CNN, Wisconsin Public Radio or the New York Times—just a few of the places you may have seen, heard or read of
Wendy Scattergood and
David Wegge over the past few months. Both local and national media regard the political science professors as go-to experts in their field. During an election cycle in particular, both have a lot on their plates.
They like the fact that CNN or the Washington Post may come calling, but there's also a great deal of pressure. "When Wendy or I are doing an interview, we have to make sure we can stand behind the results, and we have to make darn sure the methodologies we use are absolutely right," said Wegge. "Also, I'm out there as Dave Wegge, professor of political science from St. Norbert College. So I'm representing the institution. That's one of the things people may not think about as much."
All this comes on top of teaching, which both professors will tell you is priority number one. "Let's see, I don't sleep very much, I work on weekends," joked Scattergood. "But I love it."
As part of her duties, Scattergood analyzes data from four surveys a year that come out of the St. Norbert College Survey Center. In mid-October, the Wisconsin survey was released and it dealt with many important political issues and races that have an impact not only locally, but nationally as well.
"My students think I'm crazy when I say this, but being the first person to see all the survey data, that to me is really exciting. To me that's like Christmas. Opening a new database is like opening up a present."
In Wegge's Parties and Election class, around 22 students engage in a couple of projects. They have a choice between selecting a state and doing a prediction paper on a senate or gubernatorial race, or working as an intern for a campaign.
Wegge said the classroom is abuzz. "I want them (students) to walk away thinking, 'I want to be involved in this later as well.'
"One old Wisconsin politician once told me that politics is the only real game for adults. We're too old to play football and some of us are too old to play hockey, so politics is the game, and it's a game we can stay in for a long time."