Sophomore Scholar Jump-Starts Academic Career

Sophomore Scholar Jump-Starts Academic Career

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Breanne Beard '17

Siena students get in the game. From research and product development to internship programs and study abroad experiences, Saints take advantage of all Siena has to offer. These opportunities are not simply available to Siena’s upperclass students, they are there the minute a Saint walks through the doors, just ask Shelby Davis ’19.

As a sophomore, Davis has already had the opportunity to conduct research, give presentations and have her work accepted for publication. Although she has only been at Siena for a short amount of time, she has been busy.

“If Dr. Cutler and Siena have given me these amazing opportunities in my first year and a half, I can't imagine what I'll be able to do and where I'll end up by the end of my four years,” said Davis.

Davis has worked with Leonard Cutler, Ph.D., professor of political science on research into Guantanamo prison.

Davis participated in Siena’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) Summer Research program and was assigned, by Dr. Cutler, the responsibility of researching Guantanamo's legacy of torture, the world's international response to the torture reported at Guantanamo, background information on the facility, President Obama's efforts at closing the facility, as well as what plans each 2016 presidential candidate had for the facility, were they to be elected.

Dr. Cutler and Davis took a trip to Lake George High School to present their research on Guantanamo. The presentation not only featured their work, but showcased all that can be done through Siena’s academic opportunities.

“At first I was extremely nervous, as I have always struggled with public speaking,” Davis said, “However, once I began to see how the students responded to the material, I felt much more comfortable.”

Their article, “Guantanamo, Fifteen Years After 9/11: An Unnecessary Presidential Legacy” has been accepted for publication by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Review, Jurist.

The process for writing the article as only a sophomore seemed scary at first for Davis but with help and motivation from Dr. Cutler, she was able to push herself and pursue this opportunity.

“He helped me by writing his own commentary, aiding me with my own research and discovering sources, looking over my drafts, and asking for my feedback when it came time to finalize our article,” stated Davis. “He truly brought me into the process, making me feel professional, and took my feedback and comments on the article as if my feedback was important.”

In the spring, Davis will be presenting her research at the New York State Political Science Association.

“High school students took an interest during the early stages of our research, so I am excited to see how such a professional and talented group of individuals will react to the actual finished product.”

Davis is proud of her accomplishments so far at Siena College and thanks her friends and family for all of the support as well as Siena College and Dr. Cutler for the amazing opportunity.