Breithaupt American Government Paper Competition

The Department of Public Affairs invites students of any major to submit a proposal for quantitative research into any aspect of American government and politics. Proposals should be no more than four double-spaced pages in length, and should contain (a) a clearly stated thesis and research questions; (b) a discussion of the availability of data that will be used in the research; (c) a methodological plan for the statistical analysis; (d) a brief summary of the expected findings; and (e) a one-page bibliography. The final papers must be a quantitative methodology and not exceed twenty pages in length. Papers may be proposed based on work in a current or future course (e.g., seminar or research methods) or be independent of coursework.

Proposals are due to Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O'Keef ( no later than Reading Day of the fall semester. The author of the accepted proposal(s) will be notified by the start of the spring semester. Final paper submissions are due by the Reading Day of the spring semester. Awards will range up to $1000.00.

Public Affairs faculty will evaluate the proposals and select the best one for support from Breithaupt funds. The eventual paper will receive an award of up to $1000.00 at the conclusion of the research project if it earns a grade of B+ or higher and meets the requirements of the competition. A Breithaupt paper may be granted one unit of credit as an independent study, honors in the major project, or an honors project, if appropriate and previously arranged.


Award Winning Papers

2007 Shelley Smith: Closing the Gap: Private School Vouchers and the Roanoke City School System

2008 Anne Whitesell: The Impact of No Child Left Behind Act on English Language Learners

2009 Emily Huston: The Help America Vote Act of 2002: Well Intentioned Reforms or Misguided Mandates?

2009 Amanda Pickens: Prevention for Deterrence: A Study of Illegal Immigration Policy

2010 Sarah Seufer: An Analysis of Female Political Candidates

2011 Patrick Dolan: Abortion and American Politics: Can a Single Policy Issue Lead to Party Switching?

2011 Tyler Rinko: The European Crisis' Influence on U.S. Real Exchange Rates and Real Interest Rates

2012 Travis Andrews: Renewable Portfolio Standards: Good Goals, Bad Economic Policies?

2012 Cristian Chis: Capitalism on the Rise: Effects of Politics and Policy on U.S. Foreign Direct Investment in Central and Eastern Europe

2012 Jessica Aminto: How Does Access Affect Health Care Outcomes? A Study of 60 Countries' Health Care Systems

2012 Christian Weisenbacher: Affirmative Action in California Public vs. Private Colleges

2013 Katherine Holland: Creating Equality through the Subsidization of Higher Education

2013: Katherine Frisch: An Analysis of the 'Rally Round the Flag' Effect and the United Nations Security Council

2014: Melissa Zeina: Did the Era of Abstinence have an impact on the rate Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STDs)? Evaluating the Effectiveness of Sex Education in the United States.

2015: Lydia Delamatta: Discrimination Stops Here: How A Fair Education Affects Gender Political Equality Across Democratic Nations

2015: Jessica Ehrhart: Rectifying an Unfortunate Realization: An In-Depth Analysis of Race, Region, and Socioeconomic Status and Their Effect on Academic Achievement