Michigan Political Science Association conference bringing politics to the forefront at UM-Flint

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Northbank Center on UM-Flint's campus
The Michigan Political Science Association conference will come to the UM-Flint campus, Oct. 19-20, and feature such speakers as former state senator Jim Ananich.

While the topic of politics can lead to division and heated debates at the dinner table, it will soon spark unity and deep discussion at the University of Michigan-Flint as the Michigan Political Science Association conference comes to the downtown campus. The conference, open to all students, is scheduled for Oct. 19-20. Jim Ananich, UM-Flint alum, former state senator and current CEO and president of the Greater Flint Health Coalition, will speak at the MIPSA event the evening of Oct. 19 while the Oct. 20 luncheon will feature UM-Flint alums sharing insight about working in public service.

The conference will also feature topics ranging from global conflict to civic education as well as the annual discussion on the U.S. Supreme Court's past and upcoming term. Additional roundtable discussion topics include AI in the classroom and papers on immigration, local politics and voting.

Kim Saks, assistant professor of political science and MIPSA president-elect, is responsible for bringing the conference to campus. She said that events like these offer multiple benefits, with the first being a showcase of what a student can do with a degree in political science. "This is a great event for all students, especially for those about to enter the workforce," said Saks. "The conferences will be full of opportunities for students to gain new insights, make new contacts, and get involved."

Kim Saks, assistant professor of political science and MIPSA president-elect.
Saks teaching a political science class.

While some students who major in political science attend law school or work in electoral politics, others take on various roles within the government, nonprofits and in policy positions. For example, Maeko McGovern, a senior public health major and political science minor from Flint, began conducting research that could have an impact on how students receive support services on campus. Another example is Terae King Jr., a senior political science major and vice president for the Flint Community Schools Board of Education.

"Political science is a rich study of power, systems, behavior and theory," said Saks. "The classes we offer at UM-Flint help students develop skills that allow them to effectively assess structures of power, understand behavioral patterns, history, policy and theory. Political science is an area where theory meets practice."

Saks said that students also have plenty of opportunities to apply what they've learned in their political science classes by getting involved in organizations like the national political science honor society known as Pi Sigma Alpha, the Pre-Law Society, student government, Greek life and campus resources like the Center for Gender and Sexuality.

"We have some of the most active students on campus who tend to pop up anywhere and everywhere," said Saks.

According to Saks, the conference also gives students a chance to network with one another as well as alums. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to speak with graduate students about coursework and post-graduation plans.

"We have alumni everywhere, and they love to give back to our students and share their expertise and advice," said Saks. "We all form lasting relationships and stay in touch."

Students interested in registering for the conference can do so by clicking here. For more information about the UM-Flint political science program, visit its webpage

Madeline Campbell is the communications specialist for the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].