The UNH Center for International Education Newsletter
Spring 2012

International Affairs Student Publishes in Distinguished Journal

Jessica LeBlanc ’11 published “Senegal and Guinea: A Comparative Study of Democratic Success and Failure,” in the National Honors Society’s Spring 2011 Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations.

Jessica LeBlanc at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain
Jessica LeBlanc at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain

The University of New Hampshire is known to be a top school for undergraduate research. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program has mentored over 3,000 student researchers since its founding in 1987. At a University-wide scale, over 1,000 UNH undergraduate students, from all academic disciplines and colleges, will present at this year’s 25th Anniversary Undergraduate Research Conference. The presentations showcase the results of their engaged and creative scholarly research on timely topics ranging from protests for education reform in Chile to male alcoholism and demographic change in Russia.

With a required senior-level capstone course focused on international research, International Affairs Dual Majors (IA) always come out in force to present at the Conference. The research and presentation skills are invaluable for students hoping to pursue graduate studies or navigate a wide variety of challenging careers. Such was the case for 2011 Sociology-IA graduate, Jessica LeBlanc, whose article “Senegal and Guinea: A Comparative Study of Democratic Success and Failure” was published in the National Honors Society’s Spring 2011 publication: Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations. (To read Jessica’s article, go to page 99 of the Journal.)

At the time Sigma Iota Journal sent out its submission requests, LeBlanc was working as an editor for Sociological Perspectives, an undergraduate journal for the Sociology Department at UNH. Her interest in contributing to the Journal was immediately piqued: “I had a particular interest in academic publications. I figured that it would be a good experience to submit a significant research paper of mine.” With a few revisions, her paper made it to the publishing stage, and left LeBlanc with “a great experience and a deeper understanding of the academic publishing process.”

(l. to r.) Jessica LeBlanc, Vanessa Richards, Oana Tutuiana, and Courtney Arrigo wearing the country sash of Spain
(l. to r.) Jessica LeBlanc, Vanessa Richards, Oana Tutuiana, and Courtney Arrigo wearing the country sash of Spain

Currently, LeBlanc works at UMass Boston as assistant study director for the Center for Survey Research. She hopes to continue her work in the field of quantitative policy-driven research and is furthering her education by pursuing an M.A. in Applied Sociology, with a concentration in social policy/evaluation research, at UMass Boston. When looking towards the future Leblanc sees the eventual completion of a Ph.D in Survey Research Methodology or a related field — “but not for a while.”

International Affairs Hood House Lecturer, Dr. Molly Wallace, congratulates Leblanc on her publication: “Jessica LeBlanc’s recently published article is a terrific example of how our International Affairs students are encouraged to join the scholarly conversation on global issues as full participants, drawing on the IA curriculum and their diverse experiences abroad.”

For LeBlanc, the UNH-IA program had a profound impact: “Being a part of the IA program surrounded me with some of the best classmates and professors that UNH had to offer. It added a whole new perspective to my academic experience and was a perfect complement to my sociology degree. And, it looked great on my resume.”

The IA Dual Major also challenged LeBlanc to develop competencies that helped her personally and professionally: “It pushed me to practice and learn Spanish, a skill that I always struggled with, but found that I really enjoyed. My semester in Spain was the best four months of my life. The IA senior capstone and the Undergraduate Research Conference was one of the most challenging and simultaneously rewarding experiences that I had at UNH. It was just the preparation I needed for both graduate school and my career.”