One of the highlights of the academic year is welcoming new students to University of the Pacific‘s chapter (Alpha Delta Zeta) of Pi Sigma Alpha. the national political science academic honorary society. To be eligible for membership in Pi Sigma Alpha, a student must have excelled in their work in a number of challenging political science courses. Recently Faith James (International Relations, 2014) and Yeni Gutierrez (Political Science, 2015) became members of Pi Sigma Alpha.
We interrupt the usual commentary about politics and political science featured in this blog to mark the passing of one of Pacific’s greatest sons, the monumental and ever joyful Dave Brubeck.
I am pleased to announce that, working with the League of Women Voters, the University of the Pacific will host two candidate forums on October 15. The first will be for the two candidates contesting Assembly District 13: K. “Jeffrey” Jafri (R) and Susan Eggman (D). The second will be for the two candidates contesting Congressional District 9: Ricky Gill (R) and Jerry McNerney (D).
The event will will be open to the public. Watch this space for more information.
Whenever we can we like to highlight the outstanding activities of Pacific’s political science majors. Today we take a look at Kyle Sasai, a freshman political science major and a participant in Pacific’s landmark Pacific Legal Scholars program.
They also handed out hope.
Kyle Sasai, a 17-year-old freshman student in the University of the Pacific‘s Legal Scholars Program, saw a need and decided to fill it.
Spurred by the challenge from Pacific President Pamela Eibeck to go “beyond their gates,” Sasai looked at the school district around him, Stockton Unified, often disparaged for its high dropout rate, and started raising money to give every eighth-grader at Cleveland a backpack filled with school supplies and an inspiration to continue their education.
On Thursday, he and several other Pacific students met with the Cleveland students. The gifts made an impression. “The backpack was so cool,” Cleveland student Mari Moreno said.
But more so was the knowledge that high school and college offer more than just homework.
“I learned about college, … what the experience will be,” Mari said.
And that was the point.
Sure, the Cleveland students wondered about higher education courses and opportunities, but what was really on their minds?
“The kids were so open to it,” Sasai said. “They were talking about proms and parties and such. … One asked how to ask a girl out to the prom.”
The social part of school can be such a motivating factor, something the collegians know all too well.
To call Sasai a motivated student might be an understatement, according to his adviser, Dylan Zorea.
“He pretty much organized the entire thing, made the connections,” Zorea said. “We were just the facilitators. He is definitely a very ambitious (student), and a kid who has a lot of integrity. He’s someone who wants to make a difference in this world.”
Sasai was motivated, in part, after a trip to the Philippines, where he saw poverty and how something as simple as a pencil can motivate a student.
It took him about a year to raise the funds to provide the supply-filled backpacks, but the connections might last longer. A student whose life he touched in the Philippines emailed him months after his contact – with a question about math.
Making connections is as important as the backpacks. Mari spoke of Pacific student Amy Burns as her new best friend because they both have an interest in theater.
“It’s cool to let (the students) know about all these fun things for them in school, … prom and football games,” Burns said. “Every decision you make can impact your life.”
Sasai is one of the people who can drive that point home, Zorea said.
“(Sasai) is just a few years older than these kids in middle school,” Zorea said. “When he’s telling them they can live your dreams, it means more coming from a man like him than from a teacher.”
And next year? The goal is to reach more students.
“He’s a perfectionist,” Zorea said. “The conversation we had after it was, ‘Next year, how can we reach more schools?’ He definitely wants to do something on a larger scale and reach more kids. … This is kind of typical of the kids who are involved in our program. People have this idea that kids are drawn to law school because they can … make a lot of money. But our kids are drawn to make a difference.”
Sasai, who hails from Richmond, shares this broader vision.
“Once I got to Stockton, I felt I was here for a reason,” Sasai said. “And if that was to impact this community, then I’m good with that.”
Record Web Content Producer Katie Combs contributed to this report.
You can see Kyle talk about the project in a video here.
We couldn’t be more proud.
We will just quote at length from this News10 Sacramento article about Jordan and her experiences:
STOCKTON, CA – Jordan Schreiber is back on the Stockton campus of the University of the Pacific, but just a little more than a week ago she was studying at the American University in Cairo. She had no idea when she first got there that she would be an eyewitness to history.
“I went to the original Tahrir protests because my apartment was about a block away,” Schreiber said. “It was amazing … how something that could start so small and seem significant but not to the point of being influential just in a matter of weeks grow into something that overthrew a government!”
She got the news of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak impending resignation very early Friday morning.
“I actually got a call around 4 a.m. from my Egyptian friends. A couple of them were in Tahrir, Liberation Square, and then a couple of them were outside of the Presidential Palace and they just called me and said something’s going to happen in the next few hours,” Schreiber said.
Then it was official: Mubarak was stepping down after 30 years and relinguishing contro to the Egyptian military.
“I can’t even imagine how amazing it is for people who have been living under this regime for 30 years,” Schreiber said.
Although she attended the protests, Schreiber did not want to appear to be one of the protestors.
“That was one thing I was careful not to do, not join the protest and make signs because I can’t pretend to understand the Egyptian people and the problems they’re going through,” said said.
However, she and her friends had no such qualms about helping those who were injured. She said, “We got first aid kits and bandaged up peoples’ heads that had gotten hit with rocks and we passed out onion and vinegar. That helps dilute the tear gas in the sinuses.”
When the call came to evacuate, Schreiber didn’t want to leave.
“My roommates and I were relatively determined not to leave unless the semester were canceled … We were just so mesmerized by the whole thing, we just didn’t want to leave,” she said.
But they finally got word from the U.S. Embassy that the semester had been canceled and they would have to go.
“That actually turned out to be the night before there were clashes between pro-Mubarak and anti-government protestors in Tahrir when things got pretty violent and a few people were killed by gunfire,” said Schreiber. “And so it was probably a good time to leave but it broke my heart to say good-bye to Egypt.”
She is optimistic about Egypt’s future.
“My hope would be they can create a government of the people and have fair democratic elections. I think that’s going to require a lot of support from the international community. I have been e-mailing my congressmen and women as often as I can!” she said.
Schreiber also authored a blog during her stay where she posted photos and videos of what would turn out be history-changing events.
by Jonathan Mumm, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are happy to report that one of our political science majors, Jordan Schreiber, is on her way home. Jordan had hoped to spend the semester studying in Egypt until history had other ideas. I suspect we will hear more from her on this site, but in the meantime you may want to visit her blog and see her photos and videos taken during the last week and a half in Cairo.
» Registered: Republican
» Occupation: Student, University of the Pacific
» Concern: Chapdelaine feels state ballot initiatives are out of control. “The things we are voting on are the things we elect legislators, and pay legislators, to vote on.” Chapdelaine is studying political science. Despite being discouraged, she plans to vote. “I just think it’s a civic duty.”