Kalamazoo Valley Honors Students Recognized for Outstanding Achievements



Kalamazoo Valley Honors Students have been Recognized for Outstanding Achievements at this year’s Michigan Political Science Association’s (MIPSA) annual conference. MIPSA is a nonpartisan state professional association of educators, scholars, students, and practitioners dedicated to advancing the systematic study of government, politics, and public policy. This association was founded in 1969 and is dedicated to the study of political science and fosters student research at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

One student is presented with the MIPSA Undergraduate Paper Award annually. This year, the community college recipient was Kalamazoo Valley’s Betsy Kooistra, a current Honors Program student. She titled her paper "Perception of Polarization: Impacts on Congress."

Each October the annual conference is hosted by one of its member institutions. In addition to Kooistra’s award winning paper, five other Kalamazoo Valley Honors Program students were recognized as the student paper award finalists at the conference, held on Eastern Michigan University’s campus on October 26 and 27. The students included Austin Ladd, Sarah Blok, Dakota McCracken, Katie French and Rebekah Bensley.

The call for papers welcomed instructors and professors of undergraduate levels to submit eligible student papers written to meet the requirements of an undergraduate political science course taught in the state of Michigan during the previous academic year. "All the honors student finalists developed their own original semester research project ideas and collected research to address a central question of American politics. Betsy Kooistra's paper won due to both her creative originality in developing her research project idea, and her well-thought out analysis of the data to draw some fascinating conclusions on partisan polarization and its impact on congress," Kevin Dockerty said. Dockerty, the chair of the department of social and behavioral sciences at Kalamazoo Valley is the instructor of the class, which the papers were written for, and also a former board member for MIPSA. “Participating in the conference is a good opportunity for our students to compete with other students around the state,” Dockerty explained.

“Our Honors Program is very writing intensive and in-part, the fact that our students were recognized at the conference, gives us validation. Honors students go through extremely rigorous English classes that enable them to create very well written research papers,” the Honors Program Director, Stephen Louisell said. “The education the Honors Program offers enables our students to be prepared to go to any four-year college or university they choose.”

For more information about Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Honors Program please visit www.kvcc.edu/campuslife/orgs/honors