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Honors Students Fuse Business with Political Science

Honors Students Fuse Business with Political Science
(from left to right) Dr. White, Tommie Brechill, Sam Stevenson and Scott Schieuer at the 2018 Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Conference.
Just like chili and cinnamon rolls, some of the best partnerships are unexpected combinations. Three students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business presented at the 2018 Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance (DAAA) Conference. Utilizing their business insight, they discussed an uncommon topic for business majors – nuclear deterrence. The conference was hosted by the university's Department of Political Science and the College of Law Space, Cyber and Telecommunication Law Program, March 15-16.

The student presenters included: Tommie Brechbill, junior economics and supply chain management major from Stanton, Nebraska; Scott Schieuer, junior actuarial science major from Walton, Nebraska; and Sam Stevenson, junior economics and finance major from Omaha, Nebraska. Their paper, “An Analysis of Economic Policy Options of the U.S. toward North Korea,” focused on an economic inducement approach to better relations with North Korea as a means to reduce tensions.

This opportunity, while out of the ordinary for the students, left Schieuer excited to leave his comfort zone. His group brought a distinct business twist to the topic when presenting at the conference.

“It was fun to examine something different from business. We brought in our own unique perspective to the conference,” he said. “I never thought I would be presenting about nuclear deterrence to experts who have studied this for a lot longer than me. Flipping the switch from business to political science created an exciting experience for all of us.”

As part of the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, Brechbill, Schieuer and Stevenson enrolled in the honors seminar, "You MAD, Bro?": Mutually Assured Destruction, Deterrence and Assurance: The Politics of Nuclear Weapons (UHON 395H). Taught by Dr. Tyler White, assistant professor of practice in political science, he suggested the three students submit their paper, knowing it would be a good fit.

“The university has a good relationship with USSTRATCOM (U.S. Strategic Command) and we partnered with Nebraska Law to bring the DAAA Conference to Lincoln. The conference offered a unique opportunity for students to present to and with deterrence professionals. The representatives from USSTRATCOM were very impressed with the student presentations,” White said.

With the room full of deterrence specialists watching, Stevenson felt the pressure. But after they presented, the nerves were quelled.

“I thought the presentation went well. The conference stressed thinking outside the box. So when we started talking people were like, ‘What’s going on here?’ But once we finished, people approached us and were interested in what we had presented, which was neat. They had questions, and we received a lot of positive feedback,” he said.

Receiving recognition from USSTRATCOM professionals on how well the students did, White saw merit in having business students at the conference. He noted the shift in the traditional dynamic of the conference, something which might not have been seen otherwise. 

“It was great to see how an economic perspective and the training Tommie, Scott and Sam received from the College of Business could be brought to weigh in on a critical national security question. They brought a skill set a lot of analysts don’t have, which generated a lot of fruitful discussion,” he said.

To learn more about the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, visit:
Published: April 16, 2018