Student wins first place in research paper competition

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An Iowa State University student was awarded first place in the research paper competition in this fall’s Midwest Criminal Justice Conference held in Chicago.

David Fountain, a senior in political science and criminal justice, took home the first-place prize for his paper on the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel.David Fountain, senior in political science and criminal justice, took home the first-place prize in this year’s competition for his paper on the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel – specifically the right to effective assistance of counsel and the historic trends of the Supreme Court and its evolving interpretations of this right.

Three other ISU seniors also presented at the conference at the end of September: Mike Kaufmann, economics and kinesiology and health; Megan Culp, English; and Alexander Lindvall, political science.

All the students have an academic major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ISU.

The annual conference allows students from all over the country to submit papers into the competition. Participants come from diverse academic backgrounds, which creates a competitive environment, Fountain said.

The attendees from Iowa State all had taken Kathleen Waggoner’s American Judicial Process class, which requires students to write a research paper. Waggoner, adjunct associate professor of political science and also an attorney, puts her students through a rigorous research and editing process.

“She really helped me develop my paper beyond the classroom and made me a competitive candidate within the conference,” Fountain said.

Iowa State students have fared well in recent years under Waggoner’s leadership. Last year, students Jared Knight and Levi Grove tied for first place in the competition.

All participants present their work in front of a panel and are provided with feedback, which Waggoner says is crucial for their academic and professional development.

“It’s an incredible experience for students. They represent not only themselves, but also me, the department and the university. This really speaks well of Iowa State University,” Waggoner said. “It’s a terrific thing when your students do well.”

Fountain says his favorite aspect of the conference was being able to share ideas during the presentations. “There were diverse levels of experience among the participants with vastly different passions, which were reflected in the presentations,” he said.

Waggoner is appreciative of the opportunities to work personally and hands-on with her students. “They are so idealistic, energetic, hardworking and motivated. It’s nice to get to know them, and not just as students in the classroom.”

The first-place paper gets submitted to a journal for publication consideration and the also receives a $150 cash prize.


NEWS RELEASE College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University [php]view_las_blurb();[/php] Contacts: Kathleen Waggoner, Political Science, (515) 290-1131, Katherine Marcheski, Liberal Arts and Sciences Communications, Steve Jones, Liberal Arts and Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0461,