Haverford College

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Jacob Waters '10


I applied to the Student Research Fund in order to fund a trip, and I was ecstatic that my application was accepted. The experience of going straight into the field for research will be extremely useful in the future.

I am writing my thesis on the political influence of the teachers' unions in federal education policy, particularly how it has changed in the last couple of decades. I plan to compare the legislative dynamics of America 2000 and Goals 2000--both of which were proposed during a time of higher union influence--with No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Obama's proposed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I planned to conduct interviews with officials directly involved in the policy process. I applied to the Student Research Fund in order to fund a trip, and I was ecstatic that my application was accepted. The experience of going straight into the field for research will be extremely useful in the future. I now have the confidence to contact important figures out of the blue and acknowledge that, with enough persistence, there is a good chance I can meet with them. Next, I now feel much more comfortable speaking with conviction to connected people. Even though I’ve been doing a lot of work for my thesis in the last several months, I’m still far from an authority on the subject. For this reason it was difficult to challenge my interviewees at first, but by the end I got much more comfortable. Finally, I have certainly acquired new skills in interviewing that will help me in the future.

This trip was a fantastic opportunity, and I am deeply indebted to the Humanities Center for its impact on my thesis and my life going forward.

Originally posted at: http://www.haverford.edu/news/stories/38641/11