Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

School of Public Service News

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.

Accomplishments Recognized!

au40-500The Idaho Business Review’s Accomplished Under 40 has a distinct School of Public Service flavor this year, with multiple faculty and alumni making the prestigious list.

Here are the Accomplished Under 40 honorees with their School of Public Service connections:

  • Dr. Amanda Ashley, Assistant Professor, School of Public Service
  • Todd Cranney, Managing Partner, Riverwood Strategies, Eagle (Cranney has taught in Boise State Political Science Department)
  • Jess Harrison, Director of Communication and Government Affairs, Idaho School Boards Association, Boise, Boise State MPA
  • Jayson Ronk, Director of State Government Affairs, Micron Technology, Boise State MPA
  • Dr. Justin Vaughn, Associate Professor of Political Science

“The inclusion of our faculty and alumni on this prestigious list is a source of pride for the School of Public Service and the University,” states Corey Cook, Dean of the School of Public Service. “We are reminded regularly of the many achievements of our graduates and the impact of our full time and adjunct faculty in the community, but it is nevertheless inspiring to see our School so well represented in the Idaho Business Review’s list of honorees. Our faculty, staff, and students share a deep and demonstrable commitment to public service. We congratulate all of the awardees and all of those who contribute to daily to their communities and the state of Idaho.”

The Idaho Business Review Accomplished Under 40 program honors 40 Idaho business and professional leaders who have achieved success before the age of 40.

Public Administration Students at City Hall

Service Learning: Wendy Jaquet's Public Administration students present their research findings to Boise City Mayor David Bieter at City Hall, Photo Patrick Sweeney

Photo: Patrick Sweeney


Public Administration Students Present Homelessness Recommendations to Boise Mayor Bieter
Public Policy and Administration Course Includes Strong Service Learning Component

Thirteen students presented their assessments and recommendations for tackling Boise’s homelessness crisis to Mayor Dave Bieter. The presentations, which were delivered at City Hall on April 20, examined the costs of homelessness to the community, analyzed the resources available to address it, and offered recommendations for reducing homelessness in Boise.

The graduate-level Public Administration in the Public Sector course is offered by the Public Policy and Administration department but draws students from a broad academic spectrum. In addition to Master of Public Administration majors, students come from disciplines as varied as Public Health, Criminal Justice and Political Science.

The project was facilitated by Public Policy and Administration Professor Wendy Jaquet and included a service learning component coordinated by Anna Bailey of Boise State Service Learning. Three teams of students delivered presentations to the mayor lasting 20 minutes each and utilizing large posters they created to illustrate their findings.

Photo Patrick Sweeney

Spencer Kelly presents as Boise Mayor Dave Bieter listens. Photo: Patrick Sweeney

For the service-learning project, the students served meals at Interfaith Sanctuary, participated in the city-led Point-in-Time Count, interviewed stakeholders invested in the homelessness issue, and attended continuum of care meetings. This first-hand, personal contact helped the students get to know the homeless population as people rather than just as data points.

The need for a diverse approach to the issue was a common thread throughout the three presentations. Public Health major Molly Volk sees collaboration across multiple disciplines as both a vital factor in solving the city’s homelessness problem and as an important aspect in the success of her team, which combined health, data, and law enforcement perspectives. “We learned that collaboration is of the utmost importance in Public Administration. This is something we learn in textbooks, but this project demonstrated how important collaboration truly is.”

Service Learning: Wendy Jaquet's Public Administration students present their research findings to Boise City Mayor David Bieter at City Hall, Photo Patrick Sweeney

Photo: Patrick Sweeney

Professor Jaquet adds, “The students worked hard on incorporating their experiences with the homeless community with the academic side of public administration. As a result I am sure that they are coming away from this class with both the practitioner and book-learning components of public administration. I am very proud of them.”

The presentations also examined the costs of homelessness to the community, estimated at $6 million annually in Ada County alone. On average, each homeless person in Boise is estimated to draw $60,000 fro m the safety net system. With this in mind, students saw the cost-savings advantage of a more proactive approach to homelessness.

Coordination of services across various public agencies and the private sector was another recommendation. Master of Public Administration student Chloe Ross stated, “Homelessness cannot be solved by one stakeholder. It must be solved by coordination among multiple agencies.” MPA student McKenzie Case added, “People who are experiencing homelessness come from diverse backgrounds and situations. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution.”

Photo Patrick Sweeney

Professor Wendy Jaquet and students listening to a presentation. Photo: Patrick Sweeney

Mayor Bieter expressed his appreciation to the students for the depth of thought and research they put into the project. “I’m really impressed and I don’t say that lightly. I’m really impressed by the way you’ve brought empirical data but also maintained the fact that these are not just statistics but are people.”

The mayor also appreciated the way the students avoided any “genie in a bottle” approach to the issue. “This is the toughest issue we have by far,” he said. “The level of discourse, the level of research, the level of conversation was very high. That’s what really impressed me.”

Former Congressmen Visit School of Public Service

on the blue croppedFormer Representative Tom Petri (R-Wisconsin) and Former Representative and Ambassador to India Tim Roemer (D-Indiana) visited with School of Public Service students on Sunday, April 17 and Monday, April 18.

Both former Representatives met with Boise State’s Young Republicans and Young Democrat Clubs, as well as meeting with Honors College students, Military Science students and Political Science students. Their visit also featured visits to Boise High and a a presentation to the Boise Committee on Foreign Relations.

The Frank Church Institute and the US Association of Former Members of Congress sponsored the Congress to Campus event. Congress to Campus brings former Members of Congress to campuses for the purpose of increasing civic literacy and participation in democracy.

Congress to Campus

Congress to Campus logoThe Frank Church Institute and the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress are sponsoring “Congress to Campus” on Sunday, April 17 and Monday, April 18. Two former senior members of Congress will be on the Boise State campus all day Monday.

School of Public Service students who are interested are invited to attend:

  • A pizza meeting on Sunday April  17, 6:00 pm in the Honors College, Driscoll Hall
  • Or a pizza lunch on Monday April 18, noon in the SUB Bergquist Lounge.

timothy roemerCongressman Tim Roemer, a former six term Democratic Representative from Indiana, most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to India, one of America’s largest diplomatic missions.  In Congress he focused on international trade and investment, education policy, and national security. He also served as a member of the 9/11 Commission. Since leaving Congress, he has served as President of the Center for National Policy; as a member of both the Aspen and the Washington Institutes; and as Senior Counselor to APCO Worldwide.  He holds a Ph.D. from Notre Dame University.

TommypetriCongressman Tom Petri is a former eighteen term Republican Representative from Wisconsin, where he focused on reforms in health care, welfare, and student loans, as well as transportation issues as Chairman of the Highways and Transportation Subcommittee. In addition, he served as Chairman of the U.S. House -British Parliamentary Exchange; the U.S. House-Japanese Diet discussions; and the House French and German Caucuses. For his work, he was made an honorary Officer of the British Empire; and he received honorary membership in the Order of the Rising Sun. He holds a law degree from Harvard University.

New Leadership Idaho

NEW 2016 will be May 22 – 28.  

UPDATE: Applications are no longer being accepted.

National Education for Women’s Leadership Idaho (NEW) is an exciting hands-on leadership program designed to inspire young women to become leaders in their communities.

College women from across Idaho are invited to spend a week in Boise learning about the important role that politics plays in their lives, studying leadership skills applicable in both public and private sector positions, addressing diversity matters and mingling with other students dedicated to making a difference in their communities. Students will have the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from many of Idaho’s local and state elected officials, as well as a wide variety of community and private sector leaders.

NEW Leadership is a national bi-partisan program developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP).  The program was designed to address the under representation of women in American politics. Participants represent a wide range of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial and educational backgrounds, and academic majors.


Politics for Lunch – LIV Boise

PoliticsforLunch_logoThis popular lecture series features local, regional, and state politicians and pundits in a casual lunch setting. Lectures deliver balanced, insightful presentations and discussions on the issues that challenge Idaho.

“Politics for Lunch” is held at the Andrus Center in Bodo. Our address is 301 S Capitol. Doors open at 11:30 and speakers begin at Noon. Lunch and lecture is $12; lecture only is $5.  Reservations are required and can be made via email. Just let us know how many are attending and if you would like lecture only or lunch and lecture.

Payment can be made online with Visa, MasterCard or Discover, or at the door with Cash or Check only.

Podcasts of past events are available.

Inside the Public Policy Research Center: A View to the Future

Eric LindquistJoin us for this Exciting Brownbag Session featuring Boise State Professor Eric Lindquist.

  • April 15
  • Noon
  • SUB Alexander Room

Eric Lindquist, Director of Boise State University’s Public Policy Research Center will give a talk titled Inside the Public Policy Research Center: A View to the Future.

Politics & Policy Brownbag Series – Understanding BRICS

BRICSFaculty, staff and students are invited to this Brownbag exciting series session.

  • Friday, April 1
  • Noon
  • Multipurpose Classroom 201

Cameron Thies, Director of Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies, will present a paper titled Rising Powers and Foreign Policy Revisionism: Understanding BRICS Identity and Behavior through Time.


Final Filibuster Session is This Week

2016-Idaho-Filibuster-Sessions-ImgurThis final session, at 5:30 pm on Weds., March 30, will be held at a *new location*, The Mode Lounge, 800 West Idaho St., at 8th St.

Several Boise State faculty and other experts will discuss the 2016 session highs and lows, in the context of our current national and local political climate. On the docket: how higher ed fared, the middling public schools budget, gun bills, and the lack of movement on health care reform in Idaho, and anything else you’d like to discuss!

Returning to the Sessions are Justin Vaughn and Jaclyn Kettler, both political science professors with relatively fresh eyes for Idaho politics and expertise in several areas of political science including rhetoric, campaign finance, legislatures and women in politics.