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Mia Armstrong is a senior at ASU majoring in global studies and journalism. With the assistance of the Global Studies Travel Grant offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies, Armstrong was able to attend the annual American Political Science Association (APSA) meeting.
Armstrong co-presented a paper on the U.S. military’s handling of sexual assault cases. They analyzed military disposition of cases dispositions using data from U.S. military bases in Japan.
As part of the Junior Fellows program, Armstrong has been working with political science Professor Carolyn Warner for nearly two years on this project.
“I've been able to learn a lot from Dr. Warner,” Armstrong said. “Not only on the subjects that we've researched, but also on the process of doing research — how you gather data, conduct interviews, write articles for journals and attend academic conferences.”
Once she returned from the conference in San Francisco, Armstrong shared some of her experiences:
Question: What were some of your takeaways from completing this research?
Answer: The military justice system is an incredibly complex system. Because I'm interested in a career in law, it has been really interesting to dive into the complexities of a legal system independent from the civilian system most of us are familiar with. Additionally, this research sparked the idea for my honors thesis, which I'm conducting on media coverage of military sexually assault, a topic which blends my two majors (global studies and journalism).
Q: What was it like presenting your work?
A: It was incredibly difficult for us to condense what we had been researching for two years into a ten minute presentation! Beyond that though, it was unbelievably rewarding to be able to share our research and to get feedback from other researchers from around the country and the world. Moreover, attending the conference gave me lots of ideas of the different paths I can potentially take after finishing my undergraduate degrees.
Q: What advice would you give someone who was looking to have a similar experience?
A: Don't be intimidated! Conferences like the APSA can be overwhelming, especially as an undergraduate. But the truth is that everyone there is there because they want to learn and share — as long as you want to learn and share as well, you'll have a great experience!
For those who are interested in gaining research experience, approach your professors! My involvement in this project started with me sending a cold email to Dr. Warner during the fall of my freshman year because I read about her research on the SPGS (School of Politics and Global Studies) website and was really interested in it. SPGS professors are doing amazing work; don't be afraid to ask how you can get involved.”