By: Nick Santangelo
Each year, Temple University honors the best research projects completed by its undergrad students by awarding $1,000 prizes through the Livingstone Awards. Six students are awarded the prize annually for their outstanding research, and two of this year's winners are from the College of Liberal Arts.
Recent graduate Paige Hill—who majored in political science and was Temple's 2018 student commencement speaker—won the Livingstone Award in the Social Sciences for her project, Gender Quotas as Strategy: Exploring the Relationship Among International Perceptions of Democracy, Transnational Influence and Female Representation in Sub-Saharan Africa. And Anna Manogue, a double major in Spanish and history, won the Livingstone Award for General Education Courses for her project, Protesting the Internment of Japanese Americans: Dissent as a Duty of Citizenship.
Originally from rural Maryland, Manogue wanted to experience a different, more urban lifestyle at college. "I knew as soon as I toured Temple—the first time I stepped on campus—everything is so vibrant, people look like they know where they're going," she recalls. "There are so many opportunities, and I really liked Philly. So I just knew that it was the place for me."
Manogue has enjoyed the city life in Philadelphia, finding time to get around town and explore some. But she also values the traditional college experience she gets at Temple's ever-growing main campus. That's meant "having the best of both worlds," she says.
"I have this college where I feel like I'm on a college campus. I feel like I'm at college, but then I just step across the street, and I'll be in a big city."
So that's why she chose Temple, but how did she end up researching Japanese-American internment camps during World War II? For all of America's great triumphs during that time, abducting Americans of Japanese descent and placing them in the camps is one of the darkest memories in the country's history. It's a memory many would just as soon forget.
It's a lot easier to do research when you're really interested in what you're researching.
As a result, while every American knows the name Ann Frank and is familiar with the horrors of Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz, few are as acquainted with what was happening in their own country during the same time period. Manogue came to research the topic as part of History Professor Ralph Young's honors-level Dissent in America course. Manogue admits she "actually didn't know much" about Japanese-American internment going into the project, but Dr. Young, who describes her paper as being "by far the best paper in the class," mentored her on the project.
"From what I did know, I kind of associated it with a lot of the same kind of trends that I see today in American politics and society about how Americans are reacting to immigrants today and how the current presidential administration is reacting to immigrants," Manogue says. "I really wanted to see how people responded to the Second World War, how Americans responded to such a flagrant violation of the rights of other Americans."
Monogue discovered that those who spoke out against this atrocity often invoked the language of the country's founding documents, like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Manogue thinks there is a lesson there for modern Americans.
"Their arguments were basically, 'We are American citizens, and you should give us the rights entitled to us in the Constitution,' she explains. "That's basically what kind of defines the United States, that document, and I think that's what people should do today when they see violations of those kinds of rights."
Manogue believes that the more Americans who are armed with this knowledge today, the more likely we are to avoid repeating this sin of the country's past. In addition to that advice for all Americans, she also has some words of wisdom specifically for Temple students interested in winning a Livingstone.
"Choose a topic that really interests you. It's a lot easier to do research when you're really interested in what you're researching. This was one of the first topics I recall that I actually really wanted to learn about it before I started researching."
Her research project behind her, Manogue—who was "surprised" and "honored" to win an award for the project—has plenty more to learn before she graduates in May 2019. And she's not planning on ending her studies there either—Manogue wants to attend law school after graduating from Temple.
Coming to Temple by way of Peekskill, NY, Hill immediately got involved with seemingly any and everything that interested her. She's been on the mock trial team; took a 400-level course in her second semester; studied abroad in at Temple Rome; interned at the Democratic National Convention, Planned Parenthood and the US State Department; and even took a course alongside inmates at a Philadelphia prison.
But it was her interest in gender quotas in politics that won the commencement speaker her Livingstone Award. For the project, she researched gender representation and international perceptions of women in democratic governments.
Much of Paige's research focused on "gender quotas," which require a certain number or percentage of elected offices to be held by women. The United States government doesn't have a gender quota, putting it on what Hill calls a "slow-track approach," with women starting grassroots movements they hope will eventually trickle up and lead to more women in office. Hill explains that this "hasn't been working too well." As a result, Hill spent much of her time researching nascent democracies where gender quotas are more common.
Wait, I did good research?
She discovered that post-conflict countries are particularly likely to write gender quotas right into their constitutions. But while this is effective in getting women in the door to government and making representation more diverse, it isn't a panacea. As a result of being a hardcoded law, it doesn't necessarily empower women because there is no ground-up push for female-created public policy. What the world might need most is
"I think in the international relations context, democracy targeted towards women's empowerment organizations could be really successful," Hill muses. "So looking at countries that may have a quota for women representation but don't really have that infrastructure in place, maybe donating aid or funneling aid specifically into associations for empowering women to fuel the pipeline of women in government. It's kind of a hybrid model of what we would use in the U.S. and pairing that with the gender quota policies."
Speaking of what's happening in the U.S., Hill is happy to see more women running for public office post-2016. A record number of women are running for the House this year, and they're performing well so far, too. Hill agrees that it's unfortunate that it takes an almost crisis-level event to spur this kind of movement, but she brushes it off with a laugh, calling it "the democratic process."
In any case, many women are now trying something they've never done before. Hill knows something about that, having used quantitative research methods for the first time during her project. She got a little help from Assistant Professor of Political Science Sarah Bush, who encouraged and tutored Hill. But while she was happy with her final project, she wasn't expecting it to win an award and felt "ecstatic" when it did. For Hill, it also validated her efforts.
She remembers her reaction: "Wait, I did good research? And people want to read it, and it's contributing to the field in some way?' I also found out about the award at the same time I was getting notifications to present at conferences, so it was a lot at once. I was able to present at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Undergraduate Conference in Washington, D.C., the Greater Philadelphia Women's Consortium at Villanova University, Turf Crews and then I'll be at the Political Science Undergraduate Conference at the University of Pennsylvania this weekend. So, it was kind of a lot happening at once for this same paper."
It was likely good preparation for speaking in front of a crowd at the commencement speech. And with Hill planning to continue her education with a master's in public policy or international relations and potentially even a PhD, there could be plenty more public speaking in her future.