Suffolk University senior Jessica Ross has made a name for herself on the national level as the result of a research paper she presented at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

She was one of only 10 students selected throughout the United States to showcase her work before an audience of distinguished political scientists and educators from across the country.

The 35-page study, “Robots in the Classroom: Accountability, Curriculum, and Instruction in High-Poverty Schools,” analyzes the effect of high-stakes testing and accountability standards on the methods of instruction employed by teachers in American elementary schools. With a particular focus on the achievement of minority and impoverished children, the study suggests the best teaching method for promoting high educational achievement from these groups requires teachers to tailor curriculum and instruction to meet each student’s individual needs.

Ross' unique opportunity in Washington developed from her participation in the prestigious Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) at Duke University. Named in honor of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche, the RBSI program gives 20 students the opportunity to experience graduate study and encourages them to pursue academic careers in political science.

“The program was only one month long, but it was very intense and challenging,” said the 21-year-old Ross, an American government and politics major. “I learned a lot and it was a great experience because it gave me a chance to network with other students from everywhere who have the same interests as me.”

Ross is a McNair Scholar, a resident assistant, and past president of the Black Student Union. She is also a research assistant for Assistant Professor of Government Teri Fair. “Jessica is in the top one percent of students I have taught in my five years here at Suffolk,” stated Fair. “She is a bright, determined, and competent individual.”

With the guidance of Fair and Rachael Cobb, chair of the government department, Ross is the second Suffolk student selected for the RBSI. Tiffany Andrade, who recently graduated, was chosen last year.