Samantha Rayborn, a University of Southern Mississippi Honors College student from Hattiesburg, recently participated in the Emerging Scholars in Political Science Conference at The University of Michigan. She was one of only nine undergraduate and master's students selected from across the country to participate.
The event was designed as part of an initiative by Michigan’s doctoral program in political science to reach out to students to consider advanced study in the discipline. At the conference, she presented research related to her honors thesis, titled "Black Empowerment in Mississippi: Comparisons of Urban and Rural Trends" to a group of fellow students and faculty, and received analysis of her work from political scientists in one of the top programs in the country.
“It gave me the opportunity to receive feedback on my research project from those with adept knowledge in the field of political science, and opened my eyes to new ways I can approach my research,” Rayborn said.
Rayborn is a recent recipient of the Southern Miss Department of Political Science’s Evelyn Gandy scholarship, which carries a full tuition waiver for the final two years of college. A Luckyday Scholar and member of the Golden Key Honor Society, she currently holds a 4.0 GPA.
“She’s one of our best students, and the conference was a great opportunity for her to develop her honors thesis,” said Dr. Marek Steedman, associate professor of political science at Southern Miss. “Hopefully this experience will also inspire her to pursue a Ph.D. in political science herself one day.”
At Southern Miss, Rayborn is also president of Students for Human Rights, is a member of Southern Miss Sustainability Advocates and is working with other students on campus to form an oratorical society.