Tectonic Geopolitics

Adrian Garcia


By Rachel Young


Every two years the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) hosts a conference for the Standing Group on the European Union. In 2016, the conference, which took place in Trento, Italy, was attended by EUPS alumna Lauren Perez (’11), EUPS Executive Director Dr. Scherpereel, and then Audrey Lievens ('16). At the conference, Perez and Scherpereel presented their co-authored paper on high-level ministerial turnover within the Council of the European Union and its affect on the strength of ministers and bureaucrats which was subsequently revised and published in JEPP. Research Assistant Audrey Lievens presented another paper that she, JMU alum Jerry Wohlgemuth ('10), and Dr. Scherpereel wrote on the use of Twitter within European legislators (subsequently revised and published in Policy & Internet).

Two years later both Scherpereel and Perez were back at the conference which took place in Paris from June 13, 2018 - June 15, 2018, this time with Research Assistant Rachel Young ('18) to present their paper entitled "How Permanent are the Permanent Representatives? Personnel Turnover in the Committee of Permanent Representatives." The paper drew from work undertaken by two generations of EUPS students as well as program faculty throughout the 2017-2018 academic year.

Additionally, Rachel had prepared a poster on the themes present in the paper for April 2018's Showcase of Graduate Research at JMU. Because Rachel was in Florence during that Harrisonburg-based event, incoming Research Assistant Chelsea Jones represented the poster. In the period between the April event and the ECPR SGEU conference, Dr. Scherpereel, Lauren and Rachel developed a full paper. In Paris, they presented that paper in a panel addressing the inner workings of institutions at the European Union.

What made this paper unique is that the project leading up to and including the conference spanned across all members of the EUPS community – the paper and conference presentation included Lauren, an alum of the program, Rachel, a current student in the program at the time, and Dr. Scherpereel, the director of the program. The presentation of the paper at the Showcase of Graduate Research included an incoming student in addition to the current student, alumni and program director already involved in the project, connect students across several cohorts of the EUPS program. The sense of community created around this project was visible in more ways than one - in addition to the involvement of several actors within the EUPS program, it also involved other alumni and friends of the program, as a portion of the EUPS fund was used to support Rachel’s conference expenses, providing her with invaluable professional experience which would not have been possible without the support for the program provided by alumni and friends. In her words, the conference was “an amazing opportunity to experience firsthand the conference atmosphere, which was unlike anything I had experienced before. Presenting in front of such accomplished academics was a challenging and rewarding task, and has better prepared me for my professional career following the end of the EUPS program”. Following the ECPR’s conference, they will revise the paper and present the revised version at the upcoming (July 2018) workshop on "Personnel Turnover in the EU" in Harrisonburg.

Rachel Young is a graduate of the EUPS program (Class of 2018) and ex-program research assistant.

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2018

Back to Top

Related Articles