Student Bloggers

The following our the students blogging for American Public Policy in the Spring 2017 semester:

Sam picMy name is Samantha Bentley and I am a senior at Utica College. I will be graduating in December with a degree in Liberal Studies. I have played multiple sports since I was very young so I chose to do my blog on Title IX as it pertains to women’s sports so that I can learn more about the law that enabled me to do that. I also am currently the Director of Hockey Operations for the Women’s Ice Hockey team here at UC so I wanted to connect the effects of Title IX to collegiate women’s sports as well.


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Theressa thinks of herself as a “welcoming” person. She is an Economics Major at Utica College soon to change to Health Studies. She is currently taking governmental classes in order to learn more about the environment she was raised in. She has lived in Utica her entire life but has yet to eat at all the restaurants here. She likes to describe herself as a food lover with an interest in getting to know things thought out of bounds. She doesn’t like to stay an acquaintance for long, instead she opts for a deeper understanding of those around her.




Ben picMy name is Benjamin Bosworth. I am a student at Utica college dual majoring in Government and Philosophy. I live off campus with my girlfriend and two cats but enjoy being very active on campus. I have appeared in multiple plays at Utica College such as the Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, and Dracula, and am actively planning to start a philosophy club at UC in spring 2018, I am also in the Utica College choir when my schedule permits it. In the future I plan to get a Phd. in Philosophy and/or a law degree so I can advocate for those with disabilities, because I know from experience to be treated for a disability and strongly believe this society can do better.

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My name is Kelly Floyd, I am 20 years old and I am on my third year as a college student. I graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, NY in May 2017. Upon my graduation from MVCC, I decided to further my education at Utica College, as a Government and Politics major. I decided to get into this field of study for the sole purpose of achieving my goal to become a family lawyer. The idea of becoming a family lawyer has always interested me because I have always desired on helping children and families that are put into unfair situations and require some assistance to be taken out of such unfortunate circumstances.


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My name is Hermina Garic and I am a double major in Sociology and Political Science at Utica College. I also am the Administrative Intern at the K. Della Ferguson Womyn’s Resource Center, a campus office dedicated to the empowerment of women and the expansion of social justice. My hopes for the future are to study Public Administration in graduate school and hopefully hold a civil service position afterwards to solve political as well as societal challenges.

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Sung is currently in his 3rd year at Utica College pursuing an undergraduate degree in Government and Politics. He is of Korean-Vietnamese heritage, speaks French and is deeply fond of anything written by Niccolo Machiavelli. He is a Marxist in discipline of study when it comes to politics, not in ideology, his political idols include Lyndon B. Johnson, Margaret Thatcher, and Winston Churchill, and he plans to pursue a PhD in Politics and become a professor in the future.


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My name is Nick Lanckton and I am a twenty year old college student at Utica College. I am currently majoring in government and politics. I am interested in this area of study because I am always interested in watching the news and following politics. In this blog I am hoping to learn more about the drug policies that we have in America.



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My name is Alex Purcell. I am from Ithaca, New York.  I am a junior here at Utica College where I am majoring in politics and government.  I enjoy sports, beer, and hanging out with my friends.  Ever since I can remember I have been interested in politics and law. After college, I am planning on joining the marines as an officer. I am also a member of the soccer team here at Utica, where I spend much of my free time.


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Taylor Raga is a senior at Utica College where she majors in Government and Politics and minors in History. Taylor is a proud member of Colleges Against Cancer and a political contributor for The Hitch. She is also a member of the Political Science Honor Society as well has the History Honor Society. Taylor will be spending her spring semester interning in Washington D.C. and will be running for President in 2032.




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My name is Michelle Rodriguez and I’m a transfer student from MVCC. I’m  28 years old and have an associate in liberal arts. I’m attending Utica College to pursue a career  in foreign language concentration in education. I’m  also on the track team and became an all American for the woman heptathlon. I’m a full time student and a full time manager.







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Hello, my name is John Robert Tripple and I have an AA in general studies. I am currently enrolled in Utica College pursuing two BA’s in Government and Anthropology. By the age of 33 I was at my lowest and frustrated with menial, low-paying jobs. In returning to academia as an adult student, I bring a plethora of real life experiences, tribulations, and achievements, to the work I produce as an undergraduate. I have a unique perspective and I incorporate it into everything that I write.


Student Bloggers from Previous Semesters



The following our the students blogging for Civil Liberties in the Spring 2017 semester:



My name is Efrain Alvarado III and I’m a Senior Philosophy major here at UC. I’m from a
small shoreline town in Connecticut not too far from Yale, and so unsurprisingly I love the beach and pretty much anything to do with nature or outdoors in general. I’m generally pretty shy even though I often have quite a bit to say, but I open up when comfortable. I plan on attending law school after graduating from UC and possibly specializing in intellectual property. It’s always been family first for me, and always will be.





My name is Daniel Block. I am a sophomore studying government and politics as well as adolescent education at Utica College. I participate on the cross country and track team and work for the school as a caller at Phonathon to help the school bring in contributions from alumni.






Elise Burby is a junior at Utica College majoring in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Childhood and Special Education. She is a huge history buff, especially of U.S. colonial history and the American Revolution. James Madison is an especial hero of hers for his work on the Constitution and other historical contributions. Aside from that, Elise also enjoys reading and writing fantasy, taking a variety of classes, and spending time with her friends and family.



Erin is a junior Government and Politics and Pre-Law student from Europe currently enrolled at Utica College in Upstate New York.  After graduation, she plans on going to NYU or Columbia to earn her Juris Doctor.  Her interests include consumer protection, capital markets, and the American political and legal systems.  She is fluent in English, French, and is learning Italian.




Hello, my name is Kaitlyn Dombrowski. I am a junior at Utica College, majoring in government and politics with a minor in journalism. I transferred to UC back in January of 2016. I am a member of the UC chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success, volunteer with the Rotaract Club, and work part time at Olympia Sports in Rome. Aside from my interests in politics, I enjoy playing flute and piano (though I wish I had more time to do so), and I love to travel.




My name is Jalal-Uddin Jamshidy. I am an international student from Afghanistan, and am in my third year of undergrad program double majoring in Economics and Government Politics here at Utica College. Apart from my academics, I also have been working as intern in various community and national political events or offices. I worked as intern with Martine Babenic 2016 congressional campaign, and currently work at the office of Assemblyman, Anthony Brindisi.   My area interest involves politics, economics and philosophy, and lastly Volleyball. It is a pleasure to attend Civil Liberties class, and take part in various aspiring discussions and topics.



Selma Jasencic came to America in 1999 as a war refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is receiving her bachelor degree in government and politics from Utica College in May of 2017.




Paul Joyce is a government and politics major with a minor in history at Utica College.  He is a senior from Mohawk, NY who describes himself as a caffeine-addicted American politics enthusiast, and he also happens to enjoy most genres of music and exploring the outdoors.  He plays outfield for the Utica baseball team (#3 in the program but #1 in your hearts), and he also writes for the Hitch, an online political news source.  After graduation, Paul plans to attend graduate school for public administration with a concentration in homeland security, aspiring to eventually work in Washington.



Jordyn is a first year student here at Utica College. She studies Government and Politics and hopes to continue her education at a law school of her choice. She is a lover of all things beautiful in the world, especially cats and tiny humans. Jordyn is a proud brother of Alpha Phi Omega. She is also a member of the Student Senate and the Mock Trial Team.



adrianMy name is Adrian Gutierrez and I am an international student from Venezuela pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a concentration in environment, economics and development. At an academic as well as professional level, my interests include environmental policy, environmental science, humanities, political science, social issues and languages. I speak Spanish and English besides some Portuguese and French. My goal for this class is to acquire more knowledge about constitutional law and the political, legislative as well as judicial system and process in the U.S.



Marie Grace Nibigira is a junior at Utica College majoring in International Studies. Her passion includes eating, travelling, reading, and anything outdoor except camping. She is currently an intern at the Center of Historical Research. Her other leisure activities include watching films, participating in long distance runs for destressing purposes and having fun as long as wine is involved.






Hello, my name is Selma and I am currently in my second year at Utica College. I major in History and minor in Human Rights Advocacy. My social justice interests include intersectional feminism, the rights of immigrants and refugees, and LGBTQIA rights. I will be blogging about the right to freedom of speech and how that right is construed in a constitutional context.







Taylor Raga is a junior at Utica College where she majors in Government and Politics and minors in History. Taylor is the President of Colleges Against Cancer and a political contributor for The Hitch. She is a life-long Utican who plans on (someday) taking her talents to DC.






Hello, my name is Garrett Russitano. I’m a senior at Utica College majoring in government and politics, with a minor in Spanish. I am particularly interested in aspects of US foreign policy and international relations. I am a founding member of the UC chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha (The National Political Science Honor Society). After I graduate in December 2017, I intend to pursue my graduate degree in the Utica area.






My name is Laura Wright. I am a Politics and Government Major who eventually plans to work in local government. During my time at MVCC I served in the Student Congress as a student delegate for the drama club, where I was also treasurer. Since my interest in politics began, I have held an interest in human rights and the rational between the laws of this and other nations. The more I have gotten into politics the more I have cared about human rights and liberties and plan to fight for these rights when I start my career.



The following our the students blogging for Constitutional Law in the Governmental Process in the Fall 2016 semester:

Tom Bateson’s blog is designed to help educate and discuss the division of powers throughout the government. It is his hope that you enjoy the material provided.


elise Elise Burby is a junior at Utica College majoring in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Childhood and Special Education. She is a huge history buff, especially of U.S. colonial history and the American Revolution. James Madison is an especial hero of hers for his work on the Constitution and other historical contributions. Aside from that, Elise also enjoys reading and writing fantasy, taking a variety of classes, and spending time with her friends and family.


blog-picture-erinHi! My name is Erin, a Government and Politics major on Exchange from The University of Strathclyde, Scotland, to Utica College, NY. Listening to President Kennedy’s Inauguration speech led me into the crazy but rewarding political world. I am a junior who specializes in American domestic policy. Once I have graduated (‘18), I will make the permanent move to New York City to attend NYU’s Stern School of Business or School of Law. Finally, I aim to succeed in the realms of political editing and policy advising. I also volunteer in student societies and the local community. Happy reading!



Selma Jasencic was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but calls the United States home. She came to the United States as a war refugee in 1999. She is currently studying government and politics at Utica College, where she is expected to graduate in May of 2017.






Marie Grace Nibigira is a junior at Utica College; majoring in international Studies. She is an intern at the Center of Historical Research Center. Her hobbies are travelling, reading, running and sleeping.




My name is Selma Oprasic. I am a sophomore majoring in History at Utica College and an intern at UC’s Center for Historical Research. My perspective often focuses on feminism and human rights in general. One day I hope to use my education to advocate on the behalf of others and until then I am enthusiastically trying to learn as much as I can.







Taylor Raga is a junior at Utica College where she majors in Government and Politics. Taylor is also the President of the Colleges Against Cancer organization on her campus. Taylor is a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady and Disney World enthusiast. She is a life-long Utican who plans on (someday) taking her talents to DC.




My name is Joshua Reed, but please, call me Josh. I am a Business Economics student at Utica College, with a Minor in Philosophy of Justice. I am also a younger brother, a college football player, and a self-proclaimed grill master.



Benjamin Smith

I was born and raised in Ithaca, New York. I now attend Utica College and intend on majoring in history and minoring in environmental science. I also run cross country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field for UC. I a 20 years old and I own a 13 year old Weimaraner (big dog). History was my favorite subject in school because my best teachers and professors taught history, and I have a healthy respect for the past.


My name is Amanda and I am a junior at Utica College studying Criminal Justice in hopes to become a New York State Trooper one day. I am also a New York State licensed Cosmetologist and I work full time in a hair salon. Balancing Cosmetology school and high school my 11th and 12th grade year made me a hard worker and that I can do anything I put my mind to!