NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University senior history and political science major Faith Privett, of Proctor, Minnesota, will present her research on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s 2021 Posters on the Hill event, held virtually April 27-28.

Privett, one of 60 student presenters selected from hundreds of applicants to participate in this event, will present her research, “Clad in Sheep's Clothing: An Analysis of the Influence of Attitudinal and Extra-Legal Factors on Justice Antonin Scalia's Decision-Making Process.” Her research was completed under Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Jason F. Jagemann’s mentorship.

Privett’s research aims to explain why Supreme Court justices vote the way they do, and her methodology can be applied to any judge. Focusing on Justice Scalia, she measured his votes on the Supreme Court in four different issue areas: First Amendment, Civil Rights, Unions, and Privacy cases. Using his Segal-Cover score, an independent measure of justices’ ideology; the Stimson Public Mood Index, which is the overall public mood in the United States per year; and custom public mood indices on each of the four issue areas, Privett found that Scalia’s decisions were influenced by both his ideology and to public opinion.

Posters on the Hill is a critical element in the Council on Undergraduate Research’s undergraduate research advocacy.

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) describes the annual event: “Posters on the Hill is a critical element in CUR's advocacy efforts. It is more important than ever that the voice of undergraduate researchers and their mentors are heard on Capitol Hill. This prestigious event celebrates the impressive work of the accepted students and supports the messages of the importance of undergraduate research at the federal level.”

“Faith’s scholarly contributions are significant as they use analytical methods to investigate different influences on Justice Antonin Scalia’s decisions while on the Supreme Court. Given the relevance of this work to the current academic and public discourse, her timely research impacts the body of scholarship that analyzes the high court and its justices,” Associate Provost for Research and Chief Research Officer Karen L. Hinkle said. “We’re proud to have Faith representing Norwich University at this most prestigious and important event that showcases the importance of undergraduate research as a high-impact practice to our government’s decision makers.”

Winning streak

This is the third consecutive year and fifth year of the past six that Norwich has sent undergraduate students to Posters on the Hill. Shawnae Evans ’21 and Halee Lair ’21 went in 2020; Dillon Zites ’20 went in 2019.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen to represent Norwich on such a high platform,” Privett said. “My research project on judicial decision making was so interesting and it pushed me to think outside of conventional norms. I think completing student research allows me to live up to the Norwich motto of ‘I Will Try.’”

Over the past decade, Norwich has grown its investment in faculty and undergraduate research of endowed income and reinvested grant overhead to over $800,000, to go along with more than $20 million of externally acquired research and institutional grants managed by the Office of Academic Research.

More than 250 students have conducted research since the Office of Academic Research was created in 2007, thus formalizing research activities at Norwich. The stated goal of the program is: To support and encourage our students to pursue original research, scholarship and creative projects in collaboration with faculty, and to provide funding to allow for exchanging of information and presentation of their work at professional meetings and within the university community.

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About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by U.S. Army Capt. Alden Partridge and is the oldest private military college in the United States. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

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