McCormack Speaks

Local Graduate Students Prepare for International Studies Association Convention


McCormack Graduate School students prepare for ISA annual conventionIntended to prepare students from the greater Boston area for their presentations or panels at the International Studies Association (ISA) 58th Annual Convention to be held in Baltimore later this month, the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies hosted local scholars to exhibit current research or to deliver papers related to the convention’s theme of “Understanding Change in World Politics.”

Students and faculty from across New England who are presenting at ISA as well as students who had research related to international relations were invited to present. Nine PhD students participated in the event ̶ predominantly women and including international students from Afghanistan, Columbia, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia.

Abigail Kabandula and Polly Cegielski, who both study global governance and human security at UMass Boston, organized the event and welcomed attendees to the research forum.

McCormack’s Dean David Cash noted, “This event highlights the leadership of our students who brought together their peers and faculty to explore the connections among research across the globe and how graduate studies at UMass Boston can directly contribute to the research being done on international challenges.”

UMass Boston and UMass Lowell faculty also served as chairs for the two student panels and participated in an afternoon faculty roundtable discussion.

Focusing on the environment, natural resources and migration, the first panel included one student from UMass Lowell and four doctoral students from the McCormack’s Graduate Program in Global Governance and Human Security: Jeremiah Asaka, Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy, Christopher Graham, and Theresa Sommers.

The second panel centered on themes of human security and international organizations. Participants included one student from the University of Connecticut and three from UMass Boston: Charla Burnett, Polly Cegielski, and Abigail Kabandula.

A special speaker from ISA, Professor Lembe Tiky addressed the event at lunch. As director of academic development at the organization, he supported this pre-ISA event, commenting how such occasions can forward the aims of the professional organization by increasing discussion and sharing of knowledge. Tiky also highlighted how students can become more involved and promoted the Junior Scholar Sessions at ISA.

Following the faculty roundtable spanning research on African and global development, the Arab uprising, and the role of women in peace and security, Graduate Program Director Stacy VanDeveer, wrapped up the all-day event. He said, “Events like the pre-ISA are beneficial to building a community of scholars at the local level that can expand outward, increasing connections and building networks within academia.”

On February 22-25, 11 PhD students will join faculty members J. Samuel Barkin, Marie Breen-Smyth, Maria Ivanova, Darren Kew, Jane L. Parpart, Jeffrey Pugh, Karen Ross, Timothy M. Shaw, and Stacy D. VanDeveer as invited presenters at the convention.

McCormack Graduate School and its Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance sponsored the event with additional funding provided by the student club, Cohort Conversations.

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