Two students represent NIU at West Point for Student Conference on United States Affairs

Kaitlynn Carter, left, and Gary Timmins, right, meet SCUSA 63 banquet keynote speaker Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Kaitlynn Carter, left, and Gary Timmins, right, meet SCUSA 63 banquet keynote speaker Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Two University Honors students – Kaitlynn Carter (political science) and Gary Timmins (political science and psychology – served as NIU’s delegates to a prestigious undergraduate conference in early November.

Carter and Timmins participated in the 63rd Student Conference on United States Affairs (SCUSA) at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The purpose of the annual four-day conference is to allow excellent students to work together to examine and discuss selected aspects of U.S. public policy. The goal is to increase students’ appreciation for the complex nature of policy-making.

SCUSA also seeks to connect the future civilian leaders of society with the nation’s next generation of military officers.

Students have the opportunity to work and eat with the cadets as well as sleep in the same quarters, affording them a behind-the-scenes perspective of life at West Point.

Approximately 225 outstanding students representing roughly 140 colleges and universities from around the world participated in SCUSA 63.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Thinking Beyond Boundaries Contemporary Challenges to U.S. Foreign Policy.”

Carter was a member of arms control and proliferation roundtable, whereas Timmins served on the roundtable examining terrorism, insurgency and wars of the future.

Each roundtable of 15 to 20 students was charged with drafting a policy paper related to their assigned issue area and the conference theme.

Christopher M. Jones

Christopher M. Jones

This year marked the 10th year the Department of Political Science has selected student delegates and financially supported this engaged learning opportunity. Students are chosen based on their strong academic performance and their high achievement in U.S. foreign policy and national security policy courses within the political science curriculum.

Political science professor Christopher Jones secured one delegate slot for NIU in 2001 and a few years later was able to obtain a second invitation to allow two students to participate each fall semester.

Jones, who now serves as NIU’s associate vice provost for university honors and is a specialist in U.S. foreign policy, was invited to serve as a roundtable co-chair at this year’s conference. It was the fifth time Jones was asked to serve as a senior participant.

“SCUSA is an absolutely amazing learning opportunity,” Jones said. “It’s the type of experience that students identify as one of the true highlights of their undergraduate years at NIU.”

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