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Reproductive

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Submitted By Shon24
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Emmitt Y Riley, III Proposed Field of Study Political Science

(U.S. Political Institutions and Processes/ Public Policy)

Having extensively researched the Political Science curriculum, the faculty members and their areas of academic research, along with the structure of the program, it is my belief that the Political Science PhD Program at the University of Oklahoma would best fit my research interests and long term career aspirations. I am especially interested in the programs' emphasis on American Politics and Public Policy. The emphases on American Politics, political behavior and political methodology are very intriguing. The opportunity to study in your department members would provide me with the opportunity to gain further insight in a subfield of the discipline in which I am very passionate. In addition, the opportunity to study with these individuals would certainly set me on tract to a successful career in publishing in this particular subfield. Thus my purpose and objective obtaining a PhD is to enter a rigorous academic program that will prepare me for a successful career in teaching and conducting independent research that will contribute to the discipline.

Growing up in Mississippi Delta has certainly influenced my reasons for furthering my graduate education in political science. As an improvised African American male, originally labeled incapable of learning, my educational experiences have had a profound influence 'on my ability to achieve and strive towards excellence in academics. My home community of the Mississippi Delta is one of the nation's most impoverished areas, and it is also a region in which one's skin color still has social implications. I observed the racially polarized elections and the still segregated residential areas, and school systems; this increased my interest in the study of electoral politics and American Political Systems. Growing up I became especially interested in the alarming structural barriers of inequality among people of color. These structural barriers have unequivocally impacted my research interest in race, ethnicity, and gender. It is because of these experiences that I have developed a strong passion for inquiry in affirmative action policies, voter behavior, voter participation, and American political institutions. As a graduate student I was afforded the opportunity conduct independent research with Dr. Byron D' Andra Orey in applying the "Racial Threat Hypothesis" to the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. In this project we examined, the relationship between black population density on white voter choice in the democratic presidential primary, hypothesizing that in areas where African Americans are a majority white voters will vote for Hillary Clinton. It was this research project that provides me with the foundation for my thesis research.

I am currently completing a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science at Jackson State University located in Jackson, Mississippi. As a requirement for the degree, I am currently writing a thesis in which I am examining the role of race in the 2008 Mississippi Democratic presidential primary, looking specifically at white support for Obama in both rural and urban areas. In this project, I will attempt to disprove two leading hypothesis that have dominated the academic literature in explaining white voter behavior in Mississippi. Scholars such as V.O. Key and Stephen Voss have explained white voter behavior with two different hypotheses: Racial Threat and Racial Context.

I was first introduced to Political Science while attending Mississippi Valley State University. It was my tenure at Mississippi Valley State University that ignited a passion for the inquiry of Political Science Research. I was surrounded by rigorous political and social scientists who provided me with the opportunity to assist in research, serve on panels, present papers, and engage in stimulating in intellectual discourse. These professors served as role models by allowing me to witness firsthand the caliber of their expertise. It was during this time that I was truly inspired to peruse advance study in the field of political science.

As an undergraduate, I received numerous awards, and honors for outstanding academic achievements. As a testament to my scholastic achievement in Political Science under the Department of Social Sciences, I was awarded the highest student award achievable in the department. I was selected by Dr. Tanziski Lee, Department Chair, to receive the Social Science Scholastic Achievement Award. In addition, I was also selected by the faculty of the Political Science Department to receive the Outstanding Political Science Scholar Award. I not only achieved in this Department, I also received the Award in the Department of English Literature as well. I was also awarded a graduate tuition waiver and a graduate assistantship.

My most recent appointment as the Southern Region Political Action and Public Policy Chairman for the Southern Region of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated has further provided me with the opportunity to become actively engage in political action across seven states. In this capacity, I have the responsibility of working with representatives from seven states e.g. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina to lobby for, promote, and advance policies that promote equality. In addition, I am also responsible for the coordination of the Southern Region Voter Education Program that is aimed at educating citizens about election laws, voter requirements, policies, and educating convicted felons about the proper steps of regaining voting rights.

I want to study at the University of Oklahoma because of the Political Science Program's unique emphasis on American Politics and Public Policy. I have well developed research skills and it is my desire to increase and add to these skills in a rigorous, challenging, and inimitable program that will prepare me for a successful career in political science research; the distinguished faculty at your university will provide this atmosphere. While I am not satisfied with my Graduate Record Exam scores, I am confident that it does not reflect my true academic ability. I have struggled to perform well on standardized assessments all of my life and each time I have been able to prove the predictors wrong. I petition the members of the admission to committee to give me an opportunity to conduct PhD studies at this prestigious institution as this is a very important goal in my life. I have faced several obstacles and every time I have withstood the test of time. If given the opportunity to study at your university, I am certain that the challenge and the rigor of your program will bring out the best in me.…...

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