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Three Political Science Majors Among University’s 2016 Top Ten Undergraduate Scholars

L-R: Timothy Hibbard, Frederick Swanstrum, Alex Belisle. Brian Angers Photos

L-R: Timothy Hibbard, Frederick Swanstrum, Alex Belisle. Photo by Brian Angers.

The School of Public Service’s Political Science Department may be small, but it’s making a big splash on campus and beyond. Political Science majors Alex Belisle and Timothy Hibbard, along with Political Science and Communication double major Frederick Swanstrum, have been honored as 2016 Top Ten Scholars, the highest honor Boise State awards to undergraduate students. Honorees were chosen based on academic success (3.8 GPA minimum), breadth of coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations, and extracurricular community and campus service. Awards were presented at a reception on April 21 in the Stueckle Sky Center by the Alumni Association in conjunction with the Honors College.

All three honorees credit outstanding Political Science professors for contributing to their success in the classroom and beyond.

“Dr. Ross Burkhart has been with me since day one at Boise State University,” explains honoree Timothy Hibbard. “As a first generation college student I had no one that I could turn to for academic advising, so Dr. Burkhart was critical to my success early on in my academic career helping me plan for graduation on a four year track.”

Alex Belisle credits Dr. Brian Wampler for challenging him in his academic pursuits. “From the first class I took with Dr. Wampler, I was challenged to read dense literature more effectively and produce quality analysis. Further, Dr. Wampler was integral in choosing Florianopolis, Brazil as my study abroad destination for the summer of 2014. Since, he has connected me with research opportunities both at Boise State and in the community and has continued to challenge me academically in the political science masters program. Dr. Wampler represents the ideal faculty who is committed to empowering students inside and outside of the classroom to elevate their experience and learning.”

Dr. Lori Hausegger and Dr. Stewart Gardner changed Frederick Swanstrum’s outlook on the world. “Dr. Hausegger is a brilliant professor who sparked my interest in the law and challenged me to be a better student. Also tremendously brilliant, Dr. Gardner taught me the value of being human and helped me to look for joy in every moment that I am alive – a lesson that no textbook could teach.”

All three honorees have future plans that include service in the public interest. Swanstrum intends to work in the public sector and attend law school. Hibbard will begin working on a PhD in Political Science at Michigan State University this fall with the goal of becoming a faculty member at an R1 research institution, focusing on both teaching and research. Belisle will remain at Boise State another year, continuing his studies in the new political science masters program this fall and graduating in the summer of 2017. He plans to continue working on special initiatives at Boise State in multiple areas and putting his passion for social enterprise to work.

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