Senior’s Research Wins OCA’s ‘Top Undergraduate Paper’

November 3, 2016
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Abigail Engelhart’s Paper Examined Sexist Attitudes toward Females Running for Political Office

The Ohio Communication Association selected senior Abigail Engelhart’s work in which she examined unique challenges women face when running for top political office for its “Top Undergraduate Paper” at its annual conference this fall.

Engelhart is senior from Westerville majoring in political science and English.

Titled “Barriers to Entry: How Sexist Attitudes Hinder Female Presidential Candidates,” her paper looks at how female presideintial candidates — such as Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina — are evaluated when they run for public office.

“I’m interested in politics and women in politics,” Engelhart said, adding that she “will be a woman in politics.”

She wrote the paper for her political science capstone last spring, which was instructed by Dr. Michael Snarr, professor of political science, and, by presenting it at a scholarly conference, it also served as her capstone project in the Honors Program.

When Dr. Audrey Wagstaff, associate professor of political science, initially read the paper, she felt it had the potential to be accepted for the OCA’s annual conference. Wagstaff subsequently worked with Engelhart on revisions and presentation.

“I am so proud of Abby for this accomplishment,” Wagstaff said, noting that students and faculty from Ohio submit their scholarly work to this conference and awardees receive cash prizes. “Her work offered timely theoretical and practical implications for understanding how the public interprets presidential rhetoric. Winning the top undergraduate paper is a great honor.”

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