Fall Research Assistantships

Interested in being a Research Assistant in the fall? We’ve already received lots of opportunities for Honors students from faculty from across the university for this coming semester. We continually update our site with current openings as we get them!

You can also get academic credit for being a Research Assistant through Honors contract courses. You can read all the info on our website here. Keep in mind that the deadline to request credit is September 25th.

If you have any questions, please reach out to a Program Manager via email or by making an appointment. Happy browsing!

A Conservative Perspective on Syngman Rhee

Check out the following research story from fellow UHPer Mark Thomas-Patterson!

This semester, I took part in the GW Institute of Korean Studies Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This is a program sponsored by the GWU Institute of Korean Studies in which participants propose to write an academic article on any topic that connects with Korea. You are then matched up with a professor who focuses on that area of study, in my case Professor Greg Brazinsky in the Elliott School. Participants them work with their mentor towards creating a final paper, and workshop with other members of the program. Finally, the fellows with the top five papers are chosen to present at a research symposium with students in a sister program and Indian University. Even though the symposium was cancelled, I ended up being awarded the third-place award for my paper.

For this project, I analyzed how the Chicago Tribune, then a prominent conservative publication, covered the South Korean leader Syngman Rhee, a GWU alum who would later go on to be the first president of South Korea in the years between 1945-1950. I chose this topic as I am interested in the history of international relations and am particularly interested at how domestic groups viewed foreign affairs.

In order to understand why I decided to analyze the Chicago Tribune in this time period, one needs to understand the state of US conservatism in the 1940s. Unlike conservatism of today, conservatism of the 1940s was split between both parties, and drew on supporters from all around the country. However, conservatives at the time had a few major defining ideals. One of these was Anti-Communism. Conservatives, ever since the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, had opposed the spread of Communism and sought to combat it. During the 1920s and 30s many American conservatives had attacked organized labor for being the vanguard of communism in the US. Another ideal shared by many conservatives, as well as many on the left, was the belief in isolationism. American conservatives did not seek to create a state in which the US would turn into some sort of hermit kingdom a la DPRK. Instead, there was a belief that the US should not seek military involvements overseas.

An Overview of the Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune represented the Midwestern conservative branch of the Republican party under the ownership of Col. Robert McCormick(who was never a Col.). McCormick was the descendant of Cyrus McCormick and inherited the International Harvester company. He utilized these funds to go purchase the Chicago Tribune and turn it into a mouthpiece to advocate for his own political beliefs, which included supporting relatives who were active in the Republican party. This blatant bias in the paper granted it a certain degree of journalistic infamy, with a survey of journalists declaring the paper the most biased in the country, a title it shared with the newspaper of the US Communist Party. The paper had a long list of enemies, including the Roosevelt administration and organized labor. It was incredibly isolationist and intensely criticized Churchill and Stalin, who were displayed as European imperialists intent on manipulating the US.

Phase One- A Useful Friend

The Chicago Tribune’s coverage of Rhee can be broken into three main phases. The Tribune’s coverage of Syngman Rhee began at the San Francisco conference of 1945, where Rhee had traveled to advocate for recognition of his Korean Provisional Government in exile, as Korea was still under Japanese rule. Rhee’s application for Korea to join the brand-new United Nations was turned down by the US State Department as they had a policy of not recognizing any formally established governments. The Chicago Tribune noticed this and reached out to Rhee. Rhee talked to the Tribune about how he sought to create an independent Korean state based on American principles of Republican government and free enterprise. This connection was in large part motivated by the fact that the Tribune wanted to criticize the Truman administration, and the saga of a Democratic adminstration ignoring the pleas of a pro-American freedom fighter made for a great story. This relationship is not entirely one sided, however, as Rhee wrote the Tribune, thanking it for its advocacy on his behalf.

Phase Two-Critique of an Authoritarian

The second phase takes place in 1946 and 47, when the Tribune correspondent Walter Simmons arrives in Southern Korea, which was under US military governance. Simmons painted Rhee as a diehard anti-communist, whose refusal to work with anyone on the left made him a major thorn in the side of the US military, who wanted Korea to have a functioning government. Simmons covers how Rhee uses paramilitary groups to attack newspapers that disagree with him, and states that he is an aspiring autocrat. This period is topped off by a report by Col. McCormick on the peninsula, in which he states the US should leave the peninsula, even if it means Korea will come under Soviet domination.

Phase Three- Anti-Communist Embrace

The last stage of the Tribune’s coverage of Rhee began in 1948 in the run up to the first Korean Presidential election. Here, the coverage of Rhee swings back in his favor. He is depicted as a dependable US ally seeking to create a country based off of American principles. Furthermore, the atrocities committed by right-wing paramilitaries were minimized, and the blame for all violence is placed on communists. The paper excuses Rhee’s repressive actions as necessary in order to counter the communist threat.

Throughout my research, I saw the Chicago Tribune at a crossroads in the history of American conservatism. At times, it signaled its isolationist tendencies, but in the end its desire to combat communism won out. This desire to support anti-communism abroad would later go on to define American conservatism throughout the rest of the Cold War.






Fall 2020 Registration Guide

It’s almost time to register! To help prepare, check out these tips and reminders.

Registration Schedule

***Friday, April 17th @ 9AM EST: Honors Early Registration***(Remember, early registration is for your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th semesters!)

April 20
9 AM
90 or more credits earned
(use your transcript to find your total credits)
April 21
9 AM
70 or more credits earned
(use your transcript to find your total credits)
April 22
9 AM
50 or more credits earned
(use your transcript to find your total credits)
April 23
9 AM
30 or more credits earned
(use your transcript to find your total credits)
April 24
9 AM
0 or more credits earned
(use your transcript to find your total credits)

Registration is open from 9:00 AM to 11:59 PM EST

If you’re not sure when you register, you can check your earned credit hours in GWeb using the following path: Student Records & Registration Menu > Student Records Information Menu > Transcripts > View Unofficial Transcripts. Make sure you’re looking at overall hours earned for the accurate total!

Urgent Hold Information

Check your record via GWeb regarding holds prior to your scheduled registration time. Any hold on your account will prevent access to registration. You can view any holds on your account by looking at: Student Records & Registration Menu > Student Records Information Menu > View Administrative Holds.

Make sure to check now and again in the days lead up to registration. Check early, and check often! BADLY TIMED HOLDS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.

Fall Registration Advising

All honors students are encouraged to see a Program Manager before registration. Make sure you are prepared with a tentative course schedule using the Fall 2020 Schedule of Classes and Honors course descriptions. As new course information and revisions become available, we will update the website. Please re-check the information on the Schedule of Classes and the Honors site before you register to ensure that you’re up-to-date!

Unfortunately we won’t be able to meet in person for advising events and meetings, but please feel free to make a virtual appointment with us online: honorsprogram.gwu.edu/make-appointment

Your peer advisor is also always a good resource if you have questions about specific courses, professors, or anything you’d like advice on!

Professor Antwan Jones has TWO research opportunities for you!

Do you have an interest in sociology, psychology, or social science research? Professor Antwan Jones has two research projects you should consider: one research project titled “The Effect of Parental Incarceration on Child and Young Adult Mental Health Outcomes” and another titled, “Stress and Obesity in Adulthood“.

While the deadline to earn academic credit through Honors has closed for the spring semester, both projects are a great opportunity to get engaged in meaningful research.

Join the Rodriguez Lab (Chemistry) & perform research to fluorescently image & treat cancer.

From Professor Erik Rodriguez:
“We are looking for freshman or sophomores interested in doing significant research during their undergraduate studies, including summers with possible funding.”
Read more on position descriptions and application information here. Please contact Professor Erik A. Rodriguez at erik_rodriguez@gwu.edu with resume and any questions.

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