La Salle students present research work at the Pennsylvania Political Science Conference

June 20, 2024

Intizorhon Fataeva, ’24, and Wilkes Pierce, ’25, received a valuable educational experience from the opportunity. 

Intizorhon Fataeva, ’24, and Wilkes Pierce, ’25.

Intizorhon Fataeva, ’24, (left) and Wilkes Pierce, ’25 (right).

Two La Salle students took advantage of an opportunity to present their scholarly work at a state-wide conference.  

Intizorhon Fataeva, ’24, and Wilkes Pierce, ’25, both presented at the Pennsylvania Political Science Conference held at Chestnut Hill College in April.  

Fataeva, a political science and criminal justice major, presented on Islamic political thought from the Middle Ages to the West European era of Enlightenment. Pierce, a Spanish, political science, philosophy and economics major, presented his study on human development index (HDI), focusing on micro HDI related to human development through U.S. zip codes. His study started off with a focus on the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia but expanded to zip codes across the entire city.  

Fataeva and Pierce both learned about the opportunity through La Salle’s political science faculty and both of their presentations were focused on projects they began as classwork.  

Fataeva is a first-generation student from Uzbekistan. This research was in part inspired from her upbringing in Islam and her own struggles in trying to better understand the faith. She also hopes to bring diversity in discussions of political science and criminal justice with questions like these. 

“What sparked my interest in this topic was my political theory classes that I took with Dr. Mark Thomas,” Fataeva said. “In one of our classes, we were discussing a Greek philosopher whose ideals I saw were very similar to that of Islamic ideology when it comes to how society and the individual are to be in an ideal world. As well as the role of religion being a guidance to existence. These parallels made me question why is it that if the ideals of Islam are the same to these renowned Greek (mostly Christian) philosophers that we do not see Islamic philosophers in discussions of philosophy.”  

Pierce was impacted by his personal experience living in an area that was heavily affected by the opioid crisis. This led him to want to see how the factors of the HDI (health, knowledge and standard of living) impact different areas.  

“I wanted to find a way to capture inequalities that exist between certain zip codes,” he said.  

Both students found challenges with their research. For Fataeva, it was putting the scholarly paper together in a comprehensive way while including all the information. For Pierce, it was finding the best and most accurate data, and data for all the zip codes he was looking for. 

However, both students enjoyed their research projects and discovering things throughout their work.  

Getting to present at the conference gave Fataeva and Pierce opportunities to network and meet other undergraduate students, along with graduate students and academics.  

“The professional yet welcoming atmosphere was exciting,” Fataeva said. “I enjoyed meeting other hardworking academics and listening to the various speakers and diverse topics throughout the day. I was honored to be able to share my work with people of similar dedication to academia.”  

Pierce said seeing others’ work was also inspiring and he enjoyed learning from others. As he enters his final year in his undergraduate career, he said it motivates him to continue to learn and grow.  

As Fataeva has now graduated, she found the opportunity to be another way to La Salle prepared her for the workforce. 

“The conference was an opportunity to learn more but also apply what I have learned at La Salle over the years. I pushed myself to explore out of my comfort zone and utilize my knowledge and professional skills to be a part of an experience like this. Thus, further enhancing my presentation skills, professionalism, and connections,” she said.  

Pierce will receive the Flubacher Scholarship for 2024-25. Fataeva received the Byrne Scholarship for Academic Year 23-24.    

The Flubacher Scholarship is open to economics or economics and international studies majors of outstanding intellectual achievement to provide financial assistance during the student’s junior and/or senior years. 

The Byrne Scholarship recognizes an outstanding junior and/or rising senior political science major who emphasizes the study of United States Government and politics while exemplifying their commitment to their academic achievement and learning. 

“Inti and Wilkes are wonderful students and show the value of a La Salle education,” said Mark Thomas, Ph.D., political science assistant professor.  

—Meg Ryan