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Political Science Alumni

First-generation student makes the case in one of world's largest law firms

Jackson, SamanthaIn a few short years, Samantha Jackson went from living in a rural town of 3,000 people and questioning her future to moving to a bustling city with nearly 3 million residents and working at one of the most prestigious law firms in the world.

Jackson, a native of Goodells and a first-generation college student, is no stranger to broadening her horizons. During her undergraduate experience at Saginaw Valley State University, the determined 2015 political science grad was a driven member of moot court and traveled across the country multiple times to compete in the national championships, even placing in the top 6 percent nationally.

Jackson continued to expand her worldview as a hard-working member of the university's forensics team and Model United Nations group, as well as by serving as a dedicated global resident assistant in SVSU's Pine Grove apartments. She capped off her global experience at SVSU with a leadership development trip to Asia as part of her involvement with the prestigious Roberts Fellowship.

Jackson graduated with the confidence to begin her law career and further her global journey, but she didn’t always have this tenacity. When she started at SVSU, she was unsure of her future and place in the world, but the support and mentorship she received from pre-law advisor, Lee Trepanier, professor of political science, changed everything.


Top honor in national collegiate courtroom competition

Headshot of moot court standout Gabe KlotzSaginaw Valley State University student’s passionate approach to arguing courtroom cases in a competitive collegiate setting earned him the highest national honor from the American Moot Court Association.

Gabe Klotz, a political science major from Midland, delivered an inspired performance and received the national title in oration at the association’s national championship competition at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida Jan. 6-7. He bested 159 competitors from top universities across the United States who had qualified for the competition.
Klotz earned an invitation to the tournament after performing well with SVSU’s moot court program during a regional competition at SVSU in December. This was Klotz’s first academic year competing in moot court, where students act as attorneys in teams of two. They make arguments to a panel of judges by drawing from constitutional law and Supreme Court cases. Judges then decide winners based on public speaking ability, knowledge of cases and of law, and the ability to answer questions.


Former U.S. Congressman and a five-term Michigan senator, Jim Barcia

"I think Saginaw Valley State University is very unique and that the caliber of education, the quality of education that students receive here helps empower them to go on to achieve their dreams and to do the things that they aspire as students to do in their chosen careers." – retired State Senator and U.S. Congressman Jim Barcia

In February 2011, Jim participated in a panel discussion, "From SVSU Student to CEO." Hear how about his experience at SVSU and how it helped him get to national politics.

Elected to the Michigan Legislature in 1976 at age 24, Jim Barcia went on serve the region for 34 years in public service.  At the state level, he served as democratic majority whip (1979-1982) and was considered a strong advocate for working families, people with disabilities and senior citizens. Barcia was a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1977 to 1983. In the House of Representatives, Barcia served on the Science Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He left the House after being elected to the Michigan Senate, where he served until he resigned in 1993 to enter the United States House of Representatives. Barcia represented Michigan's 5th congressional district for five consecutive terms from 1993 to 2003.

After the United States 2000 Census, Barcia's congressional district was dismantled in 2002, and he ran for his old seat in the Michigan State Senate and won. He served as a state senator from 2003 to 2011. He announced his retirement in 2011.

A lifelong resident of Bay City, Barcia received his bachelor’s degree from SVSU in 1975. As a student, he majored in political science and served as president, vice president and senator of the University’s Student Government. In 1977, Barcia received SVSU’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award. In 2001, Congressman Barcia was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws for his outstanding record of public service in both state and national government. In 2011, he was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award, SVSU's most prestigious award for a community member. He is an SVSU Board of Fellow, an advisory group to SVSU.

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