Courtney Anvender (honors B.A. 2011, magna cum laude), was selected the outstanding Political Science student for 2011. During the academic year 2010-2011, she served as president of the Student Government Association. She was also active in Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity, Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and College Republicans. In the spring semester of 2009 and summer 2010, she studied in London. Courtney is also a published poet, with a poem in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans. After graduation, she was hired as a Research Associate doing international market research and polling at Ipsos Public Affairs in Washington D.C.
Courtney chose to major in political science because she was intrigued by the diversity of course offerings. She says, "This array of classes appeals to and complements my varied interests in history, domestic politics, and foreign affairs. Also, many political science classes are small in size and are discussion oriented. You develop great relationships with your peers and teachers so you become easily engaged in the material."
During the 2008 elections, Courtney worked as an assistant to Dr. Kenneth Warren, who heads the Warren Poll in addition to teaching at Saint Louis University. Courtney worked primarily on a poll that Dr. Warren conducted for the St. Louis Beacon, an on-line newspaper. Courtney recruited workers to conduct polls at 28 polling sites around the city of St. Louis, St. Louis county, St. Charles county, and Jefferson county. She worked with Dr. Warren to prepare materials and was herself out on the ground asking questions on election day.
Courtney says work on the Beacon poll "gave me insight into the massive organizational hurdles associated with conducting a successful poll." She adds, "The lessons I learned have helped me in my political science classes, and I know they will continue to benefit me in the future."
Courtney completed an undergraduate honors thesis on the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland, "Peace with Justice: the Political Development of the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland between the Civil Rights Movement in 1968 and the IRA Hunger Strikes in 1981." While she was working on the thesis, Courtney was able to visit Belfast and see how tensions between Catholics and Protestants had impacted the city. This first-hand knowledge helped strengthen her analysis in the thesis itself. She presented her findings at the Southern Political Science Conference in New Orleans.
The thing that Courtney particularly values about her SLU education is the university's commitment to the Jesuit mission. Courtney says, "All of my classes seek to develop our critical thinking ability. We are encouraged to ask questions and consider different points of view. It is clear that SLU's ultimate goal for us is to be 'men and women for others' by using our education to better our society and the world."