UK students watch, analyze Kavanaugh hearing

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Many people here in the bluegrass were keeping an eye on the confirmation hearing Thursday, including students at the University of Kentucky.

Instead of just studying for their upcoming exam, students in Professor Clayton Thyne’s statistics class watched live coverage of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

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“One thing that is really important to us is to make sure the students understand the connection between what we are doing in class and the real world,” said Professor Thyne, chair of Political Science at UK.

Thyne says this hearing is a perfect example of how political scientists use statistics to analyze the news of the day.

“Not just kind of watching the news or trying to come up with theories or opinions but we study it empirically. so we actually look at data and try to analyze how supreme court hearings work,” said Professor Thyne.



A real world example Thyne’s students say they appreciate getting the opportunity to watch play out.

“I like it. I’m glad that we’re doing it. I might not have sought it out on my own just because I have class all day. So it’s nice to have that opportunity to do it,” said Sydney Litterer, a student at UK.

“To have a reminder of the subject area that I’m going to be applying these statistical skills to. To be there in the background. Just kind of as a motivating factor and to remind me why I am here,” said Matthew Cain, a student at UK.

But as million of people watch the hearing, Thyne wants his students to look at it through a scientist’s lens.

“What I hope they take away is just the real world implications of what we’re doing. We’re not just writing stuff up in our office but we have a mission here at UK. We want to make the world a better place. We want to make the commonwealth better and so we need to realized that that hard work we’re putting in to understanding statistics is going to have implications for the development of our economy, for a variety of things,” said Professor Thyne.