Student Research

"Domestic Responses to the CEDAW Convention: Explaining the Wide Range Between Good Compliance and rejection with a Focus on "U.S. Exceptionalism."

Faculty: Dr. Susanne Zwingel
Student: Ashley Balbian (Class 2010)

Project Synopsis:
During the Summer of 2009, Ashley O. Balbian worked together with Dr. Susanne Zwingel as an Undergraduate Researcher. The goal of the research was to address why the United States – a self-declared world leader in women’s rights – has never ratified the Women’s Rights Convention (CEDAW), while almost all other countries with a much weaker record in women’s rights have done so.

The results of the research yielded interesting information. While the majority of Senators and the general public endorse the treaty, a significant minority of opponents have managed to block ratification for almost 30 years. However, there are a number of initiatives at the local level that have used the Convention to improve the rights of women. The project was presented at a Human Rights Conference hosted by the University of Connecticut in October 2009.


"A Fifty State Comparative Study of Gubernatorial Clemency."


Faculty: Dr. Jack McGuire
Student: Lauren Kline  (Class of 2011)

Project Synopsis:
Dr. McGuire and Lauren Kline are examining grants of clemency by state governors.  Their project began in the summer of 2009.  The central question they are attempting to answer is:  how and why does executive clemency vary across the states?

Currently, they have collected clemency data from the states of California, Louisiana, Missouri, New York and Pennsylvania. Lauren is a Presidential Scholar and will present findings from this study in fulfillment of this distinction. Both Lauren and Dr. McGuire have plans to present their findings at political science conferences in the future.