Jays attend one of largest political science conferences in U.S.

Sarah Wertz February 13, 2013 0

Seniors Jillian Casey and Julia Ward and assistant professor of political science Dr. Kyle Kopko presented an original research paper, titled “And the Medal Goes to….: The Politics of the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” at the Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 4th.
The paper was the first empirical analysis of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. As part of their analysis, Casey, Ward and Kopko assembled the complete database of all Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients since the award’s inception in 1963. They collected data up to the most recent award ceremony in 2012. They also collected data from the achievements that presidents recognized when awarding the Medal as well as the systematic differences between Democratic and Republican presidents.
Casey, Ward and Kopko presented their paper at the Southern Political Science Association’s annual meeting, which is one of the largest political science conferences in the country. Casey, Ward and Kopko knew each other well before getting started with the project and knew that they would work well together. “For this particular project, there really weren’t any negatives in the coauthoring experience,” Kopko said.
The research paper was the end result of a long process of performing data analysis and writing. Dean of Faculty Fletcher McClellan thought of the research question and approached Kopko about the idea of working on the project. In June 2012, the group started the data collection process and performed the data analysis. Although the paper was presented to the conference in January, they plan on continuing to work on the project to include any new Medal recipients for 2013. “2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and if we could include new observations in our analysis for submitting the manuscript for peer-reviewed publication, I think that would be ideal,” Kopko said.

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