- Policies & Forms
- Academic Calendar
- Admission & Transfer
- Student Services
My name is Edward Smith and I am a third year from Hampton, Virginia and also a student in the Politics Honors Program at the University. My primary academic interest at U.Va is American Politics, which developed during the 2008 presidential election when I volunteered for then Senator Obama’s campaign in Newport News. This experience influenced my academic pursuits at U.Va, where I have gained valuable knowledge in the field of political science through coursework and real world activities. Upon arrival at the University, I immediately enrolled in political classes and became involved with organizations on Grounds. During my first year, I enrolled in Professor Sabato’s introduction to American Politics class, which sparked my interest in an internship with the U.Va Center for Politics. At the Center, I am currently a student intern in the Development Department, where I assist in reaching out to generous donors who provide philanthropic support for the Center’s events. Also as a first-year, I joined groups and organizations dedicated to improving civic engagement and increasing voter turnout. My involvement on Grounds led to a summer internship with Congressman Tom Perriello’s campaign, where I gained an insider’s perspective of how a statewide campaign is organized and how specific tactics are employed to increase voter turnout among targeted groups.
Last year, I was honored to become a member of the Politics Honors Program, where I am currently enrolled in core seminars in the four political science subfields with five other honors students. Each week we read an influential political work and write a five-page paper analyzing each author’s argument and then defend our positions in class. We also write a fourth year thesis on any issue concerning our political concentration. I plan to write on the rise of SuperPACs and their influence on contemporary political discourse.
In addition to academic and field experience in American politics, I have also had the opportunity to pursue two undergraduate research projects at U. Va. During the Spring Semester of 2011, I enrolled in an independent study with Professor Karlin Luedtke to examine the economic and political effects of gender discrimination on single and minority mothers in the United States. I presented my research at the Associated Colleges of the South’s Women’s and Gender Conference hosted by the University of Richmond. In addition, I just recently completed a Double Hoo Research Grant analyzing political discourse on major cable news outlets. The Grant was fully funded by the U.Va Center for Undergraduate Excellence and was completed with the assistance of a doctoral student from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics.
This summer I will participate in the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program, where I will intern on Capitol Hill to help lawmakers create policies that reduce health disparities among underserved populations. I became involved in health policy shortly after the passing of my mother in 2006 from a rare protein disorder known as amyloidosis. Through her career as a registered nurse, I came into contact with patients who were unable to obtain adequate healthcare due to circumstances beyond their control. After graduation I plan to either attend public policy school or graduate school in political science to further my education. My goal is to one day become a staffer on the Hill to draft effective policies that alleviate social and economic inequality.
Outside of academics, I am the Chair of the Outreach Committee of Echols Council, where In work closely with the Dean’s office to market the Echols application process to first year students. I am also an avid U.Va sports fan, and enjoy consistently losing my voice at home sporting events.