Yale University Political Science Ph.D. program.
Yale University PhD Candidate (graduating this fall); currently Robert Bosch Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna; starting this fall I'll be a Junior Research Fellow at Clare College, University of Cambridge.
Some of the Rewards and Challenges of this Position:
Rewards and challenges are the same: it is the solitude of the research endeavor. There is nothing more thrilling or more scary than embarking on a long path of academic inquiry all by yourself. I've conducted my research throughout Europe and it has been a blessing to do that with the understanding of my advisors and a completely free hand. It has also been a very lonely process.
Your most Exciting or Worthwhile Experience in this Position:
Interviewing former policy makers whose decisions directly impacted my life. Not so much because I gained an insight into how they made their decisions or why, but rather because I learned how they have rationalized their decisions years later and how they've come to terms with the consequences. Some of them are still tormented by their past choices and replay them daily, and some have built walls in their heads and have actually constructed completely new realities - probably in order to deal with their own roles.
How did the education you received from Illinois Wesleyan's Political Science Department help prepare you for this position?
The independent research I had the opportunity to conduct with the guidance of Dr. Kathleen Montgomery during my senior year was probably the best preparation for what came afterwards. Her guidance was deeper and more helpful than any I received in graduate school and gave me the confidence to continue pursuing research when similar guidance was lacking.
Advice for Wesleyan's Current Political Science Majors:
Experience as much of the real political process as possible first hand. There is no substitute for it.