Matthew Bondy ’17, an International Relations major of William & Mary, received the Best Paper Presented as a Poster Award, among undergraduate presenters, from the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA). He will be awarded a plaque at the upcoming MPSA Business Meeting on April, 2017, and receive a $250 monetary award. Matthew is the second student from William & Mary to win this award, following Elizabeth Pelletier ’14 and her research project “Learning in Harm’s Way: The Effects of Neighborhood Violence on School Performance.”
Matthew’s paper, “Mobile Phone Ownership, Gender, and Political Participation in Africa,” was presented at the 2016 MPSA annual meeting. In the analysis, he used observational and experimental data to test the effect of mobile phone ownership on political participation in Africa, with a focus on gender. In his observational study, Matthew found that mobile phone ownership is associated with a statistically significant increase in several measures of political participation, while being female is associated with a decrease in those same measures. At the time of the submission, Matthew’s field experiment was ongoing in Tanzania, but he hopes that data from the experiment will complement the results from his observational study.
Matthew’s study is part of a research assistantship with William & Mary’s Center for African Development and an ongoing field experiment in Tanzania lead by Professor Philip Roessler of William & Mary’s Department of Government, Professor Dan Nielson of Brigham Young University, and Dr. Flora Myamba of REPOA, a think tank in Tanzania. In his acknowledgments, Matthew particularly thanked Professor Roessler for his mentorship, Professor Paul Manna for his comments on the paper, and the William & Mary Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence and Department of Government for financially supporting his travel to Tanzania.