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Political Science Major Selected to Present Thesis at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Siena College political science major Alicia Munian ’15 has been selected to present her honors thesis at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Munian’s capstone advisor Laurie Naranch, Ph.D. encouraged her to submit her research.

“Alicia’s Capstone research project is innovative, well researched, and well written. I thought it would be an excellent paper to submit to a competitive undergraduate research conference like NCUR,” said Naranch, who is the Political Science Department chair. “It’s a testament to the high quality of her independent scholarship that she was chosen to be a presenter.”

Munian’s research, titled “The Plight of Ethic Minorities in Long Island Politics: Elmont, NY,” was selected from more than 3,700 submissions.

Munian entered Siena as a biology major before switching to political science in her sophomore year. She has been involved in politics in her hometown of Elmont, New York since she was 17 years old.

Her experience at home sparked Munian’s interest in her thesis topic.

“Throughout my time in politics, I have experienced issues with racial discrimination and witnessed racial tensions throughout my neighborhood,” said Munian. “I observed how minorities were being disenfranchised by the majority party on numerous accounts.”

Munian’s goal was to understand why instances of racism still persist in modern society and what can be done to change the way that minorities are viewed within political systems.

“It is interesting to see that by empowering minorities, we can equalize the playing field and give them a better sense of political efficacy,” said Munian.

Munian will be one of seven students and the only political science major from Siena to attend the conference at Eastern Washington University in April.

Selected for her important and unique contributions to the political science field, Munian believes her research relates directly to Siena’s core Franciscan values.

“My paper recognizes diversity as an important aspect to democracy, something we all must strive to achieve,” said Munian.

Munian will continue to spread her findings by distributing her research to her hometown community. Eventually, she would like to see it published in a scholarly journal.

Munian’s journey to Washington for the conference is funded by Siena’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. CURCA allows students the opportunity to develop skills while working with faculty members to research something they are passionate about. Approximately 100 Siena students have their research funded and supported by CURCA each year.

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