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Political Science Students Travel to OSU for Simulation

Political Science Students Travel to OSU for Simulation


Four Purdue Political Science students traveled to the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH on November 5th to participate in an in-person multiday national security communications and policy simulation.

These students joined dozens of others from OSU, Ohio University, and even a university from the UK for the simulation, described as “a capstone campus-wide inter-disciplinary professional training and networking exercise.” Volunteering to roleplay as either a strategic communications staffer or as a journalist, the students reacted in real-time to political and national security developments unfolding as part of the simulation.

According to program materials, the “simulation’s scenarios involve real-world countries, places, people, and problems. [This] allows students to bring to bear everything they know.”

The students who elected to serve as strategic communications staffers monitored the simulation’s media environment and engaged with it in a way they thought consistent with their organization’s goals and preferences. Such actors within the simulation ranged from the White House, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, the Governor of Ohio, and Cardinal Health (a major Ohio healthcare provider).

Those students who entered the simulation as journalists were slotted into one of the two simulation online newspapers. Simulation participants experienced these newspapers using actual websites that were updated constantly as global developments were reported on within the ongoing simulation. 

Simulation participants added further complexity to these rapidly unfolding scenarios by participating in Slack accounts and by using social media accounts specially made for the simulation. Overseeing the proceedings this year were veteran Washington Post reporter and frequent cable news pundit Philip Bump and former senator Heidi Heitkamp.Sophomore political science and history double major Alek Wisinski, who participated in the simulation, said of his experience, "I had a lot of fun following the legislative process under the watchful eye of real senators and participating in that process. Getting an inside look at the inner workings of the government was enlightening. Thank you to Dr. Connaughton and Dr. Goldsmith for organizing this event and I hope I can do something like this again!"

High-impact programming like the Ohio State simulation demonstrates the department’s commitment to providing our students with meaningful, hands-on learning opportunities. As Department Head Cherie Maestas explains, “Experiential learning such as this simulation plays an important role in students' education because they gain first-hand experience applying classroom knowledge in a practical setting.”