Make The Connection

November 14, 2022 | By Cole Hatcher

Bryan Benavente ’24 (left) discusses the results of his partisanship research in a poster presentation at Ohio Wesleyan’s Summer Science Research Symposium. He and his mentor are pursuing journal publication. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Left, Center, Right

Ohio Wesleyan Student Researches ‘Partisanship & Public Opinion on International Hostility’

Bryan Benavente ’24

Name: Bryan Benavente ’24
Hometown: San Diego, California
High School: Mt. Carmel High School
Majors: Quantitative Economics and Data Analytics
OWU Connection Experience: Summer Science Research Program

Benavente participated in Ohio Wesleyan’s annual 10-week Summer Science Research Program. He completed a project titled “Partisanship & Public Opinion on International Hostility” under the mentorship of Nick Dietrich, Ph.D., assistant professor of Data Analytics.

What We Studied

“Our research investigates how the public forms opinions on U.S. foreign policy. Specifically, we studied how the party of a president making these decisions affects how voters support these policies. We asked people to read made-up news stories about U.S. foreign affairs and share whether they approved of the actions taken by our government.”

Lessons Learned

“The results of our research show that the public is less likely to support the foreign policy decisions of a president from an opposing political party. We also find that the public is less likely to support foreign policy when they feel that the decision could be costly to the U.S.

“It was surprising to see how easily susceptible people are to the kind of bias we study in our research. I think our results raise interesting questions about the effect of the policy-maker rather than the actual policy.”

Next Steps

“We are currently working to get our research published in a political science journal and are making some revisions to our final write-up. This project lays the foundation for some future questions that could be researched when studying public opinion.”

Valuable Mentoring

“While working with Professor Dietrich, I was able to get practical experience working with real-world data. He helped improve my ability to code and work with statistical software. One of the most important things I learned during the summer was how to communicate the complex ideas and methods of our project into concise points that a non-technical audience could easily understand.

“Working with Professor Dietrich, I was able to further develop my analytical and communication skills.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I was looking at small liberal arts colleges throughout the Midwest and East Coast. When hearing about Ohio Wesleyan, what stood out to me was what current students had to say about their experiences. I also had the opportunity to continue playing football.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I plan to work as an analyst in the finance industry.”