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Political science students take trips

Barry McNamara
04/26/2010
Monmouth College’s political science students have had two recent opportunities to travel off campus and broaden their horizons in their chosen field.

Ten students recently presented their senior research projects at the 18th annual Conference for Students of Political Science at Illinois State University.

Presenters included Stephanie Arrowsmith, Rachel Bold, Noellen Brown, Laurel Buckley, Nishant Dixit, Noah Emery, Sarah McLinden, Joseph Moran and Alex Potts. Among the projects presented were “A Better Way: Updating Prison Rehabilitation” (by Brown) and “American Democracy: Participation Not Required” (by Bold). The students were accompanied by political science professor Farhat Haq.

Another group of MC pre-law students led by Haq recently spent the day in Chicago learning about the practice of law. Students on the trip included Timothy Bearrow, DeMarkco Butler, Graf Butler, Jared Cernansky, Samantha Hendrix, Morgan Hubbard, Elizabeth Keturi, Kiara Pierce, John Wuich and Gabriel Wynkoop. It marked the fourth year that Brad Nahrstadt, a 1989 Monmouth College graduate, has arranged for students to experience some of the inner workings of the legal world.

The students began their day by visiting the offices of Williams Montgomery & John, a 45-lawyer litigation firm with offices in the Willis Tower. Nahrstadt is a partner there, specializing in the defense of commercial, product liability and insurance coverage matters. He told the students about the route to his present position and what he does as a litigator.

The group next attended an oral argument before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals – a breach-of-contract dispute between an online bank and a software provider. It was handled on one side by David Boies, the attorney who represented former vice president Al Gore in the landmark Bush v. Gore decision.

At lunch, the students and Nahrstadt were joined by Monmouth graduates Doug Carlson ’66, Dan Cotter ’88 and Amy Manning ’89. Carlson is a partner with the national law firm of Wildman Harrold; Cotter is vice president and deputy general counsel of Argo Group US; and Manning is a partner in the Chicago office of McGuire Woods. They told the students about their careers, their paths to their current positions and their experiences, while also providing the students with career and practical advice.

Following lunch, Nahrstadt took the students back to federal court to meet with James Holderman, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Although Holderman was in the middle of a trial, he interrupted the proceedings to step down from the bench and chat with the students, telling them a little bit about himself and the federal courts. He then asked the lawyers who were trying the case to introduce themselves and to tell the group about the case that was on trial. The students watched a portion of the patent infringement trial, then headed to Judge Holderman’s jury room to meet with the judge’s executive law clerk, Amy Rettberg. She provided the students with some practical advice about succeeding in law school and the best way to go about obtaining a clerkship with a federal judge.