The Oakland University chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, recently sent eight students to present their research at the annual Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference, which was held Feb. 15-17 in Washington, D.C.

“For this conference, students exploring topics across political science are encouraged to submit research proposals,” said Dr. Terri Towner, an associate professor of political science and Pi Sigma Alpha chapter advisor.

“This includes the many subfields that make up the discipline — American politics, international relations, political philosophy, public policy, and more. Proposals are selected for presentation by a committee, so it is a competitive process. Our students presented both quantitative and qualitative research in a variety of political science subfields.”

The eight students who were selected to present at the conference are all political science and international relations majors in their junior and senior years. They include:

• Alex Bertges

• Ghazi Ghazi

• Ajay Gill

• Jacob Gorton

• Marco Micheletta

• Destinee Rule

• Sean Seelman

• Christina Walker

“I presented a research project titled, Not in a Thousand Years: Looking at Rhodesia Through an English School Lens,” said Walker, who is also co-content editor of the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Research Journal and treasurer of the Pi Sigma Alpha Nu Omega Chapter at Oakland University.

“This work discusses how Rhodesia (pre-Zimbabwe) was able to enter international society, despite going against the norms of global society at the time. In today’s context, it can help us to understand why nations that do not fit into the way Western Civilization sees a democratic country, can still be tied into this interconnection of states in international relations.”

For Walker, presenting at the Pi Sigma Alpha conference provided her with “an opportunity to work on my public speaking skills, network with other students interested in topics like me, and also professors from across the country.”

“It allowed me to receive feedback on my work and hopefully to be able to continue the paper and eventually have it published — even possibly in the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Research Journal,” she added.

According to Towner, this year marked the first time that Oakland University had eight students presenting their research at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference.

“This is the first time we had this many presenting at the conference,” she said. “We have presented before, but not in this amount. It was truly an ‘OU moment.’”

In addition to the eight students who presented, several OU alumni who are now living and/or working in the Washington, D.C. area participated in a panel discussion on Feb. 17 about going to graduate school, navigating law school, getting an internship, and living and working in the nation’s capital.

For more information about the conference, visit

To learn more about the Oakland University chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha visit