Ambitious first-year political science student presents findings in Greece

June 06, 2024

Quinnipiac student Lillian Curtin sitting at a table with her name tag displayed

Embodying the spirit of Quinnipiac ambition, Lillian Curtin ‘27 capped off her first year at Quinnipiac as a political science major in Athens, Greece, as one of the youngest panelists selected to present at the International Association for Political Science Students’ (IAPSS) World Congress.

Curtin presented her research and findings on “The Dangerous Impact of Disinformation on Human Rights” and served as a panelist who brought a fresh perspective to the theme of this year’s gathering, “The Future of Governance in the Digital Era.”

Curtin’s political science professor, Jennifer Sacco, encouraged Curtin to submit her abstract to the IAPSS in early February. She was accepted in March, and presented a few weeks ago.

“My presentation was about different tactics that governments and political leaders use to allow them to violate human rights, such as using the media and social media to present false narratives,” Curtin said. “It calls for honesty that will increase trust in the government and trust in other people, because this is how discrimination starts. It would overall lead to a better government.”

Among hundreds of potential panelists, fewer than half were selected to present their research during the IAPSS World Congress. Curtin feels she may have stood out due to her strong belief in her subject.

“I’m very passionate about how governance has changed in this digital era, and I think that may have shown in my work,” said Curtin.

Curtin entered Quinnipiac with the intent to study biochemistry but soon decided to major in political science instead.

“In my gut, I just knew I wanted to do political science,” said Curtin. “Being selected for the IAPSS World Congress makes me confident that I made the right decision.”

Curtin said she was humbled to be among a small number of undergraduate students participating in the congress.

“It was honestly pretty intimidating at first, because I was in the midst of a lot of Ph.D. students and graduate students,” she said. “But everyone was super nice, and there were a lot of professors from around the world who were used to working with students of all ages, so they had experience with undergraduate students, too.”

Curtin also came away from the conference feeling inspired.

“After this conference, I am most likely moving forward with starting a website that can be a forum for students to share political opinions that are fact-checked to stop the spread of disinformation but also to educate them and to let them be able to give their opinions," she said.

In the Quinnipiac community, Curtin serves as the opinion editor of The Quinnipiac Chronicle, a member of the honors leadership board, a College of Arts and Sciences event ambassador, a peer catalyst, and a mentor for first-year students residing at The Grove.

This fall, through her training with Connecticut’s Next Gen Elections program, Curtin will serve as a moderate-level poll worker during the national election. Curtin said her interest in political science is rooted in her love for U.S. history and law and growing up around law enforcement. At Quinnipiac, she also minors in legal studies and Spanish. She is considering pursuing constitutional law.

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