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Students Pitch Their Research to Learn How to Influence Policy
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Master’s Research Project is a capstone class for Diplomacy graduate students. Students generally take the class in the second semester of their second year, and the main assignment is an independent research project. Students develop a research question and then answer it in a rigorous social-scientific fashion.

In Professor Martin Edwards' section of this class in the Spring, there was a distinct focus on how to better disseminate findings. Influencing the policy process is not merely about conducting research; it’s about making those findings accessible to a professional audience. Thus, in addition to their papers, students wrote 800 word op-eds summarizing their findings, and they also created two minute video presentations that serve as a snapshot of their broader project. Collectively, these assignments strengthen the students’ skill sets and underscore a larger lesson – that the gap between research and policy is not as wide as one might think, and that the key to bridging this gap lies in learning to communicate more effectively.

Below, view several video presentations from Professor Edwards' Master’s Research Project class.

Breanne SkultetyBreanne Skultety, 2nd Year Graduate Student

Master’s Research Project asks whether the International Labor Organization investigations affect workers’ rights »

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Areas of specialization:
International Organizations; International Economics and Development
Research Intern, U.S. Department of State Office of International Labor Affairs, Washington, D.C.
Why Seton Hall: 
"I visited the School for a Meet the Deans event. It was evident that the faculty really care about the success of their students, which solidified my decision to attend the School. Many Seton Hall professors are also mentors and have been extremely supportive and helpful with all of my academic/professional endeavors. The School’s close relationship with the United Nations enabled me to attend one of the Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) youth unemployment events, which I probably would not have had the opportunity to attend had I chosen another school."
Future plans:
"After graduation, I would love work for an organization that shares my passion for advancing worker’s rights—wherever that may take me."
About the project:
"I have always been interested in worker’s rights. Although the International Labour Organization (ILO) aims to improve freedom of association rights in many countries, declining unionization rates and frequent headlines about the harassment/killing of trade unionists worldwide raises questions about the effectiveness of the ILO in this regard. I chose to investigate this topic in order to understand what impact the ILO has had in their mission to improve freedom of association rights around the world."

Zachary KotzZachary Kotz, 2nd Year Graduate Student

Master’s Research Project asks how alliances affect the probability of war between countries »

Hometown: Lamoni, Iowa
Areas of specialization:
International Security; Global Negotiation and Conflict Management
Correspondence Department intern, William J. Clinton Foundation, New York, NY; Political Section intern, U.S. Mission to NATO, U.S. Department of State, Brussels, Belgium
Why Seton Hall:
"My relationship with the dean of the School of Diplomacy and the School’s proximity to New York City as well as access to Washington, D.C., were the largest contributing factors in my decision to attend Seton Hall."
Future plans: 
Join the Foreign Service and become a U.S. diplomat
About the project:
I chose my topic based partly on my time at NATO, which got me interested in the role alliances play in conflict i and very much inspired the questions I sought to answer in my project.

Samara L SimmonsSamara L Simmons, 2nd Year Graduate Student and Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow

Master's Research Project asks how U.S. reactions to attacks on foreign embassies affect future relations with the host country »

Hometown: Bronx, New York
Areas of specialization:
U.S. Foreign Policy Analysis; Middle Eastern Studies
Desk Officer, U.S. Department of State, Office of Iranian Affairs
Why Seton Hall:
"I chose to study at the School because the classes offered in the Middle East specialization appealed to me."
Future plans:
"I plan to begin my career as a Foreign Service Officer this fall."
About the project:
"I chose my research topic because in the fall I will enter into the Foreign Service. I know that attacks on our diplomatic missions are a fact of life with which I and my colleagues will have to contend. In light of the Benghazi attacks and the Congressional and political hoopla that followed, I wanted to shine a light on how situations of this sort should be addressed."

For more information please contact:
School of Diplomacy
(973) 275-2515


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