Political Science Majors Present at West Point Conference

Katy Zielinski, Jack Wilson, Marist College, SCUSA

 By Katy Zielinski '18 

From November 1-4, 2017, Jack Wilson '19 and I had the opportunity to attend the Student Conference on US Affairs at West Point. I participated in the Foreign Aid and Development round table. Our policy outlined a plan of sustainable economic development through advocacy, community-led development, and improving accountability and effectiveness of foreign aid. Jack was a member of the China round table, which focused on their policy on the One Belt One Road Initiative. For two days, we worked with students from around the world to outline specific foreign policy suggestions for the current administration. During the final day of the conference, our groups presented our recommendations.

Each speaker through the conference provided insightful direction to our round table discussions. On Thursday, we attended a keynote address by Douglas Lute, a former US Ambassador to NATO. Aside from our round table discussions and guest speakers, the West Point cadets gave us a tour of their campus, created a weapons display, and answered our many questions about life at West Point. Overall, we both had an amazing time at West Point and are thankful for the opportunity to attend such a distinguished conference. 



Gabi Revis, Diana Carballo, SCUSA 68

 By Gabi Revis '17 (SCUSA 2016)  

From November 9th until the 12th, Diana Carballo ‘18 and I had the pleasure of attending the 68th Student Conference on US Affairs at the picturesque campus of West Point. This year’s theme was “Democracy and  Democratization,” which was very fitting as the US Presidential Election took place only a day before. I was part of round table discussions labeled Europe. During these discussions, we came up with policy suggestions for president-elect Donald Trump regarding what should be the US foreign policy towards the European Union. Diana joined the Latin America group, which focused on Venezuelan and Colombian politics and the US foreign policy towards the region.

At the end of the week, with the help of co-chairs of the round tables (all of whom were professionals with expertise in these certain areas), we presented our papers either in formal presentations or through creative skits. Diana and I had an amazing time learning not only about the topics covered in our round tables, but also about West Point in general. We stayed in the barracks, woke up during the early morning hours, and constantly asked the cadets questions about what their lives were like. Diana and I truly admired their work ethic and were very appreciative of their welcoming attitude. Overall, we had a great time at SCUSA 68 and wish we could be going back next year! 


SCUSA 2015, Madeline Albright, Autumn Kish, Joseph Pugliese, Marist College

 By Autumn Kish '17 (SCUSA 2015) 

 In November 2015, Joe Pugliese '17 and I had the opportunity  to attend the 67th Student Conference on U.S. Affairs. Held at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the conference was a memorable and thought-provoking experience.  

 The conference's focus was "Confronting Inequality," with particular attention given to questions of wealth, rights, and power. Joe delivered a round table presentation on climate
 change and I presented at the round table on demographics.
 Working with professors and cadets, delegates developed  papers and skits addressing complex topics in a relatively  brief period of time. In my session, I benefited greatly from the chance to learn about demographic issues faced by many regions, including Brazil, India, and Russia.

Living at West Point was a unique experience. I befriended many cadets and gained a new understanding of military life. I plan to invite Lauren, the cadet with whom I stayed at West Point, to Marist so that she can experience the vastly different academic culture here. One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to meet with former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (above, second from left), who delivered the conference's keynote speech. Since Secretary Albright has always been a role model for me, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to hear her talk on inequality and to meet with her after the lecture. The Conference was an unforgettable experience that helped me grow exponentially.


Nick Bayer, Dani Villa, SCUSA 66

 By Nick Bayer ’16 (SCUSA 2014)

 Last November, Dani Villa '15 and I had the opportunity to attend the 66th Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA 66) at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. SCUSA is an event designed to encourage collaboration between students of both military and civilian backgrounds. At the conference, students are placed into different round tables to discuss different topics and to create a policy suggestion at the end of the conference.
 The theme of SCUSA 66 was the politics and policy of crisis management. 

 Dani and I were both placed at the Coups and Constitutions round table, where we interacted with students from USMA and other regional schools as well as international students. With such a diverse group, many different perspectives collaborated and clashed throughout the discussions. At the end of the conference, all of the round tables met for a fun presentation of their discussions and findings from the week.

 As a conference participant, I got a glimpse into the exciting life of the West Point cadets. Living the life of sleeping in the barracks and eating in the mess hall was a drastically different experience from my time spent at Marist. As foreign as it was to me at first, I grew accustomed to the lifestyle by the end of
 the week and left with a greater understanding of military life. This, coupled with stimulating conversation, made our time at SCUSA 66 an enriching and unforgettable educational