By Kelcey Norris
Pi Sigma Alpha, chapter Alpha Alpha Rho, is Youngstown State University’s branch of the National Political Science Honors Society. They claimed the coveted national Best Chapter award for the fifth consecutive year.
Kassandra Seabolt, a senior political science major, serves as this year’s president of Pi Sigma Alpha. Her organization, she explained, has a mission to “recognize scholastic ability in political science at YSU.”
“[This award is] only given to 16 out of 700 organizations, so it’s really prestigious and a really awesome award for us,” Seabolt said. “This is for the 2019-2020 year, so our former president and the executive board, those members, are the ones who worked so hard to get the award.”
Seabolt said the chapter was recognized for all of the events organized by Pi Sigma Alpha’s president last year, Moataz Abdelrasoul, which included film screenings and study sessions.
“We also did our induction dinner where we had Judge Carla Baldwin inducted as an honorary member,” Seabolt said. “That was a really awesome opportunity to hear her speak. We also did LSAT study sessions, writing contests and unfortunately we were planning some other things, such as a conference, but they got cut short due to COVID.”
This year, Seabolt hopes to continue the legacy of the Pi Sigma Alpha presidents before her.
“Nothing is set in stone yet, but one of our most exciting things this year is we’re going to do a law school talk. We’re going to try to contract that as a national event, so it won’t only be open to YSU students, but students all around the United States as well,” she said.
YSU alumni with law backgrounds will discuss the admissions process, LSAT exams and answer general frequently asked questions.
“We normally get a really good turnout for things about law school, so we’re really excited about that,” Seabolt said. “We also might do some kind of talk about the upcoming election, since I know there’s a lot of confusion in terms of voting and how to register.”
Seabolt is currently applying to law school with dreams of becoming an attorney one day.
“It’s really nice being surrounded by a community of people who are like me, who are in my major,” she said. “A lot of them have the same goal as me, so it’s really cool to make those connections and learn from other people. A lot of the stuff I’ve learned about the LSAT and the admissions process have been from former members, so it’s been really helpful.”
William Goodwin, a senior pre-law major, serves as the vice president for Pi Sigma Alpha.
“It’s really a great opportunity to network with political science or pre-law majors from other universities in Ohio, and we have tons of national events in Washington D.C. where we can network with other like minded individuals,” Goodwin said.
Like Seabolt, Goodwin credits the executive board of last year with organizing great events for the community.
“Ever since I joined the political science department, I knew this program existed and every year we seem to do more and more activities,” Goodwin said. “Hopefully we can keep that up.”
Adam Fuller, professor of political science, has been advising Pi Sigma Alpha for five years since the chapter was rebooted.
“The chapter was defunct for quite a long time,” Fuller said. “It was ignited in the early 2000s and then went into a long hiatus. In 2015, we revived it.”
Fuller said each year he’s beyond impressed with the students’ ability to plan unique events.
“For example, two years ago the students did an all-day event at the Canfield Fair in the YSU tent. It was an all-day political trivia game that had a lot of people coming through and playing, which was a lot of fun,” Fuller said.
Pi Sigma Alpha also participates in community outreach, making it a goal to give back, beginning with the 2015 Pete for Paris event.
“We raised money for the victims of the Paris bombing that year,” he said. “And every year since then, we’ve tried to do at least one big service project, if not more. We did a Pete for Texas charity event the year of Hurricane Harvey for the victims of the hurricane … It goes to show that that’s what we do around here in Youngstown, get involved.”