Centenary welcomes new assistant professor of political science

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Amy Friesenhahn has joined Centenary College as assistant professor of political science. Friesenhahn’s research examines American politics and political institutions with particular attention to the ways that gender, race, and ethnicity shape Americans’ political experiences, representation, and opportunities.

Friesenhahn earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Texas. She previously taught at Oklahoma State University where her courses included Introduction to American Government and Voting and Elections. This fall at Centenary, Friesenhahn will teach an introductory American Politics course, a course on Constitutional Law and American Politics focusing on institutions and the powers of government, and Political Analysis.

“The Political Analysis course is a perfect opportunity for me to use data I have collected for my dissertation and current research projects on gender and legislative behavior in Congress,” said Friesenhahn. “I will use in-class demonstrations and practice exercises for students, giving them the opportunity to work with real data and deepen their understanding of key concepts in political science research. Since Political Analysis serves as our research methods in political science course, I plan to show students examples of variables, descriptive statistics, and basic regression analysis using the data sets I assembled for my dissertation and that I continue to work with and build on for my ongoing research projects. My hope is that this will bring to life for students examples of how political scientists use observations of real-world politics to ask and answer interesting questions.”

Friesenhahn is currently working on several collaborative projects on gender disparities in campaign advertising by outside groups (i.e. Super PACs, 527s, and 501s) for US House and Senate candidates. She is also beginning a working paper building on a chapter of her dissertation that specifically examines the circumstances in which Republican congresswomen defect from party in roll-call votes. She hopes to involve interested Centenary students in some of these research projects to increase their hands-on learning opportunities.

“With student interest in women and American politics, I would love to work with students on projects related to gender politics in Louisiana or the South,” said Friesenhahn. “The state of Louisiana ranks relatively low among the 50 states for women’s representation in the US Congress and the Louisiana state legislature, and I would love to work with students on a project to survey and/or interview our state’s representatives or their staff (at the national level and state-level) on gender issues.”

Friesenhahn, who earned an undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Texas-Tyler, dreamed of working at a small liberal arts college in the South and was excited to see the Centenary job posting while serving as a visiting professor at Oklahoma State.

“I am a Texas native, so I am very familiar with the region. With experience as a NCAA Division III student-athlete and Honors Program student at UT-Tyler, though not a liberal arts college, I was able to enjoy small, interdisciplinary classes that gave me the liberal arts environment I craved,” said Friesenhahn. “Coming from that place, I feel thrilled to get to work at Centenary, where I will get to really know my students and they will know me. As a Latina teaching in higher education, I feel a responsibility to serve as a role model and mentor for students of color, women students, and students from marginalized groups generally, so they can see themselves pursuing their dreams, in academia or otherwise, beyond their time at Centenary as well. I am very excited to work at a small college with diverse students, and one that really values diversity and inclusion on campus.”

Friesenhahn looks forward to bringing together her professional and personal experiences to benefit her students at Centenary.

“I hope that my students will feel comfortable and confident asking questions, participating in class discussions, visiting me to ask more questions in office hours, presenting their own research, that they will get excited about digging into our class material, and that they will feel what they have gotten out of our classes is rewarding and applicable to the real world,” said Friesenhahn. “My long-term goals for my students are that they will be empowered to pursue their goals after graduation, whether that means attending law school and practicing law, attending graduate school to become professors or researchers themselves, or becoming teachers, activists, political consultants, work for a news organization, NGO or think-tank, or run for office!”


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