By Carlyn Jorgensen

Carlyn Jorgensen is a student in the conflict analysis and resolution doctoral program. Jorgensen is also an adjunct professor of political science at Broward College, where she teaches state and local governments and national government online. Last semester, she presented a paper she had written at the Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Conference.

In November 2015, I traveled to Philadelphia to present at the Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Conference. I had never heard of the organization until I saw a call for papers earlier in the year. I was definitely interested in presenting, as political science is my passion.

I submitted a proposal for a paper I had written for a class called Foundations of Genocide. The paper was on the role of the media in the Rwandan genocide, which occurred in 1994 and led to 800,000 people being killed in 100 days. I talked about the type of language the local newspapers and main radio station used to encourage people to participate in the genocide. I have been studying genocide for over 10 years now, and wrote my master’s thesis on genocide prevention.

I had presented the paper in Boston in 2014, but that was a student conference. The Northeastern Political Science Association conference is one for students, professors and individuals working in the field of political science. Therefore, I would be presenting in front of people with more knowledge and experience than me. Needless to say, I was very nervous about presenting.

However, my presentation went very well. I was on a panel that contained two other students, as well as two professors, and I was the only female presenter on the panel. Unfortunately, I was the last presenter, which definitely increased my nervousness. Luckily, the other presenters did a fantastic job and were very kind. My presentation went well; members of the audience asked me very good questions, and my panel chair gave me valuable feedback at the end of the presentation. I was told that my paper was very well-written and presented, which made me very happy.

I presented on the first day of a three-day conference, which meant I spent the other two days attending various panels. There were so many to choose from that it was difficult to pick which ones to go to. Luckily, every panel I went to was informative, and each presenter was well-prepared to present. I exchanged contact information with panelists whose papers I wanted to read, and I connected with fellow students and academics in the field.

I thoroughly enjoyed being at a conference in my chosen field and getting back to my political science roots. Although I am finishing a doctorate in conflict analysis and resolution and have greatly appreciated studying conflict from a variety of disciplines, political science has always been my great academic love. I read the BBC for international news every day, and I am closely following the 2016 election.

The Northeastern Political Science Association Conference was a wonderful experience for me. I was able to gain more presentation experience, reconnect with the political science field, meet some great students and professors and got to see the city of Philadelphia, a place I had never been before. My advice to my fellow NSU students is this: if there is a conference you want to attend, do your best to make it possible for you to go. You will not regret it.

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