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PoliSci Student Selected for Harvard Presentation


Political science undergraduate McCayla Sica was accepted to present her research at the 2017 National Collegiate Research Conference at Harvard in January. This is a very prestigious honor, as the application process is extremely competitive.

McCayla's honors thesis is titled “The Effects of Early Education Curriculum on a Child’s Perception of Race.” She investigates whether first and second grade students who are exposed to a classroom reading and activity on multiculturalism alter their perceptions of race (and gender) and their beliefs about leadership.

To conduct her research, McCayla secured the cooperation of the Florida State University School (FSUS) and received approval from the university’s Human Subjects Committee. to work with students at FSUS divided into treatment and control groups. Students in the treatment group took part in a classroom reading of Dr. Seuss’s The Sneeches, a classic children’s book about bias toward others, and a classroom activity in which they played the role of the sneeches, where some received certain privileges and others did not. The early results suggested that students in the treatment group exhibited increased levels of tolerance.

In the process of conducting this work, Sica also won two research grants. After her Harvard presentation, she also showcased her research at the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference at Duke University, the Stanford Undergraduate Research Conference, and the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference.

McCayla was a 2016 Social Science Scholar and a member of the college's Student Leadership Council, where she served as Scholarship Chair.