Political Science, 2012

    Uses and Abuses of the CBO and the Rhetoric of Nonpartisanship
    Jon Lucas
    Mentor: Daniel Skinner

    Many political scientists have studied the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan body responsible for scoring the financial impact of legislation, but few have placed it in a fully political context. This paper critically evaluates the role that the CBO has played in American politics, both in terms of budgetary prediction and a source of legitimacy in political debates. Through a careful examination of Philip Joyce’s new study, The Congressional Budget Office: Honest Numbers, Power, and Policy Making, I argue that to fully understand the CBO we must consider not only what it does, but how it is used rhetorically in political debates. My research draws upon close re-readings of recent political controversies, specifically the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act of 2010, to see what a rhetorical rethinking of the CBO’s role in these debates tells us about the politics of budgetary projections more generally. My hypothesis is that recasting the CBO as an institution that plays a central role in political debates reveals a significant divide between what the CBO says in its reports and how politicians use those reports.

    Stages of the Study Abroad Experience: A Qualitative Approach
    Bradford Rush, Megan Boissiere, Abbie Carver, Noeru Matsubara, Eric Smith
    Mentor: Brian Wallace

    Many students and faculty are aware of study abroad. Few understand the stages involved in this process and the emotional roller coaster that results from cross-cultural immersion. The purpose of this project is to create a booklet for students considering study abroad. This booklet explores the different stages and moods of overseas study, from first considering going to another country to the reverse culture shock of returning to the US. Our methods were qualitative, using personal reflections, expressive art, photography, and journal entries to convey a heartfelt sense of how these stages affect the student personally. Among our findings is: Returning to the U.S. is often a more difficult adjustment than leaving home and going to another country. We believe this work will help prospective students gain a deeper understanding of what they go through, thus helping them better prepare for the experience.

    The Role of the United States in Chinese Adoptions: A Saving Grace or a Contribution to Sexism and Feminicide
    Bobbi Wilson
    Mentor: Brian Wallace

    International adoption is a popular practice in the United Sates. China is the biggest provider of children for adoption to the United States. In this study, I consider implications of Chinese adoption for the United States. China’s One-Child Policy and their preference for male children have led to many female children being given up for adoption. I demonstrate how the Chinese use adoption as a way to help control their population by giving United States unwanted girls. I examine existing research and publically available data and compare China to other countries to see the effects of these adoption practices. Based on this study, I maintain that the United States is contributing to the maintenance of China’s One-Child Policy, but doing so unintentionally and for the benefit of the girls at risk. Support for considering such practices within the realm of human rights violation is needed to inform the United States government of the costs and risks of public policy supporting these adoptions.