Reviewing the second year PSL scholars advocacy projects has been very informative and insightful for me, as it has provided me with a deeper understanding of the problems we face in the US and abroad. What I liked viewing the most were the projects that addressed climate change, specifically citing dietary changes people can make to fix help the problem. What interested me most about this is the fact that changing your diet is a solution that anyone can do, unlike many solutions to climate change that require governmental measures to be made. This inspires me to make a project that addresses these issues next year.
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- Global Awareness: I want to research and eventually complete a study abroad program that will complement my major of Political Science, but more specifically a program that will focus on foreign policy. I also intend to look into joining the Alexander Hamilton society, as they are a foreign policy club that has a focus on my major.
- Original Inquiry: I would like to take advanced classes in the foreign policy side of Political Science that will prepare me for a job. I also plan on doing some sort of research, however I still have not quite figured out what specifically it will be.
- Academic Enrichment: I plan on joining various clubs such as the Alexander Hamilton society that have a focus on my major. By taking rigorous classes, I will also expand my knowledge of the subject.
- Leadership Development: I can join a club and set the goal of getting to a high up leadership position. This will force me to develop leadership skills by making me organize people and logistics. Moreover, developing leadership skills in college will prepare me for life in the workforce and make me more marketable to employers.
- Service Engagement: I plan on completing community service in both Columbus and in my hometown of Washington, DC.
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For my mentor interview I sat down with Allen asking him questions mainly about his upbringing and his parents influence on his world views and political views. Allen is Jewish-Russian; his parents moved to the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union-although they had been planning it for some time before hand- with only a few hundred dollars, and they now live comfortable lives in the Cleveland suburbs. Allen says that being both Jewish and Russian is a big influence on who he is as a person and what his views are. As a secular Jew, what he likes most about his faith is the unique cohesiveness and group identity that being Jewish provides, as he is able to befriend other Jews easily. Allen’s parents immigrated to the US from a socialist country with very little basic human freedoms; this has had a great influence on shaping his political and life views, as he is an Economics major, and President of College Republicans. Given that he is a Russian Jew, and both groups have experienced an extraordinary amount of suffering throughout their history, this also plays a role in his views. When I asked for his thoughts on Russia, Putin and Crimea today, he provided me with a uniquely Russian perspective, calling Putin a “strong leader,” and the annexation of Crimea was justified. On Putin, Allen just wants what is best for the Russian people, and Putin has improved the quality of life for them since he has taken office. His perspective on Crimea somewhat surprised me, given that the mainstream consensus is that the move to annex Crimea was totally inappropriate. Allen told me that sometime in the 80’s when the USSR was still around and still organized into separate Republics, the Russian Republic gifted Crimea to Ukraine temporarily as a gesture of goodwill, despite the fact that the vast majority of people living in Crimea speak Russian and are ethnically Russian. In the days of the USSR this had no serious affect on the people living there, given that it was still the same country, however after the fall of the USSR, Russia wanted it back but the Ukrainians refused. Thus, Allen views the annexation as Russia taking back territory that was rightfully theirs. While I disagree with what he had to say, I find the rationale very interesting as this is not a perspective commonly discussed outside of Russia.
Federalist Paper November Question
Congressional apportionment in the house is a very important issue, especially in today’s day and age where the demographics of the nation are changing so rapidly. Demographics in the country are a critical issue because they reflect the propensity of a party to keep a seat in Congress, or to capture a seat. Moreover, apportionment presents an important issue to the country because it is unfair to have the voice and vote of one district’s electorate to have a larger voice than another. It is possible to change Congressional apportionment in the House to make it “fairer” for everyone, by passing a law that ensures every district in Congress has the same population.
To create a system that eliminates the possibility of one district’s electorate having more voting power than another can be achieved through means of proportional redistricting. This means that Congress would pass a law requiring all of the districts in the country to be the same size. For example, Wyoming has a population of 579,315 citizens and only one district, compared to Montana’s population of over one million citizens to only one district. This gives the electorate in Wyoming more power in an election. A law that would ensure all districts to be the same size could be capped at a number like 250,000, or as close to that number as mathematically possible for a state, given that it will be impossible to get exactly that number. A small number like this would increase the number of districts from 435 now, possibly having negative side effects, while also having the benefit of promoting equality, so districts with a smaller electorate do not have a disproportional amount of power in Congress. Another side effect of this would be in the size of districts. In New York City with a population of over eight million, there would be roughly 32 Congressional districts, whereas in Wyoming there would be just two, making the size of the two in Wyoming much larger than those in New York City.