David Jims WRT 200 Dr. Teutsch Disciplinary Research Paper International Relations at a Glance The complexity of world politics has increased substantially in the past decade. As globalization grabs hold of every aspect of life and even finds its way into the forgotten crannies of the most desolate regions, we are reminded that international relations and international affairs have a more fundamental role in our daily lives. Political science, while a somewhat vague term, is the study of politics and the ways it affects our culture, surroundings, and way of life. It‘s a vital tool in understanding the nuances of American life, how our governmental actions affect other countries, how other nations view us, and how we can improve our standing in a world that is becoming so integrated. While the term ―political science‖ is indistinct, it houses many ideas. Our ―science‖ is an important and vital part of our discipline, and much like other sciences (chemistry, physics, and biology), we are crucial to the public only when critical issues arise. In chemistry, the chemists are important when they design a new pill to make our lives easier and healthier. Physicists are important when they discover a new way to understand the world we live in (such as Newton‘s three laws of motion). Jon R. Bond, a professor of political science at Texas A&M University, agrees that political science is indeed a science and not an art: ―I believe that while there is an art to politics, there are basic laws that explain political behavior and these laws can be discovered through the scientific method.‖ (Bond, 2) The greatest of all political scientists will always be under Jims 2 scrutiny; it‘s the nature of politics, since politics reflects how power is disseminated and controlled in any community. That is why, through a microscope lens filtered by morality, political scientists must treat each scenario from a ―scientific‖ viewpoint. We must also understand and accept that we become important to the public only when an issue literally ―hits us on the head‖; we are then called upon to explain, analyze, and understand the problem, and then develop cohesive solutions. One factor, which does not affect other sciences, is that everyone feels they are an expert in the field of politics. Because laymen are guided by their backgrounds, morals, and values in politics, a true understanding of each and every situation isn‘t necessary for them to develop strong opinions. This difficult audience can make things even trickier when it comes to accomplishing anything in the political arena. In this paper I hope to cover a range of topics: a very brief look at how people view politics; why I decided to become a political science major; political science as a major at West Chester University (including some professors, required courses, and the three different branches that are available to study); some information on graduate school; the importance of internships; a few postgraduation options (focusing on student-minded jobs, their salaries, other related jobs and duties involved, as well as the Peace Corps as a good option for graduates); and finally, some current trends in the field of political science and how they effect the way we, as political science majors, learn. As political scientists, we affect the way people learn about politics on a daily basis. We consistently inform the news media of important topics. The hard part, as stated previously, is that every person believes that their ideas about politics are correct. That is why politics can create an uncomfortable air and clear a room with the first hint of Jims 3 an opinionated conversation. It represents our lives; whether we, as citizens of the most visible nation in the world, are cognizant of what is happening in the world (or domestically) or not, politics is ―on‖ at all hours. The sad truth is that most of the citizens of the United States (around 90%) are not educated on much of what is happening around the world on a daily basis. That is why, as political scientists, we are given the responsibility (and joy) to understand the inner workings of political systems and provide the best solutions that will fit our great nation, and the world as a whole. But this decision to become a political scientist did not come easy. My searches for majors after high school graduation led me to travel to the University of Pittsburgh to study computer engineering. After discovering my dislike for the natural sciences, I thought back to what I really enjoyed studying throughout my high school career. I was thought of as being rather politically savvy (I was chosen to run the mock election for the 2004 presidential election and I took many AP politics classes), so I thought that the world of politics might be a better career choice. With the help of the West Chester University Political Science professors (such as the cheery Dr. Loedel [head of the Political Science Department], the encyclopedic Dr. Polsky, the law expert, Dr. Stangl, and the activist, Dr. Stevenson), and some initial classes that focused on a variety of topics, my goals of understanding politics, and providing insight and knowledge to the laymen of our world, seemed attainable. But, the ambiguity of political science can make finding such answers more difficult. While politics, in general, ranges from a large array of topics (from internal affairs, such as the management of the Interstate Highway System and its origin, to external affairs, such as international sanctions), it also gives a great overview of the Jims 4 world around us. This large spectrum of topics can be daunting, but in my experiences in studying political science as an undergraduate student, I have learned far more about the world around me, how it was shaped, and what I can do to re-shape it. I also did some re-shaping prior to becoming a political science major. My decision to change majors has proven to be a great one. But simply becoming a political science major wasn‘t my only option. Here at West Chester University, we offer three different degrees in Political Science: general Political Science; Political Science with a focus in International Relations; and Political Science with a focus in Applied Public Policy. All three majors have some the same basic courses which must be taken in order to graduate with a political science degree (Political Theory, Comparative Politics, American Government and Politics, etc.). These courses give basic introductions to the workings of political systems, particularly focused on the United States‘ system of a democratic republic, and critically thinking about politics. We also learn about such institutions as Communism, how it has affected Northern Asia and Eastern Europe after World War II in particular, and how powerful leaders such as Lenin, Stalin, and Zedong have created an isolated region that still faces many social and economic problems as a result of poor planning and human rights violations. Lots of political jargon and important figures are defined, but with little ramification of how to apply it to developing meaningful policy (John Locke‘s ideas of social contract and liberalism have helped shape our current system; what libertarian economists like Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman believe to be a good economic model; and the differences between multilateralism [using, helping, and taking advice from allies and other countries] and unilateralism [approaching policy by oneself], in which those differences could be clearly Jims 5 viewed in the Bush administration). Core classes such as Senior Seminar provide meat to the bone as students are encouraged to undertake and understand very specific aspects of our global politic. Yet, as school progresses and students mature, the three majors split and focus on their respective ideas. A general degree in Political Science would cover many bases that encourage political thought, understanding, and reasoning. Its goal is to be the best-rounded of the fields; being ―the one best suited to students planning to continue graduate studies in political science.‖ (―Department of Political Science‖) This flexibility is great in understanding our political culture. The area of Applied Public Policy has goals that are plainly stated in its title; to provide the necessary background to prepare students in a field related to making policy. Policy areas can include (but are not limited to) environmental, domestic, foreign, military, and economic policy. The main purpose of focusing on this is to be effective in understanding the workings of policy makers and how to develop skills related to interaction among others in a political world. Fields related to this area of expertise range from a variety of different policy, and non-policy careers. As this field ―incorporates science, ethics, law and policy to illuminate the problems and potential solutions‖ (―Environment, Ethics & Public Policy‖) to many areas, it can be applied across many career opportunities. The field in which I will be obtaining my degree, Political Science – International Relations, is a field which incorporates a lot of what the other two majors have, and also focuses on what that means in regards to the international arena. One of the main foci in studying international relations is an understanding of another culture‘s language. That is Jims 6 why, as an international relations major, one is required to take at least four semesters of a foreign language (I chose Spanish because of my experience and enjoyment in speaking the language in high school). Other required courses, such as Geography and History, are extremely important in understanding the layout and background of regions which are under study. Other courses which are prevalent, and required, to my major, such as International Relations (which deals with the workings of the international system, how players like Khrushchev had an impact on historical society and how he affects it still to this day, and tensions and alliances between existing countries [i.e. NATO]), Russian Foreign Policy (which is mostly an overview of the Soviet Union due to the fact that since its collapse in 1991, a lot of problems associated with its dissemination still exist today), Latino Politics (it focuses on the Hispanic population living in America, the problems they face [such as immigration, integration, and health care], and the history behind their immigration), and U.S. Foreign Policy (focusing on current topics such as the Obama campaign and victory, the bureaucratic inner workings of our government, and public opinion as a source of information) help to give an even larger grasp of understanding to the world. These courses are based in large part on historical episodes. This is, however, vital to success as so much of what occurs today is related to the past and we can also learn so much from our past successes and failures. As an example, an article, written by Milton Bearden, found in the prestigious journal ―Foreign Affairs‖ (which is a leading journal in the field of international relations) outlines what President Obama‘s steps might be in our continued and expanding war in Afghanistan: ―In a Foreign Affairs essay from November/December 2001, I chronicled the disasters that have befallen all foreign invaders of Afghanistan, from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union. Now, more than seven years into the U.S. intervention, the Obama administration must confront many of Jims 7 the same problems faced by all previous occupiers of this rugged land. How the United States manages its presence there over the next year will determine if it can break the pattern.‖ (Bearden) He also goes on to detail the amount of troops that might be necessary to accomplish the goals that we have set for ourselves, in context of the failed attempt by the Soviet Union in 1979. It is clear to see, even while Bearden relates this article to one previously written on the subject, that history can guide political scientists in a way that can save lives, money, and time in the future. But the future of potential careers most often does not begin with a B.A. in International Relations. Although it‘s a great step in the right direction, it‘s more likely that additional schooling or experience is required to get involved in a career that requires more specific knowledge of subjects. This is becoming more and more the case in most professions. It‘s my understanding, and quip, that undergraduate study is going the way of a high school diploma. What is exciting, however, are the increasing fields that are available at the graduate and doctorate levels. Programs at Villanova University include studies in the following areas: International Relations and Comparative Politics; American Government; and Political Philosophy and Methodology. (―Master‘s of Political Science Curriculum‖) Online courses taught at Norwich University (accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.), located in Northfield, Vermont, provide a top-of-the-line education. Although the courses are online, one would receive an ―official, traditional‖ diploma as though they physically attended the university, not one that says ―online‖ degree. (Norwich University Online Degree Programs) This Master‘s is aimed at diplomacy; the program is called ―Master of Arts in Diplomacy‖ (Online Political Science Degree). Also, most graduate schools require that Jims 8 a student complete the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations), which are similar to the SATs, and ―[measure] verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking and analytical writing skills.‖ (―GRE‖) Other than post-undergraduate studies, internships are vital in understanding the political process (as well as providing more contacts and acting as a resume-booster). I was fortunate enough to intern with a local politician-to-be named Tom Houghton. He is a very charismatic and fun-loving guy; this made it much easier to work for him. As I learned a lot about grassroots effects and voter turnout in local elections, I gained insight into how to win an election. I did, not surprisingly, prove to be quite crucial in his successes in becoming the first Democrat to be elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from his district. Votes for Tom increased by three and four percent in the areas where I campaigned for him. As the election was decided by such a slim margin (~1,000 votes), I felt a great sense of pride when he thanked me and shook my hand for all of my efforts. This wasn‘t only a confidence booster for me, but I knew that this experience would help me in whatever type of career I chose in the future. As a basis for the future to grow and develop in a productive way, political science, as a major, will also open many doors to my ever-expanding curiosity of the world. Career and post-graduation options are plentiful. As Dr. Loedel stated in an interview with in on February 13, 2009, many of the graduates of political science go into careers such as ―government, politics (campaigns and party politics), teaching, journalism, law, advocacy groups, and business/banking.‖ (Loedel) And, as the State Department continues to expand after the Bush administration was replaced by Obama‘s, more jobs related to international relations are likely to emerge. What was, and is, Jims 9 surprising to me, is the lack of political scientists as actual politicians. What‘s so remarkable about that is that they are the behind-the-scenes thinkers and arguers that effectively influence and react to political problems as they arise. So as the State Department of the United States grows exponentially, it will become a more major player in the world sphere. This part of the U.S. Government is vital in deciding courses of action in relations to other countries. As one of the largest employers of thinkers in the fields of political science, they are a great resource and potential stepping stone for students to future careers. One of their programs, which is very appealing to me at this time, is called the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). STEP allows students to study and work part-time for the State Department, while getting paid as an actual employee, and, while on vacation (summer, spring, and winter), work as full-time employees, gaining important knowledge and experience which would be crucial in increasing my visibility to other potential employers. As a stand-out intern, you are also guaranteed increased potential to becoming promoted in your field. (―U.S. Department of State Careers‖) The State Department also employs people for a litany of other jobs: foreign service officer; civil service officer; foreign service specialist; diplomatic security; and attorneys; as well as in other career opportunities that are made more accessible through the State Department: employment in U.S. Embassies and Consulates; jobs in Iraq; working for international organizations (such as the UN); volunteer work (such as the Peace Corps [which I will talk about more in-depth further in my paper]); working for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (which provides humanitarian aid and development projects that enrich developing countries and expand their abilities to Jims 10 prosper) (―USAID‖); and employment in the U.S. Intelligence Community (such as the FBI, CIA, and the National Security Agency [NSA]). (―United States Intelligence Community‖; ―U.S. Department of State Careers‖) Related to, but not necessarily within the State Department, is a career entitled ―Foreign Affairs Officer.‖ This job, which can be found in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Office of Multilateral Affairs, has duties in which ―[t]he officer will evaluate diplomatic statements made by representatives of governments and organizations; put together a portfolio of information on each subject; review statements and documents in regards to human rights and democracy issues; and serve as a delegate to multilateral human rights negotiations.‖ (―International Relations Jobs in the Federal Government‖) Salaries range from $77,000-$100,000 per year. This excites me, not only because of the potential salary, but the description of the work sounds stimulating and engaging. This job, and most other similar jobs can be found in the Northeast region of the United States. Because much of what the U.S. Government does is centered in Washington, D.C., I am located in the hub of politics in the United States. The following map shows this allocation of international relations positions throughout the United States: (Fig. 1) Jims 11 Another path that I explored after my graduation was work with the United States Peace Corps. It was founded by President John Kennedy in1961, and is one of the leading voices of U.S. sympathy around the globe. In an interview with a student at West Chester University, named Judith, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1990s, she stated that the Peace Corps was an amazing experience that will forever stay with her and has changed her for the better. She thought that, which was consistent amongst volunteers, despite age, race, or gender, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But, according to her: ―My typical work week consisted of only about 22-24 hours of assigned work,‖ which leaves a lot of free time. She continues by saying that ―it‘s vital to your success as a volunteer to create other activities within the community‖, which are important to remaining active and in good spirits. (Judith) The Peace Corps is an exciting area of study to international relations majors at West Chester University because of the many cultural experiences that can be gained from becoming a volunteer. It also allows the volunteer to become more involved in the language that they studied while in college (if a volunteer is chosen to work in the area they hope to work). Serving in the Peace Corps is largely unpaid, but volunteers are given a monthly stipend (of around $400 a month) in order to pay for necessities and other expenses, and a sum of around $6,000 is given to the volunteer upon completion (―Peace Corps Online‖). . The Peace Corps is a 27 month commitment (three months for training and 24 months for service) (Peace Corps), but provides vacation time in the form of ―two vacation days per month of service, a total of 48 days over two years.‖ (―Financial Benefits‖) Although this is not a large amount of time, it allows volunteers to potentially travel around the country (or surrounding countries). The reason vacation time is so short is due to the Peace Corps Jims 12 encouraging and promoting time spent by a volunteer in their assigned area. One of the reasons the Peace Corps is so popular among political science students is the opportunity to learn about areas which were studied in class, and gain a greater knowledge of an area of interest. Upon completing service in the Peace Corps, volunteers have an upper hand in competing for positions in the State Department, especially as diplomats or aides to the countries where they served. It‘s quite obvious why the State Department looks for Peace Corps graduates to undertake responsibilities in their areas of focus: with so many conflicts around the globe, understanding of specific problems in specific regions helps immensely in coming up with solutions that not only suit the needs of the United States, but the communities and people that live in those areas. This trend accompanies many in the field of political science. It‘s important to understand the trends that shape the way we, as political science undergraduates, learn about the world and political science in general. One of the biggest events in recent history, the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the proceeding war in Iraq, has become a huge topic of study. As I read through the pages of my textbooks (particularly the ones for my U.S. Foreign Policy class), I am bombarded by tirades of Bush‘s administration and their blunders. There can be two understandings as to why this is: (1) the Bush administration caused so many difficulties in today‘s political world that it renders it important to study; or (2) as all presidents leave office, they are the big topic of discussion amongst political scientists due to the fact that they are so fresh in the students‘ memories. Although I cannot attest to the latter scenario because I am relatively new to the political science field, I would imagine that it would be a little bit of both. But, as I read through the pages of critical commentary, I realize that to understand Jims 13 how politics works, we must understand the failures—highlighting points that stand out to prevent such failures from happening again. The importance of such research and data can‘t be underestimated. While learning and studying political science, we must be open to all types of ideas, and although our morals, values, and personal opinions can work their way into our analysis of policy, we must try our best to remain non-partisan and seek to find the most logical solution to a problem. Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States has worked tirelessly to come up with those solutions. It‘s been a difficult task due, in large part, because of the increases in globalization. As our economy continues to spiral downward and our actions overseas make headlines around the world in the flick of a switch, we have learned that we cannot control the world as we did after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union provided a ―balance,‖ in a sense, because by having two large powers in the world (also known as a bipolar balance of power), they (the United States and the Soviet Union) were able to maintain checks and balances (much as our system does internally) on each other. Yet when the Soviet Union fell, the United States found itself in a rather new territory: a unipolar world. But, as the global world turns into a small community, that unipolarity has decreased. In Richard N. Haass‘s article ―The Age of Nonpolarity: What Will Follow U.S. Dominance,‖ he argues that not only has the world become more multipolar (to reiterate: that a lot of countries have power), it has become nonpolar (no one country [or organization, institution, group, etc.] possesses all of the power). He argues that ―[t]he increasingly nonpolar world will have mostly negative consequences for the United States‖ (nonpolar article cited below) because it will increase the difficulty with which we are able to respond to crises. His reasoning is Jims 14 such: ―With so many more actors possessing meaningful power and trying to assert influence, it will be more difficult to build collective responses and make institutions work.‖ (Haass) This issue, being so visible right now due to our economic crises around the world, has created a new style of teaching. No longer do we live in the 1990s which were the U.S.‘s glory days, but we live in a very competitive and sometimes chaotic world. What makes this learning and teaching so different is that we must learn to understand the different types of diplomacy as well as understanding a great deal about other cultures. Cultural understanding is an integral part of becoming a political scientist. As an already touchy subject, politics, in my opinion, has become much more exciting in recent years, and makes me hunger to learn more. Although it would be improper to go into as much detail as I would like to in regards to current topics, trends, and potential solutions, I find myself thirsty for new information on a daily basis. Hopefully my paper has helped clarify a plethora of ideas directly related to a political science major. Here at West Chester University, we offer a varied course load, which I believe is one of our excellent resources. I now also understand the importance of graduate school and interning in a related field. What was shocking to me were the diversity of career opportunities available and the proximity of them. Along with this grand assortment of knowledge that I have gained, I can further understand the growing trends in political science that will continue to stimulate my mind in a largely positive way. Jims 15 Works Cited: Fig. 1 "Percentage International Relations Positions by Region." Map. International Relations Jobs in the Federal Government. 2008. Making the Difference. 10 Apr. 2009 <http://www.makingthedifference.org/federalcareers/internationalrelations.shtml> Bearden, Milton. "Obama's War: Redefining Victory in Afghanistan and Pakistan." Foreign Affairs (2009): 1. 9 Apr. 2009. Foreign Affairs. 11 Apr. 2009 <http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/64925/milton-bearden/obamas-war>. Bond, Jon R. "The Scientification of the Study of Politics: Some Observations on the Behavioral Evolution in Political Science." Journal of Politics 69.4 (Nov. 2007): 897-907. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. West Chest University Library, West Chester, PA. 14 Apr. 2009 <http://navigatorwcupa.passhe.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true& db=a9h&AN=27014149&site=ehost-live&scope=site>. "Department of Political Science." West Chester University of Pennsylvania. 11 Apr. 2009 <http://wcupa.edu/_ACADEMICS/sch_sba/u-ps-a-bps.html>. "Environment, Ethics & Public Policy (B.A.); Southern New Hampshire University." Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). 11 Apr. 2009 <http://www.snhu.edu/150.asp>. "Financial Benefits and Loan Deferment | What Are the Benefits? | About the |." Peace Corps. 10 Apr. 2009 <http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whyvol.finben>. "GRE: Graduate Record Examinations Information." ETS: Educational Testing Service – Home. 15 Apr. 2009 <http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/menuitem.fab2360b1645a1de9b3a0779f17515 09/?vgnextoid=b195e3b5f64f4010VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD>. Haass, Richard N. "The Age of Nonpolarity." Foreign Affairs (2008): 4. May & june 2008. Foreign Affairs. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/63397/richard-n-haass/the-age-ofnonpolarity?page=4>. "International Relations Jobs in the Federal Government." Making the Difference. 10 Apr. 2009 <http://www.makingthedifference.org/federalcareers/internationalrelations.shtml> Jims 16 Judith. "Peace Corps Interview." Personal interview. 25 Mar. 2009. Loedel, Peter. "Political Science Interview with Doctor Loedel." Personal interview. 13 Feb. 2009. "Master's of Political Science Curriculum." Villanova University. 15 Apr. 2009 <http://www.villanova.edu/artsci/psc/graduate/masters/curriculum.htm>. Norwich University Online Degree Programs. Brochure. Northfield, 2008. School of Graduate Studies. 24 Nov. 2008. Norwich University. 10 Apr. 2009 <http://graduate.norwich.edu/>. Online Political Science Degree. 13 Apr. 2009 <http://diplomacy.norwich.edu/>. "Peace Corps Online: April 18, 2003 - The Little Rock Free Press: Bob Kirby and his wife..." Peace Corps Online: The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Staff. 11 Apr. 2009 <http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/467/2013197.html>. Peace Corps. 10 Apr. 2009 <http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?>. "UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY - WHO WE ARE." 11 Apr. 2009 <http://www.intelligence.gov/1-members.shtml>. "U.S. Department of State Careers - Programs for Graduate and Post-Graduate Students." U.S. Department of State Careers - Home. 11 Apr. 2009 <http://careers.state.gov/students/gpg_students.html#SIS>. "USAID: Careers." U.S. Agency for International Development. 15 Apr. 2009 <http://www.usaid.gov/careers/>. Jims 17 Transcript of Interview with Judith: DAVID: Where did you volunteer as a Peace Corps volunteer? What work did you do? JUDITH: I volunteered in Ukraine and I worked in economic development. DAVID: What was the hardest part? Did you find it hard to finish your 24 months? JUDITH: I felt that the entire experience was rather disorienting in the beginning. I had to combat feelings of stupidity, frustration, and incompetence. In the first year of service (which is the hardest, and once you are done with the first year it‘s a breeze), I had to apply many coping skills to deal with the loneliness, communications barriers, and competency issues. After that first year, those went away as I made friends and it became easier to even buy fruit at the market (haggle prices, etc.). I would say the entire experience was a rollercoaster of both my physical and mental health. DAVID: What were some of the reasons you wanted to join the Peace Corps? JUDITH: I have a long, extensive background of travelling across the world. I‘ve hitchhiked across Africa during wars and I‘ve been to so many different countries. During the ‗60s, my sister was in the Peace Corps and she absolutely loved her experience. I wanted to join, but with a great career, I decided not to do it. At my husband‘s funeral, as I was trying to meet with loved ones and family members, someone came up to me and told me that it would be okay. They said to me that before my husband died, he told them that if there was one thing in his life that he was proud of, it was his son. It got me thinking…what in my life am I proud of besides my son? It was at that moment that I decided to join the Peace Corps. The next day I submitted my application. DAVID: What was your most memorable experience? JUDITH: The Peace Corps was an awesome experience that has changed me completely. No matter how old or young, what race you are, or your gender, every volunteer has had pretty much the same experience. One very memorable time was when I decided to start a group that went around and picked up trash (kind of like a highway cleanup activity). Not many people showed up. And when we were cleaning, people would laugh and make fun of us. It amazed me that no one understood the idea of doing something for free that would benefit the community; they didn‘t understand volunteering. But when we were done, and those that came with me looked at the huge pile of garbage bags, they felt so much better and important about what they did; they got a sense of accomplishment for doing something completely selfless. What was so weird, Jims 18 though, was that the trash bags were never picked up. The government never cared enough to haul the bags away. My typical work week consisted of only about 22-24 hours of assigned work, so it was absolutely necessary to come up with other jobs to do. It‘s vital to your success as a volunteer to create other activities within the community. Jims 19 Transcript of Interview with Dr. Loedel: DAVID: In all of your experience with political science, what has most surprised you? DR. LOEDEL: Seeing students graduate and going on to succeed in a career, going to grad school, or seeing students succeed professionally. It‘s surprising to feel that level of unanticipated satisfaction as a professor. DAVID: What are some types of jobs or paths that are chosen by political science graduates? international relations graduates? DR. LOEDEL: Students typically go into jobs or paths in government, politics (campaigns and party politics), teaching, journalism, law, advocacy groups, and business/banking. DAVID: What do you think is the most common misconception about political scientists? why? DR. LOEDEL: I think the most common ones people believe are that we‘re all political junkies, or that we talk politics all day, or that we all want to be lawyers. DAVID: If you had the chance to change something about how you approached political science, what would it be? DR. LOEDEL: If I could change anything, I would probably have focused more on a career in the federal government (a higher level position) in international affairs or international commerce. But I don‘t have any regrets. DAVID: Who or what has most influenced you? Who are your heroes? DR. LOEDEL: My dad. He‘s always been very supportive of me. But when I started as an undergrad in International Relations I had to convince him. When he saw that I was committed to it, he was 100% behind me. Also, one of my professors in graduate school has helped me immensely in my style and approach to political science.
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