By Samantha Supulveda
Political Science professor and coordinator Dr. Christina Suthammanont marked the beginning of the Faculty Speaker Series Tuesday, Oct. 26 in the Student Center with a lecture entitled, “Duh…it’s the economy! How economic Conditions Influence Electoral Behavior.” Suthammanont presented how economic circumstances and the educational level of an individual affect vote choice.
The faculty series program is designed to expose students to different areas of knowledge and research through lectures presented by TAMU-SA faculty. The faculty speaker series is organized by the Office of Student Engagement and Success.
Tuesday’s lecture was intentionally timed to encourage students to consider the midterm elections on Nov. 2. By providing the audience with resources Suthammanont’s intent was to encourage informed decision making particularly when it comes to politics.
“For all the hoopla in the media, when it comes down to Tuesdays midterm election, socioeconomic status and political efficacy will account for, as they always do, most of why people vote in the first place,” Suthammanont said.
Suthammanont added that she hoped her lecture would provided the audience with additional facts that could be used when assessing political information and making the big decisions at the ballots.
“After all, the vote of a really informed person counts just as much as the vote of a completely uniformed person, so of course, I prefer votes to be as informed as possible,” Suthammanont said. “Scholars have not found a direct link between objective economic indicators, the voter has already decided to vote, the economic factor merely influences how the voter will evaluate candidates.”
Although economic factors contribute to how a voter will evaluate candidates, Dr. Suthammanont stresses how an individuals education level makes a huge impact on voter participation.
Though just a hand full of students were present for the lecture, attendance was on par with other inaugural events at the university. As the series continues and the word gets out, audience attendance is anticipated to grow.
“For our first program i think it went really well. The highlight of the event was the conversation and discussion that developed after the presentation. It really gave the audience the opportunity to be involved in the presentation,” said Laura Pantano, assistant vice president of student engagement and success. “The program is designed to reach all students, no matter their academic discipline.”
A second lecture is planned for November 30 with Dr. Carolin Webb. “Cellphones as Educational Tool- How Can That Be?” a one-hour lecture and discussion is scheduled 3 p.m. in the Student Center. For more information on the Faculty Speaker Series, contact the Office of Student Engagement and Success.
Update: Dr. Webb’s lecture is rescheduled for Spring, 2011. Search the Mesquite calendar for details.