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Political Science

SENIOR PROJECTS AND STUDENT RESEARCH

Melissa Harris Haislop ’11
China’s Environmental Crisis: The Effects of Modernization
China’s modernization has brought significant wealth to the country, but it has also created a major environmental crisis that affects China and the world. The effects are devastating to China’s environment, and the problem has now become one of global concern as the effects of the pollution spread globally. China must find a remedy for the environmental crisis, but the cost of the rehabilitation of the environment could well terminate China’s economic growth.

Elisabeth Maddrell ’11
A New Facebook Application: How the First Amendment Applies to Facebook
Facebook has become a social networking phenomenon, reaching 500 million users in 2010. However, with the explosion of daily usage, the question of whether or not the First Amendment applies to information shared and disseminated through Facebook has arisen. Many think of Facebook as a quasipublic arena to post private information, but what happens when a private post becomes public? Is that speech protected under the First Amendment? The First Amendment is cherished by all Americans; however, as decades have passed, the interpretations of the Amendment have mirrored the progressions of society, and as Facebook grows in popularity, so do the legal cases surrounding it. The cases of Tinker v. DeMoines, Bethel v. Fraser, and Pickering v. Board of Education shed light on how the courts will rule on Facebook cases. Although there are some varied distinctions that Facebook cases raise, the Supreme Court has set a precedent that First Amendment rights outweigh all others as long as the educational environment is not hindered in any fashion.

Kimberly Parker ’11
Clinton v. Obama: Presidential Health Care Reform Agendas
In both 1992 and 2008, health care reform was a major presidential priority. President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama used different strategies to pursue their reforms, and one was more successful than the other in the passage of legislation. This study used political scientist and presidential scholar Paul Light’s theory of presidential agenda-setting to compare and contrast the two approaches, focusing on the relative significance of five factors: popularity of the president; party unity and control of Congress; public opinion about the policy issue; the effects of rhetorical strategies; and the size and timing of the policy window.