UNT student selected as American Political Science Association Minority Fellow
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Christopher Wall, a senior political science and economics major at the University of North Texas, has been named a Minority Fellow by the American Political Science Association for the 2011-2012 academic year. He is the son of José and Leticia Wall of Irving and a graduate of Ranchview High School.
The APSA Minority Fellowship Program was established in 1969 to increase the number of political science scholars and professors who are racial minorities. It is designed primarily for college and university seniors and recent graduates, and students currently enrolled in master's degree programs, who are applying to doctoral degree programs in political science, and who plan to teach and conduct research in political science.
Up to 12 students are selected each year to each receive a $4,000 stipend for graduate school. The APSA Minority Fellows are selected based on their undergraduate or graduate course work, grade point average, extracurricular activities, scores on the Graduate Record Exam and recommendations from faculty members.
Wall is a student in the UNT Honors College and the current president of the UNT chapter of Mortar Board National Honor Society, which recognizes college seniors for superior achievement in scholarship, leadership and service.
Dr. Gloria Cox, dean of the UNT Honors College, said Wall "has a love of learning that makes him a wonderful student."
"His intellect and passion will take him wherever he wants to go academically. We are very proud that he is a member of the Honors College," she said.
Wall is also a student in the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, a federally funded program that prepares undergraduate students who are the first in their families to attend college, are from economically marginalized families or are members of groups that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate education to pursue doctoral study. McNair Scholars are paired with UNT faculty mentors to conduct research. The students often present their research findings at professional conferences. They also undergo intense preparation for graduate school.
As a McNair Scholar, Wall has researched the World Trade Organization and its role in trade disputes with Dr. Marijke Breuning, UNT professor of political science.
"I think the WTO is one of the few international associations that matters. It has managed to tame America's power, and it's become a battleground for future disputes between the U.S. and China," said Wall, who presented his research last spring at the Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting.
Breuning described Wall as "one of those rare students who truly stands out."
"It's been a great pleasure to work with Chris on research projects over the past two years," she said.
This past summer, Wall was one of 20 students in the U.S. selected to participate in Duke University's Ralph Bunche Summer Institute. He spent six weeks researching the June 2009 political dispute in Honduras, where Wall was born. After Honduran President Manuel Zelaya decided against holding a referendum to convene a constituent assembly to change the nation's constitution -- changes that were opposed by the legislative branch and ruled unconstitutional by Honduras' Supreme Court --, Zelaya was forcibly removed from power by the Honduran military, acting on orders from the Supreme Court.
"There was a question on his legitimacy before the coup happened, so I focused on that," Wall said.
In addition, Wall conducted research at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 2009 during a study abroad trip to The Hague, Netherlands, offered by the UNT Department of Political Science. He interviewed personnel working for the ICTY to gather data for a research paper on international law and private military corporations.
Wall's other accomplishments at UNT include interning with the Dallas Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on U.S.-Mexico Relations, where he conducts policy research and statistical analysis on issues related to Mexican immigration; serving as a board member on UNT's Ronald E. McNair Selection Committee; and acting as a mentor and tutor to students from underprivileged backgrounds at high schools and middle schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Wall is also a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and Golden Key International Honor Society, which recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence among college and university students from all academic disciplines. He was also chosen for Alpha Lambda Delta, the national honor society for college and university students who achieve high grade point averages during their freshman years.
Wall will receive his bachelor's degrees from UNT in May 2011 and will enter graduate school in the fall of 2011. He has applied to the doctoral programs in political science at Duke University and Stanford University. Wall plans to become a university professor and continue conducting research on weak states and democratization.