Washington and Toronto Courses

PL SC 177: Politics & Government in Washington DC - Trip to Washington DC - Spring Break 2015 - March 7-15

The political science program will be sponsoring a student trip to Washington DC over Spring Break 2015 (March 7-15). The trip is a required portion of the course POLSC 177 (GS).  The class is taught by Dr. Robert Speel, associate professor of political science at Penn State Behrend.

The exact itinerary will not be determined until February next year, but on past such trips, the group has met with all of our local members of Congress, with officials at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the US Institute of Peace, and the embassies of Australia, Romania, Botswana, India, Ireland, Canada, Jamaica, Estonia. Bulgaria and Indonesia. We have toured the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Department of Justice, the US Capitol, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the C-SPAN studios. We have participated in seminars held in the Supreme Court chambers, Ford's Theatre, and the Federal Reserve Board room.  Among the highlights of the trip will be meetings or tours with Penn State Behrend alumni who work on Capitol Hill, for federal government agencies, as policy analysts, or as political consultants in Washington.

We always visit Arlington National Cemetery and all the most famous monuments and memorials. Free time is provided to visit museums such as the Newseum, the International Spy Museum, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the various Smithsonian Museums, as well as the National Zoo. Students have also attended major sports and entertainment events in Washington DC during the evening. Students should be aware that most of the places we visit during the week are only available to student groups in Washington and not to individual tourists. Some of the places we visit may provide the only opportunity some will have in their lives to tour certain government buildings or meet with certain officials in Washington.

The trip is associated with the political science course POLSC 177 (GS), and students will be required to sign up for either a three credit or one credit version of the course in order to take the trip.  The three credit version of the course will involve weekly class meetings before and after the trip, to be held on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 4:15 PM.  We will meet twice a week in February and then end early in April. Most of the time in Washington is also considered class time.  In addition, the three credit version of the class will involve assigned readings, quizzes, some research, and short papers appropriate for a three credit course.  

The one credit version of the course will include participation in the trip and a 10-page paper to be written after the trip.  It is intended for students who would like to participate in the trip to Washington, but who don't necessarily need a three credit political science course. 

The three credits or one credit can be used for both the political science major and minor in the subfields of American government or international politics. The course can also be used to fulfill the "Crime and Public Policy" area requirement for the Crime, Psychology, and Public Policy certificate. And students in all majors can use the course to fulfill GS general education requirements.  Some majors will allow the course to fulfill other specific requirements. The course and trip are open to students in all majors.  There is no prerequisite.

In Washington our group will stay at the Virginian Suites hotel (www.virginiansuites.com).  The hotel is located in Arlington, VA, just across the Potomac River from Washington, and is a brief walk from a Washington Metro (subway) stop.  Each room in the hotel contains two queen-sized beds, a pull out sofa bed, a full kitchen, television, furniture, private bathroom, and closet space.  A chartered bus will transport students between campus and Washington.  

Dr. Nicole Shoenberger, assistant professor of sociology, will be joining us on the trip. 

The cost for the trip, per student, for 8 nights stay in the hotel and the bus transportation to Washington, will be $450 for students who stay 3 to room (by utilizing the sofa-bed).  The low cost of the week in Washington is thanks to financial support from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Endowment Fund and from the Office of the Penn State Behrend Senior Associate Dean for Research and Outreach. In addition, Barbara Welton, a Penn State Behrend political science alumna and advisory board member, and an Erie attorney, has donated funds to cover the costs of places that charge a fee for tours or briefings.

Students will also be responsible for their own food and incidental expenses while in Washington, including subway tickets.  Students will be able to eat meals cheaply in their rooms if they prefer by using the kitchens present in each room. We will generally go to lunch at area food courts.  Students should plan on bringing or having available approximately $200 in personal spending money.  ATM bank machines are available at the hotel and throughout Washington.  Penn State students registered full-time in Spring 2015 will incur no additional tuition costs for the course or trip.

Brochures with a full explanation of the trip are available at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences office (170 Kochel). To register for the trip and course, students must submit a non-refundable deposit in the form of cash, check, money order, or credit card in the amount of $150 to Penn State University, along with a completed course fee form, emergency contact form, and background information form, to Jackie May in the School of H&SS Office, 170 Kochel, by December 4, 2014  The forms are available from Dr. Speel  or the H&SS School Office.

The $150 will serve as a non-refundable deposit to reserve a space on the trip.  The remaining cost of the trip will be due to Jackie May by January 29, 2015. 

For more information about the trip and course, pick up a copy of the brochure, or email Dr. Speel (rws15@psu.edu) with any questions.

Toronto Course - PL SC 299/499 - Canada/US Relations

This course is next scheduled to be offered during Summer 2016.

Summer 2014

This course, which focused on the comparative politics of the United States and Canada and on international relations between the two countries, took place on the Ryerson University campus in downtown Toronto.

Penn State and Ryerson University students at the entrance to Mackenzie House, home of the first mayor of TorontoPenn State and Ryerson University students at the entrance to the CN Tower

(left) Penn State and Ryerson University students at the entrance to the CN Tower
(right) Lying on the CN Tower glass floor 1122 feet above the ground

Penn State and Ryerson University students at the entrance to Mackenzie House, home of the first mayor of TorontoPenn State and Ryerson students at the entrance to Queen's Park, home of the Ontario Provincial Parliament

(left) Penn State and Ryerson University students at the entrance to Mackenzie House, home of the first mayor of Toronto
(right) Penn State and Ryerson students at the entrance to Queen's Park, home of the Ontario Provincial Parliament

Entrance of the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in TorontoFlamingo exhibit at Toronto Zoo

(left) Entrance of the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto
(right) Flamingo exhibit at Toronto Zoo

Penn State and Ryerson University students watch the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins at the Rogers CentrePenn State and Ryerson students guard a cannon at Fort York, site of a famous War of 1812 battle between Americans and the British and Canadians.

(left) Penn State and Ryerson University students watch the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins at the Rogers Centre
(right) Penn State and Ryerson students guard a cannon at Fort York, site of a famous War of 1812 battle between Americans and the British and Canadians

Past PL SC 177: Washington, DC Trips 

Spring Break 2013 - March 2-10

This weeklong trip to Washington, DC was part of the Politics and Government in Washington, DC course. Students were required to sign up for either a three credit or one credit version of the course in order to take the trip.

Photos from the 2013 Washington, DC trip

Included here are photos of our group with Senator Bob Casey in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda, with Senator Pat Toomey at his office conference room, with Representative Mike Kelly in the House Ways and Means Committee Room, with Representative Glenn Thompson on the Capitol Steps, at the Albert Einstein Memorial, under the flags of the Organization of American States, in front of the Spirit of Haida Gwaii sculpture at the Canadian Embassy, and at the front entrance to the Bulgarian Embassy.

 
DC TripDc tripDC TripDC Trip
DC Trip 2DC Trip 1DC TripDC Trip