MURRAY- Murray State University political science major Briona Young, a junior from Louisville, had the opportunity to present her research project last July in Athens, Greece. Young’s research project focused on how implicit racial bias affects politics in the American black community. The Presidential Fellow’s mentor, Dr. Brittany Wood, an assistant professor of political science at Murray State, has guided Young through the research process since it all began in August 2021.
“Dr. Wood allowed me to take the reins and develop my own project,” Young said. implicit. Dr. Wood and I have developed a survey-type project to determine whether black Americans have implicit racial bias and whether or not this affects their behaviors and political attitudes.
In 2022, Young and Wood began attending conferences to present the project, currently titled Uncharted Territory: Exploring the Effect of Implicit Bias on the Political Attitudes of Black Americans, and to gather balanced feedback from a variety of sources. The first of these conferences was the Midwestern Political Science Association Conference in Chicago last April. The second conference was the Academy of the International Society for Political Psychology (ISPP) held in Athens, Greece last July. The ISPP Academy is a three-day workshop that aims to train interested faculty and students from around the world in both basic research and cutting-edge methodologies in the field of political psychology across the globe.
“My favorite part of the conference was attending a panel discussion on black politics and speaking with the speakers afterwards,” Young said. “I learned a lot about the role, although often misunderstood and excluded, of black people in politics. Having the chance to meet other black scholars who are leading the way in black-centered political science research was so amazing and inspiring.
Young and Wood have one more conference to attend this year: the American Society for Public Administration conference in September. The conferences not only allowed Young to share his research, but they ultimately help him achieve his career goals.
“I chose my major for the same reason many of my classmates chose the political science/legal studies major — to become a lawyer,” Young said. “However, I also chose this major because politics was never my forte. I didn’t know much about politics, why certain things happened or how certain aspects of American government worked, so I decided to major in politics to learn more about the world around me.
“One of the main reasons I want to be a lawyer is to be able to help people, and I can’t really do that without knowing a lot about the world we live in,” Young added. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to not only attend the conference, but to present my own research and hear feedback from such a diverse group of people. Traveling and presenting research abroad has helped me expand my knowledge not only about my research project, but also about global issues, and I am excited to channel that knowledge to help others.
While presenting his research abroad last summer, Young had the opportunity to immerse himself in Greek culture, explore the Acropolis and enjoy breathtaking views. She is expected to graduate in May 2024 and will work on the research project in some capacity throughout her final semester to get the project published.
To learn more about the Department of Political Science and Sociology at Murray State University, please visit bit.ly/3CWk00z.