Cal Poly Political Science Senior Project Meeting (Part 1 of 6)

Cal Poly Political Science Senior Project Meeting (Part 1 of 6)


Okay so let’s go ahead and get started welcome to the first annual mandatory senior
project meeting. Congratulations for making it. Okay, we have a very full schedule; we have
several informative presentations and also further advice on your senior projects and the like. I just
want to start off with a few comments on the senior project and completing your senior project. First off, we should recognize that the senior
project is really a rather unique experience and something that is quite particular to Cal Poly. It’s something
that distinguishes your degree here at Cal Poly. When you go out there on the
market, individuals from other universities are more likely than not to have not also produced a senior project. It is a way
to distinguish yourself and the senior project itself is described
as a capstone experience. And it very much is something that pulls together all
of the substantive knowledge and the analytical tools that you’ve developed during your time here at Cal Poly. But it’s also a forward-looking experience
as well. Many graduate programs and many jobs
as well will often ask for writing samples; it can serve that purpose. You can use it to look into career options
as well. If you’re looking into media issues and politics or campaign advising
Here’s your chance to do some specialized study If you’re looking into traveling abroad and seeking
opportunities in foreign countries this also allows you
some more specialized type of study. So the senior project
is a capstone experience, but it’s also very valuable for you think about where you’re going and your future as well. I guess the last thing that I’d
like to emphasize is that as chair of the department, as I see students work their
way through the program and hopefully finish the program, I want to emphasize completing the senior project
and your ability to complete the senior project. That’s going to be a sort of underlying theme throughout
the short presentations and I’d probably like to emphasize both how capable you are right now in terms of your preparation of your ability
to complete your senior project. But then also how difficult it becomes after
you graduate. Just consider these few things. One just about your peer environment right now,
surrounded by other students and also in your routine of studying, completing
assignments and the like. After you leave Cal Poly You are going to be somewhere else
you’re going to be looking for a job; you’re going to listen to your parents ask, “why did
you come back home.” You’re going to be i a completely different environment
and it’s going to be difficult to get into that mode of studying and of finishing your senior project, so that sort of psychology really
makes things difficult. Secondly, think of the resources that you
have right now. You’re able to access Kennedy library; you’re able to get a hold of journals and such, all because of your Cal Poly
enrollment and the password, you’re able to use that. When you leave cal Poly, you’re not going to
be able to do that and it’s going to become much more difficult to gather resources. You might have a local
public library that’s not going to serve your purposes
as well. If you’re near a university, it might have closed stacks and access
might be difficult as well. So Just simply getting access to resources is
going to become quite a bit more difficult as well. And then, finally, advising. Certainly after you’re gone from Cal Poly, if you
find you still need to complete your senior project. the faculty are all available up for advice,
but it’s just simply a little bit more difficult to have those head-on-head personal meetings with faculty. So all those things change so if you can think of your likelihood
of completing your senior project . . Well, I can draw it in a graph. Think of this as your chance of completion and this is time and you have your senior year and your graduation and the rest of your life right now your chances are
very high and the increase. I don’t why I put graduation . . ’cause it’s near. Once you do that it becomes much more difficult
over time believe it or not, every year our department
receives phone calls from individuals. I swear, who ten or twenty years ago were at Cal Poly
and they call and say, “you know something’s bothering me; I haven’t completed my
senior project.” And they muster up all the will they can and their capabilities and ultimately try to complete it. It digs at them over time. And so you really want to be able to complete your senior
project at the time when you have all of your resources for support that are in place. For the more visual learner . . . (draws a happy face then a sad face) We have a full program – I’ll let the student
presentations go head and start. Hi everybody, my name is Alex and I’m
a graduating senior. I’m going to talk a little bit about your research
question Before I talk about that, I think
there are two or three really important things you need to do before actually breaking into the senior projects.
The first thing is being actively engaged in your classes so you find something that you
are really passionate about and that you’re going to enjoyed doing over a quarter,
two quarters, or maybe even three. That’s the first thing; the second thing
is finding a teacher that you work well with and who is willing to work with you. I think everyone in the department is
pretty willing to do so, but finding somebody
who specializes in what you want to do is important With that being said, I think the big thing about the research question emphasizes
starting early for me, I kinda got an idea of what I wanted
to do but until I start talking to Dr. Moore a lot more I didn’t realize that it wasn’t as specific as it needed to be
and it wasn’t as directed as it needed to be. So talking early, getting that idea, but talking to an adviser really early on is I think, it’s really the key in developing
a good question because for me I remember talking to Dr. Moore last winter Had an idea of what I kinda wanted to do He said, “okay we’ll talk about it” and kept
talking about it through last spring Still a lot of research over the summer. Came
back in Fall and thought I was going to start
it then. I wasn’t ready, didn’t have the precise question I wanted to, but I actually started this last winter, pretty much done with it right
now. so really taking your time and refining it as much as your can that’s really the key and getting a good
project. I thought the research question portion was like that’s the portion when you’re actually going to
think and is actually gong to be hard, hard work because the rest of it that I’ve gone through is mostly just putting in time, doing research, writing.
that’s just time but giving, allowing yourself enough time to think
through everything that’s really where I think the hardest work
lies. so with that being said, I think starting as early as you can is really
where you need to start and if you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late but putting in the amount of time it takes just
to think things through is really the important thing. I don’t have too much more for the research question but I’m sure we’ll give Q&A later. So, I’m Julie. I just finished in winter, so my project is
done and I didn’t really think about it for a
long time. I started in January and finished in March. I wish I had more time to think about it. That
would have been good. I actually ended up doing
a lot of my research question formation while I was doing the
research and I guess my biggest recommendation would be to research
everything. Even if you don’t think you need to read about something because it doesn’t
seem like it relates.

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