvey Scholar at UMW and is a research assistant with the UMW Center for Leadership and Media Studies. He is from Brainerd, Minnesota, and graduated from Brainerd Senior High School.

Pi Sigma Alpha has more than 600 chapters in the U.S. Over the past 20 years, Mary Washington’s political science and international affairs students have won nine national writing awards from the honor society, more than any other college or university in the nation.