Draper at night

UAlbany Hosts Sixth Annual Institutions and Societies Graduate Student Conference

On Friday, February 23rd, the Rockefeller College Graduate Association of Political Science (GAPS) and Students of Educational Administration for Change (SEA Change) presented the sixth annual Institutions and Societies Conference in Husted Hall on the University at Albany’s downtown campus.

Dr. Patricia Strach, Deputy Director of Research at the Rockefeller Institute of Government and Chair of the Political Science Department at Rockefeller College, served as the keynote speaker of the event. She spoke on the subject of sexual harassment, academic institutions, and public policy.

“Over the past six years, this conference aims to be a constructive environment for graduate students to present their work, hopefully in preparation for a professional conference,” said Rockefeller doctoral student Nakissa Jahanbani, who co-chaired the organizing committee with Department of Educational Policy & Leadership doctoral student Quang Chau. “It seeks to create a venue for students to share their work in an interdisciplinary environment,” added Jahanbani.

With close to 100 people in attendance, over 30 students presented their work during the day’s 10 panel sessions. Attendees ranged from colleges within the Capital Region to across the Northeast, including University at Buffalo, Binghamton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Stony Brook University, and University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition, this year’s conference included a poster session and was extended to advanced undergraduates in UAlbany’s Political Science and Educational Policy & Leadership departments.

“We couldn’t have had this turn out and event without the hard work of our planning committee,” said Jahanbani. “We collaborated with educational leadership and policy, history, and sociology graduate student organizations. Our collaboration underlines the foundational interdisciplinary nature of this conference and what led to its success.”
The annual conference is open to all graduate students in nearby colleges who are engaged in a wide range of research areas, including anthropology, area/regional studies, criminal justice, economics, education, environmental studies, history, informatics, law, nano-economics, philosophy, political science, psychology, public administration & policy, organizational studies, sociology, social welfare, and urban planning.

“Regardless of if they presented or attended, I think students were able to walk away with different approaches to their projects,” said Jahanbani. “We hope that, by being a part of this conference, they are able to consider their major questions and their own research with a fresh perspective.”