News, Events and Awards in 2012

Campaigns and Elections Class Exit Polls

On Election Day (November 6, 2012), students from the Campaigns and Elections class conducted an exit poll at different polling sites in Marin County.  Armed with their iPads, students spent the entire day, from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, in two to three hour shifts, asking voters to take an electronic exit poll.  Once the data was captured, the students studied the differences among voters in different areas of the country, comparing the results to national exit polls.  This project was also conducted by students at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida and Merrimack College in Andover, Massachusetts.  Exit polls are a valuable resource for examining the electorate and its preferences, and can tell researchers, campaign strategists, and the general public what voters are thinking and how they are making their decisions during a given election.  Getting the most accurate reflection of the electorate on Election Day is important for both projections and for research.

Exit Poll (1)          Exit Poll (2)          Exit Poll (3)


VoteSmart 2012


On October 23, 2012 we continued our tradition of the "Vote Smart Challenge" that began in 2008. Our 3rd Vote Smart Challenge was designed to help create an informed electorate by motivating people to become involved in the political process.




Sydney Lewis in Washington DC

Sydney Lewis (class of 2013), honors political science and English double major, is working in Congressman Sam Farr's office in Washington DC this fall as Dominican's Panetta Intern.  Her daily work in the congressional office allows her to apply much of what she has learned during her coursework at Dominican.



Brandon Ernst (class of 2012), honors political science and business major is accepted to the United Nations Intensive Summer Study Program to be held from June 4th to June 8th, 2012. The U.N. Summer Intensive Study Program, through the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, brings Brandon one step closer to his ultimate goal of pursuing a career working for an international organization. As a national fellow for the Institute for International Public Policy, Brandon’s objective is to earn his graduate degree in international relations so that he may someday work for the United Nations or a Non-Profit organization to better serve the global community. After graduation Brandon will spend a few years working for Apple Inc. here in the Bay Area. We wish him continued success in his future endeavors. 



Sophomore, political science major, Daniela Leyva is selected as the World Affair Council’s Marin Chapter intern. Her duties include overseeing and maintaining the Chapter’s Facebook page This past March (30-31) at the St. Regis in San Francisco, Daniela participated in the World Affairs Council annual conference, Navigating Through A Shifting Global Landscape. Daniela’s participation was facilitated by a scholarship from the Council. 



Adrienne Formentos (Class of 2010), political science and English major, as a Vincentian Lay Missionary will head to Africa this summer to run a summer camp for kids in an area of Kenya plagued by drought and famine. After graduation Adrienne spent a year volunteering with the St. Vincent’s Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles. The volunteer service enabled Adrienne to reach out to the most underserved, underrepresented, and underprivileged residents of the area. Her services included providing free medical examinations and delivering food to the needy. Adrienne’s long-terms goals are to attend graduate school and pursue a career in Global Health.



Jessica Winberg (Class of 2012), honors political science and international studies major, has been admitted to the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS). She will be pursuing a Master’s degree in international policy studies. This summer she will partake in a full-immersion intensive Arabic language program through the Monterey Institute, on the Mills College campus in Oakland. Dominican University of California has a strategic partnership with MIIS. Dominican students and alums, who meet certain qualifications, stated in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in summer 2011 (, are eligible for several accelerated Master’s degree programs offered at MIIS.



Veronica Chinchilla, Rhode Island AmeriCorps RICJ Juvenile Justice Coordinator

Congratulations to Veronica Chinchilla, Class of 2012 double major (International Studies and Psychology) for being selected to spend a year in Providence, Rhode Island working for AmeriCorps. Veronica will be a RIJC Juvenile Justice Coordinator working to help create programs for at-risk youth and expand a variety of services that will serve Rhode Island's at-risk youth to help keep them out of the justice system. She is being sponsored by AS220 an organization that provides a forum for the local arts community. They offer facilities and services to artists who need space to exhibit their work or perform. 


Laurel Druke, summer internship in Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey's, Washington, DC office 

Laurel Druke, Class of 2012 will be spending the summer in Washington, DC as an intern for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. This is a fantastic opportunity for her. She recently completed her senior thesis "Combating Human Trafficking: Interest Groups and their Influence on Public Policy in the United States." While in Washington this summer she will have an opportunity to closely examine what Congress has been doing regarding this issue.


Dr. Gigi Gokcek selected as Teacher of the Year, 2012

We are thrilled to announce and wish a hearty congratulations to Dr. Gigi Gokcek for being selected as Dominican University's 2012 Teacher of the Year! The Teacher of the Year is nominated by students and selected by a committee of students and former winners. Dr. Gokcek has been at Dominican for 6 years and has been an incredibly dedicated teacher, scholar, and colleague. She continually challenges her students to be the best they can be and works with many students individually so that they are able to develop areas of interest into academic conference presentations. Students respect her and admire her ability to find new and creative ways to present material. Most recently, Dr. Gokcek has incorporated her love for the Science Fiction genre and the Star Trek series to teach World Politics. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Gokcek has served on the Student Life Committee where she continues to support and advocate for all students on campus. We are very proud to have her commitment to undergraduate education be recognized by the University.


Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program

We are pleased to announce that Sydney Lewis has been selected to participate in the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Congressional Internship Program. Sydney is a Political Science and English double major who has expressed an interest in participating in this program since she was a freshman. She will spend the fall 2012 semester in Washington, D.C. working for a member of the California congressional delegation. We will miss Sydney on campus, however, we are extremely proud of her and thrilled that she will be representing the department and Dominican University of CA in Washington, D.C.. We look forward to hearing about her experience upon her return.