University News

WNE Senior Political Science Major Presents Latest Research at National Conference

Published: March 11, 2024 | Categories: All News, Arts and Sciences

Public Attitudes toward Civil War Monuments

Maria Butrimas

Western New England University (WNE) is pleased to announce the outstanding achievement of senior Political Science major, Maria Butrimas, who presented her latest research at the Pi Sigma Alpha 2024 National Political Science Honor Society Conference on February 17 in Washington, DC.

The conference offers a dynamic platform for students to exchange ideas, receive constructive feedback on their research, engage in professional development opportunities, and establish connections with fellow students, industry professionals, and faculty members. The conference showcases presentations covering a wide array of topics within the field of political science by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty. Butrimas was one of over 100 honors Political Science students from around the world invited to present at the Pi Sigma Alpha conference.

Butrimas has been working with professor of Political Science, Dr. Tim Vercellotti, over the course of the last year on a project assessing the public's attitudes about the preservation and/or removal of Civil War monuments. The project arose from a class research paper that Butrimas wrote as part of Dr. Vercellotti's Political Analysis course, and then continued as a collaborative independent research project between Butrimas and Vercellotti.

Using data from over 2,500 participants in the Public Religion Research Institute's 2018 survey on American Values, Butrimas identified and tested eight hypotheses that focused on factors including education level, age, political orientation, and racial attitudes to predict individual's outlooks about how Civil War monuments should be handled. Among her proposed hypotheses, six were supported by the data and discussed in her presentation.

Butrimas' presentation was met with numerous positive comments from faculty members and peers, highlighting the importance of collaborative research opportunities at WNE. Reflecting on her experience, Butrimas emphasized how "such opportunities enhance students' academic journey and open doors to experiential learning beyond the classroom."

Dr. Vercellotti expressed his pride in Butrima's accomplishment, noting that "collaborative projects with students like Maria not only enrich their educational experience but also contribute to faculty members' scholarly growth."

Butrimas is currently in the process of applying to law school.