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ASU grad student’s thesis inspired by Arizona Legislative Internship


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April 27, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.

Jennifer Kahn is graduating from Arizona State University this May with a degree in political science as part of ASU’s 4+1 program, an accelerated bachelor’s and master’s major track. Before beginning her graduate studies, Kahn took part in the Arizona Legislative Internship Program.

The Arizona Legislative Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to work at the Arizona State Capitol on various projects that range from data analysis to specialized knowledge on interest groups in the area. The experience influenced Kahn’s established ideas of the political system.

“I have always wanted to go to law school, ever since I was younger, and this experience really helped me understand the other side of the law,” Kahn said.

“I did not know, prior to my internship, that there were research analysts in the Senate and House, much less analysts assigned to each committee, who need to know the bills inside and out, what interest groups are pushing for this bill to be passed, and what interest groups are pushing for this bill to fail,” Kahn said. “Even though I knew the basic process of how a bill becomes a law, there was a lot that goes into it that I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for my experience in the Senate.”

After completing this internship, Kahn went into the 4+1 accelerated graduate program offered by ASU, pursuing her master’s in political science. She was recently awarded the Warren E. Miller Research Paper Award from the School of Politics and Global Studies for her master’s thesis.

Her study consisted of two experiments with fictional advertisements that varied the gender of candidates and the “gender” of the advertisements themselves. The object of this study was to determine and understand how gender differences in the campaign may influence the way the public views male and female judicial candidates. 

When asked about her motivations behind this study, she said, “I was interested in this research because I enjoy reading research on the gender differences in legislative and executive campaigns, but realized there was very little research done on the judiciary, so I decided to combine my interest in law with my interest in gender differences and conduct this study.”

After graduating from the 4+1 program, Jennifer plans on attending ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, pursuing her childhood dream.

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