What I did with my Political Science Degree

A political science degree can afford students many wonderful opportunities. Some of our recent graduates want to explain some of these exciting possibilities and how they are making their mark on the world.

What I did with My Political Science Degree

 

Deputy Director for Administration for City of Columbus’ Department of Development

Rory McGuiness HeadshotIn June 2016, the City of Columbus was honored by the U.S. Department of Transportation as the Winner of the Unprecendented $40 Million Smart City Grant Challenge. Political Science Alumni, Rory McGuiness, (B.A., 1999) is the Deputy Director for Administration for City of Columbus’ Department of Development and was closely involved with the process that brought this recognition to the city.

"Columbus was chosen, in addition to Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Austin, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh,  as one of the 7 Finalists out of the 78 total cities that applied for the grant.  The City of Columbus worked with our community's top public, private, and non-profit leaders, including The Ohio State University, to put together an outstanding application and raise an additional $90 million in funds.  On June 23, USDOT announced that Columbus was the winner of the Smart City Challenge and the Vulcan grant.  Columbus is now poised to lead the transportation technology revolution for years to come. I assisted our amazing Smart Columbus team in developing our vision and goals, writing and editing our applications, managing our strategic partnerships, media relations, government affairs, and acquiring letters of support. My degree provided me an excellent foundational knowledge base for a career in public service.  It also provided me valuable insight into how the interaction of governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations shape how our world works.   A degree in arts & sciences provides you a more comprehensive education than any other major."

 

Fulbright English Teaching Assistant

TJ BeaversAs I am writing this post, I am a little more than a month out from moving to Warsaw, Poland, to begin my Fulbright grant as a teaching assistant in the Department of Political Science and Journalism for the University of Warsaw. In addition to teaching Polish students about aspects of American government and society, I will also be conducting a project for the grant analyzing Polish perspectives on American political issues. Upon returning, my plan is to attend law school with the intention of becoming a public health lawyer. 
 
If it were not for the Ohio State University, and in particular, the Department of Political Science, I imagine that the opportunities currently afforded to me would not be available. It was through the department that I was able to enjoy unique experiences such as interning at the Parliament of Canada, helping to directly impact the experiences of other undergraduate political science majors by serving on the department’s Undergraduate Studies Committee, and having access to some of the most accomplished and student-oriented faculty in the country. Throughout my time at Ohio State, the rigor of the classes and the high expectations of the faculty helped shape me into a better analyst, a better writer, a better problem-solver, and into a better citizen. 
 
Looking back on my undergraduate experiences and ahead to my future, I have only one piece of advice to offer both prospective and current undergraduate majors. A degree in political science is not rigid insofar as it leaves you with a binary choice of law or academia. It is a program that challenges your abilities and helps to develop the skills necessary to achieve any career goal or dream. You should decide upon the degree based on your interests and not disproportionately on the thought of what comes next. Rather, let your academic interests and passions guide you. Whether you believe it or not, by doing just that, you will be more than prepared for the opportunities you face after graduation. 
 

 

Staff Assistant to Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi

Matthew Kaido and Congressman TiberiIn June I began working as a Staff Assistant to Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi (OH-12) in his Washington, D.C. office. Congressman Tiberi, an OSU Alumnus, sits on the House Ways & Means Committee, which is central to all federal revenue measures, national social security programs, and trade agreements. Congressman Tiberi also chairs the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. 

Through the Political Science Department and Ohio State's location in Columbus, I was able to gain valuable experiences through four internships. An Ohio gubernatorial campaign, a Page position in the Ohio House of Representatives, a U.S. Senate campaign, and an Economic Development and Legal internship at the Ohio Treasurer's Office. I served as Conference Director and Outreach Chair for the Collegiate Council on World Affairs and competed for Ohio State on the Collegiate Model UN circuit.

The range of expertise in the Political Science department has allowed me to analyze political institutions and policy at every level. Professor Herb Asher's Ohio Politics class allowed me to study structural reforms in county, city, and state government and political decision making in Ohio in relation to regional politics and the history of Ohio's economic resources. Professor Randall Ripley's U.S. Congress class offered a unique insight to the history of Congressional politics, committee power, and Congress' complex relationship with the President. Professor Richard Herrmann's Strategies for War and Peace class simulated foreign policy decision making and thoroughly guided me through every possible stage of the craft of foreign affairs. In Professor Alexander Thompson's United Nations Systems, I was able to better understand the institutional structure of the United Nations and the effectiveness of its specialized agencies and related organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization. Finally, in Professor Randall Schweller's Theories of International Relations I was able to develop a conceptual framework in which I could analyze past, present, and future conflicts of great power politics." -- Matthew Kaido

 

Graduate Student at Princeton University

Alexandra Mayorga in Denmark

“My hopes are to further unravel the extent to which policy attitudes and racial biases are intertwined. I am interested in understanding linkages between welfare retrenchment and ethnic diversity and specifically apply them to Northern Europe.

The relationships I created with my professors were the most critical in preparing me for my future at Princeton. The professors helped and encouraged my interests, which ultimately led me to ask deeper questions and search for answers via extensive research. Their influence helped me find my own path and understand what it means to make valuable contributions to the field of Political science.

I am most excited to be surrounded by people interested in the same topics and problems as myself. While I know that the demands made upon me will only be intensified, my excitement outweighs my anxiety.” -- Alexandra Mayorga

 

Gregory Schultz PortraitWhite House Official

"Gregory Schultz currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Vice President and Special Assistant to the President of the United States.  Greg came to the Obama Administration from Business Forward, where he served as its Executive Director working to facilitate opportunities for American business leaders to discuss job creation and the country’s economic recovery with the administration. Before that, Greg served as the State Director of Ohio for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.  He also served as the Ohio Deputy Political Director for the Obama campaign in 2008 and the Political Director for Hillary Clinton's Primary campaign in Ohio. Prior to joining the Obama campaign, he was the legislative liaison in the Department of Administrative Services for Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.  Additionally he served as Executive Assistant to the Governor, responsible for the Bureau of Workers Compensation, Rehabilitation and Corrections, Youth Services, and Veterans Affairs.  He has held various campaign management positions in local and statewide campaigns across Ohio.

Originally from North Royalton, Ohio, Greg is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he received a Bachelor’s in History and Political Science (2003) and a Masters in Education (2004).  He resides in Washington, D.C." -- Gregory Schultz

 

Pranav Reddy image - AIF Clinton Fellow; Photo Courtsey of Brett Cole Photography

AIF Clinton Fellow

"After graduating, I worked in India as an AIF ClintonFellow for Calcutta Kids, a maternal and child health nonprofit organization that works with a migrant population living in slums near Calcutta, West Bengal. I had a few different projects there, including assisting in health management of the primary health clinic by creating and implementing standard operating protocols, working with data to monitor and evaluate Calcutta Kids' many programs impact, and starting a diarrhea treatment center.
 
My time studying political science at OSU not only led me to Calcutta, but also informed my work there. Writing a thesis on the politics behind health reform in India under Professor Irfan Nooruddin and taking classes on topics as diverse as party politics (Professor Beck) or modern political theory (Professor MacGilvray) helped me understand how so many different political forces, actors, and ideologies had impacted the very real health status of mothers and children. 
 
I am currently attending Alpert Medical School at Brown University. My experience studying political science and then working in Calcutta has given me the understanding to be a physician that not only seeks to alleviate the individual, biomedical problems that a patient brings, but also the deeper societal and systemic causes." -- Pranav Reddy
 
 

Susan ManchesterSenior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Raul Labrador (ID-1)

"After graduating from Ohio State in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology and Political Science, I spent a year in Valencia, Venezuela, leading a team of peers in engaging Venezuelan university students on matters of culture and religion. Immediately upon my return to the United States, I moved to Washington, D.C. to come on staff for Congressman Jim Jordan (OH-04).  

I first developed an interest in working for Congress when I interned in DC through OSU’s Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP).  My experience on Capitol Hill showed me what careers are possible with a political science degree, and how my interests and skills could be used.  Ohio State offers a wealth of opportunities for political science students seeking hands-on political experience in both DC and Columbus, and I encourage every student to take advantage of what is offered.  Additionally, my classes in the political science department exposed me to a wide variety of political subjects, and provided me with a solid foundation for my career in applied politics.

My current position is Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Raul Labrador (ID-1).  I oversee Congressman Labrador’s work on the House Judiciary Committee, with a focus on Criminal Justice issues.  I have loved my time in DC and I am always thrilled whenever I meet a fellow Buckeye." -- Susan Manchester

 

Fellow for Teach for China

Andrea Blinkhorn in China

"My name is Andrea Blinkhorn and I am currently a 2012-2014 Fellow for Teach for China (TFC). TFC is a non-profit that is dedicated to alleviating educational inequality in China. In China, over 70% of kids growing up in urban areas will go to college but only 1.7% of kids who grow up in rural areas will have the chance to go to college. It is this gap that TFC aims to change. The organization was started in 2009 and has taken off ever since! As a member of the 4th-ever class of Fellows I have a unique opportunity to not only make an impact on students lives in rural China, but also to help the organization grow and improve.

My advice to students is to take risks! Don't be afraid to try new things and push your boundaries. At Ohio State I learned to challenge myself, not only in the classroom but outside as well. Study abroad, do research, join student organizations - your educational experience at Ohio State is what you make of it!

My other piece of advice would be to get to know Professors! The Political Science department at Ohio State was one of the main reasons I ultimately decided to attend the school. The faculty are well known for their work in many fields, but they are also very accessible. Getting involved in research is such a great way to add to your experience and get a chance to explore possible career opportunities. I am in China because I learned to not be afraid of  trying new things and step outside of my comfort zone through my classes and my involvement on campus. My classes in Poli Sci taught me to think as a global citizen and now I'm living abroad experiencing the world in a whole new way." -- Andrea Blinkhorn

 

2012 Pickering Fellow

Stephanie Sobek and President Gee.

"While in undergrad at Ohio State, I was a double major in Political Science and International Studies with a minor in Arabic.  Next year I will be attending Harvard University to pursue a Master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies. My political science background at Ohio State has inspired me to focus my studies on the democratic process in the Middle East and how the concept of democracy differs between the Middle East and the West.  I also want to analyze how democracy will be influenced by the new role of political Islam in the region.  I have been very fortunate to receive the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship, which will help prepare me for a future career with the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer.  Next summer I will a have a domestic internship with the State Department, hopefully working for the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau.  The following summer I will have an internship at a U.S. embassy abroad, most likely in the Middle East.  As a Foreign Service Officer I hope to work with public diplomacy initiatives to help create greater understanding and mutual respect between the United States and the Middle East and to encourage the development of democracy in the region.

I have three points of advice to prospective and current students in the political science department at Ohio State. First, take the time to form real and lasting relationships with your professors; they are amazing resources and will help make your time at OSU even more memorable. Second, take every opportunity to study abroad or intern. Its incredible how much your academic studies will be supplemented by real life experience. And lastly, apply to every scholarship, internship, fellowship that you can find, even if you don't think you're qualified. Don't be discouraged if you don't get everything you apply for.  Just remember that everyone that you do get will open up so many more opportunities." -- Stephanie Sobek

 

The PhD Route

Chris Skovron"I'm a first year student in the political science Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. I study American politics with a focus on political behavior. Right now, my research projects focus on participation, the effects of campaign communications, public opinion at the state and local level, and survey methodology.

The best advice that I got as an undergrad, and the best thing that I did, was to develop relationships with faculty. Some of those relationship started through classes, but in others I made a point to talk to faculty about my interests. Larry Baum, Herb Asher, Paul Beck and other faculty were extremely generous with time and advice, and having those relationships made me a much better scholar and a better person.

For anyone interested in a career in academia or just one that uses political science research, I really encourage getting involved in research. Taking on a thesis project and presenting multiple times at the Denman were great ways to learn research methods and get acquainted with the process I use now. I also learned a lot from my job as a research assistant with Craig Volden, who just left the OSU faculty.

I also think that polisci majors will benefit a lot from getting involved in the community. There are a lot of great opportunities in Columbus. I got involved with campaigns in my freshman year, and I worked all through undergrad in a variety of campaign jobs. By the end of it I was a professional campaign consultant. I could have kept up in that line of work, but the long-term benefit is that it gave me a lot of research ideas. Having a line of work in politics or government outside of school can really pay off in a number of ways." -- Chris Skovron

 

Law School

Rajiv Mohan

"I'm currently in my third year at Harvard Law School. With any luck I'll be graduating in May, after which I'll be joining the Washington D.C. office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. 

My advice to current or future students: I'm not sure I have anything too insightful. At a school like Ohio State there are tremendous opportunities, if you're willing to take some initiative. I think it's important to actively seek out what really interests you, and find faculty members who are willing to nurture and develop that interest into something productive and worthwhile. For me, that faculty member was Professor Baum, to whom I owe an immense amount of gratitude." -- Rajiv Mohan

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