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Political science majors learned how dynamic careers in the public sector can be at the November 3rd Career Café Public Sector luncheon. Alumni panelists included Kevin Limehouse (’05), Project Officer at Charleston County Government; Leah Schonfeld (C’04), Director of Human Resources at The Citadel; and Peter Wiggins (C’12), Revenue Collections Manager at Charleston County Government. Dr. Phil Jos, Professor of Political Science, also spoke about public administration graduate programs and provided information about the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program at College of Charleston.

Panelists discussed how they navigated their careers after graduating from the College and how their political science degrees helped prepare them for the working world. Limehouse emphasized helping people through local government efforts and described the work he has done with organizations like Boeing, NASA Space Launch System, the Army Corps of Engineers, and currently the 2021 PGA Tournament scheduled to take place at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. Schonfeld credited her critical thinking skills and ability to work with people as a human resources administrator to her political science degree. She also encouraged students to study abroad and intern on Capitol Hill. Wiggins explained how political science helped him understand how South Carolina government operates and has helped when working with departments such as the Department of Natural Resources and the State Legislature. He added that his degree was especially beneficial in navigating the “other duties as assigned” in his own job description.

In response to student questions, the panelists noted that those interested in the public sector should be passionate, willing to learn, and a good cultural fit for the organization. When asked what the panelists would have done differently in their college careers, they recommended taking advantage of the resources on campus like the Career Center, gaining experience through internships, working to build relationships, taking part in extracurricular activities like Model United Nations, and studying abroad.

under: Alumni, Events, Faculty, Student

Faculty Spotlight with Dr. Phil Jos

Posted by: wichmannkm | October 30, 2017 | No Comment |

In May 2018, Dr. Phil Jos will retire from his highly impactful career at College of Charleston. Professor Jos joined the Department of Political Science in 1986 and served as the Director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program on three separate occasions: 1999-2002, 2007-2008, and 2016-2018. He helped grow graduate program enrollments and has overseen the program’s successful Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) accreditation efforts.  He also served as the Department Chair from 2008-2012 where he oversaw several key faculty hires, helped the department establish tenure and promotion criteria, and created the William V. Moore Student Research Conference. He has taught undergraduate courses on public policy, ethics and politics and political philosophy as well as graduate courses in public administration. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from University of South Carolina and his M.A. and B.A. in Government from Western Kentucky. Dr. Jos’ research has focused on whistleblowing, professional ethics, administrative responsibility and public administration theory. We were fortunate to talk with Dr. Jos about his time at College of Charleston.

How did you decide to pursue a doctorate in political science?

I would say very serendipitously. I would like to say that it was planned but it wasn’t. I was not a good student in high school. I was not a good student at the outset of my college career. But, by the end of my sophomore year, I took a political philosophy class with Dr. George Seitz at Western Kentucky and for the first time in a long time, I was excited about learning. I enjoyed the class, found that I was pretty good at it, and had matured a little by that point so I took some more political science classes. After graduation I was still unsure of what I wanted to do.  I started working construction, mostly basic laboring, framing, pouring concrete but after a 4 month stint putting up attic insulation I jumped at the chance to get a graduate assistantship at Western Kentucky and pursue a master’s degree in public administration. Several faculty encouraged me to think about the Ph.D., including Dr. Fred Carter who would later become chair of the political science department at the College. While at a conference, I met Dr. Mark Tompkins from the University of South Carolina and he, along with Dr. Dan Sabia, became my mentors at USC.

What made you decide to pursue a job at a teaching oriented school? At that point in my life, there wasn’t a whole lot of planning involved. I taught a lot in my master’s program and Ph.D. program and really came to like it. After earning my Ph.D., I was really open to anything. The economy wasn’t good in 1986, but I was fortunate to come to the College. At that time, there were 4,500 students and less of an emphasis on research than there is now. My career at the College turned out to be a nice mix of teaching and research. I was able to publish regularly, and I was profoundly influenced by the teachers who were here and the teachers we hired after I arrived. They were just really good and incredibly dedicated. I feel lucky to have been in a department where I have learned as much as I have about teaching and advising students.

Can you talk about your roles as the MPA Director and Chair of the Political Science Department?

My first term as MPA Director was a logical progression. The number of faculty within the MPA department is small and it’s important for everyone to take a turn as Director. I had always thought I would do this, although I didn’t anticipate directing the program on two subsequent occasions. I care a lot about the program and feel good about stepping in to provide leadership at various times.

I did not anticipate serving as Chair and following Lynne Ford was a bit intimidating, but I appreciated the Department’s confidence in me. It was a challenging but good four years. I learned a lot from it.

What classes have you taught at the college?

I started out teaching American government and methods classes. I have also taught political inquiry, public policy, public administration at the undergraduate level and graduate courses in public policy and administration. Over time I developed a political theory and ethics course and taught the introductory political thought class. I also developed accountability in ethics classes at the graduate level.

What has your research focused on?

My research focus for most of my career has been on administrative accountability and professional ethics. I started this research early on in my dissertation and focused on the idea of moral autonomy, or the retaining of one’s capacity for thinking critically about ethical issues under organizational pressures. I did some early research on whistleblowing. I worked with colleagues on ethical controversies in medical ethics such as the treatment of pregnant women addicted to cocaine. I also did a fair amount of work on ethics codes and what they can and cannot accomplish, questions about moral judgment in a variety of organizational contexts. I worked with several collaborators on publications. Most of my research has been occupying that space between political theory, ethics, and public administration and policy.

What drew you to focus your research on ethics?

Probably the same thing that drew me to graduate work. Political philosophy connected with me, particularly those political philosophers who developed strong critiques of existing society and offered  somewhat utopian but powerful visions of how it could be better.  The idea of challenging injustice struck me pretty powerfully. Part of that was becoming politically aware in the late 1960’s, part of it was teenage rebellion against authority and an exaggerated feeling of being misunderstood and not taken seriously, part of it was working in a variety of manual labor jobs where my co-workers and I were treated badly.   I was drawn to political philosophers, writers and activists who were willing to stand up for their beliefs and challenge authority, probably because I personally was often lacking in that kind of courage and usually avoided conflict.  That no doubt explains why my own research has focused on ways to act boldly and with integrity in difficult circumstances.  I guess I was working on myself while I was working on my career.

What are your favorite College of Charleston memories?

There are a lot of them. So many things come to mind. I’ve always enjoyed graduation. Many of my most positive memories are from graduation – the opportunity to meet parents and the opportunity to see young adults of various talents and capabilities make it across the line. You get the feeling of having made a difference and I think it’s easy to lose track of that.

I also enjoy working with students on individual projects like independent studies and bachelors essays or graduate research.  As a research mentor, you get to see a progression of students’ ideas and I like helping solve research and writing puzzles.  I take a lot of pleasure in the William V. Moore Student Research Conference for some of the same reasons.

I have also always enjoyed my colleagues exchanging ideas about teaching, supporting one another, and trying to understand more about how students learn.

What advice do you have for our students?

For most of my career, I have most often told students to “follow your passion.” I do think students from an early age hear many expectations from parents and popular culture about what their options are as liberal arts majors. They are inundated with information about what options are attractive because they pay well.  In our society, many of the jobs that are important and rewarding, and allow you to work with like-minded people, do not pay as well.  There are a wide variety of trades, work in human service organizations, nonprofit organizations, and teaching of various kinds that are too often invisible to students because they only hear about private sector work.  Starting with your passion doesn’t mean you have to figure out the one thing you are passionate about. Instead, students should focus on a few basic question. What type of work makes me feel good? Do I like challenges? Do I like to work part of a team or by myself? What is going to meaningful and help me grow as a person?  The advantage of political science is that it really prepares you for writing, speaking, and thinking well and thinking clearly so there are many options out there.

The second bit of advice I find myself giving more often lately is about patience. Students often want a wonderfully financially rewarding and challenging job right away. When they have a less exciting challenge and tasks before them, they mentally bail out of that position before they learn enough about that job. A lot of things take patiently working over a long period of time to reap the full benefits. When students hop from job to job I worry that they don’t learn enough about themselves before moving on. Some positions are impossible but I think a little more patience and working with what they have for a little longer can be good. Of course I have had the same job for 32 years so I suppose I would be the one needing to sing the praises of patience so students should probably take that advice with a grain of salt.

What are you retirement plans?

Maybe I’m graduating like our students do. I always hear from students that once they have graduated they are going to take a year off and decide what they want to do. I’m going to retire and take a year off and decide what I want to do. I’m a fairly active person and will be embracing more music playing, kayaking, and yard work. I hope to be more politically active on issues I care about and to help out more in church than I have done before. I want to keep in better touch with friends who live at a distance. I’d like to travel in and outside of the US. That may be enough. I’ve also got some other ideas. I suspect I will take advantage of my retiree status to audit some courses taught by my former colleagues at the College of Charleston.

under: Faculty

Student Spotlight with Alexandra Helfgott

Posted by: wichmannkm | October 24, 2017 | No Comment |

Junior political science and Spanish double major Alexandra Helfgott is a member of the Honors College and was recently elected President of the Student Government Association (SGA). Our department had the fortunate opportunity to interview Alexandra about her college experiences.

What has your Involvement in student government been like?

I started in student government when I was a freshman. I served as Freshman Senator and then I had the privilege of serving as the Chief of Staff for President Michael Faikes last year. It was a formative experience being able to see behind the scenes of the SGA and to learn more about the executive branch. I had the opportunity to run for President this year, and I’m very appreciative and grateful to have won. To be able to empower and encourage other members of SGA to succeed and complete initiatives they are working on is probably the most meaningful aspect of the role. It has been such a gratifying experience and I’m so appreciative to give back to the College because I have gotten so much from this school. To be able to give back like others have done for me has been the most meaningful part of it.

What types of initiatives is SGA currently working on?

I’ve focused on a few key initiatives.  When I was a freshman, SGA President Zach Sturman started a policy having to do with grade redemption. The proposal was to allow students the option of redeeming a class if they earned a C- or below. Faikes worked on the issue during his term as President, and he passed the baton to me this year. We are thrilled that it just passed through the Faculty Senate and it is scheduled to be implemented in 2019, but this is contingent upon the Registrar’s Office and Information Technology designing the business process to implement the new policy. Second, the College’s Physical Plant just approved our pilot project to provide dispensers for free feminine hygiene products on campus. We are hoping to demonstrate that there is a demand for these products. Third, one of our directors is working on an initiative called “Ban the Bottle” which would ban the sale of single use plastic water bottles on campus. We are still researching this project and trying to gauge student support. Schools that have implemented this policy have received positive national recognition and if it is implemented at the College, we would be the first school in South Carolina to do so. This initiative goes nicely with the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for sustainability literacy and it’s something that is gaining a lot of traction.

How did you decide to major in political science?

I came in completely undecided and not knowing what I wanted to do. I went to the Majors Fair my freshman year and I met Dr. Knotts. It was that moment that I said I should probably consider political science which I had never imagined picking when I was in high school. The experiences that I have had in the Political Science and Spanish Departments, and the Honors College have been formative. It’s been a great opportunity to learn and grow. It’s okay to make mistakes because it is a learning environment. The support and mentorship I receive has been absolutely incredible. It’s been exciting to watch myself discover where my passions are within political science because I had no idea that this was something I was interested in until I came to college.

Every professor that I have had in the Political Science Department truly has been stellar. Everyone is willing to help and so passionate – Dr. Knotts, Dr. Creed, Dr. Wofford. I cannot say enough about this department.

Can you tell us more about your interest in becoming a lawyer?

This past March I went to a conference at Harvard University on public policy and leadership that really opened my eyes.   I am thinking about pursuing a joint master’s degree in public policy and juris doctorate with a focus on employee and labor rights. I am interested in helping undocumented immigrants who face discrimination and abuse by their employers as a result of their undocumented status. My interest in this actually goes back to Dr. Creed’s honors world politics class I took as a freshman. We read a book called The Devil’s Highway which was about Mexican immigrants crossing the border illegally and that really sparked my thinking about it. Everything that we learn in the classroom comes full circle.

What is your involvement in the Honors College?

I was a member of the inaugural Honors College Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community which was a really great experience. Though I’m not pursuing the field of entrepreneurship, I learned some great tactics like networking, being able to make an elevator pitch, and becoming a more well-rounded individual. I am a Swanson Scholar and William Aiken Fellow so I received additional mentoring and guidance through that program. I serve as an Honors Engaged Liaison for Trident Literacy Association and St. Matthews English as a Second Language which pairs CofC students in the Honors College with these organizations and they go and volunteer weekly. I currently serve as a Student Representative on the Honors Advisory Board.

What inspires you to be so active and engaged on campus?

I was involved in high school and I think it just trickled over to college.  I am so appreciative of everything that I have received from my professors at the College – all the guidance and wisdom, so if I can give back in any way that’s what drives me. There are opportunities to make tangible impacts. There are resources and networks available to college students and I think that’s so powerful and it drives me to make the student experience better. I want students to feel how I do about the College. I absolutely love it.

What advice do you have for current students?

I would say if an opportunity presents itself, take advantage of it. If you feel that you’re not qualified or maybe need more experience, just go ahead and apply. If you see someone and think “I should go introduce myself to them,” you should just go ahead and do it. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s not going to be comfortable but at the end of the day you will be glad you did it. I don’t think anyone wants to have regrets about what could have been. Go see your professors, take that class that you are scared about because it’s only a couple of years. Before you know it, we will be out of here.

under: Faculty, Scholarships and Awards, Student

Alumni Spotlight with Second Lieutenant Logan Fitchett

Posted by: wichmannkm | October 19, 2017 | No Comment |

Second Lieutenant Logan Fitchett graduated from the College of Charleston as a political science major in 2015. Originally from Newport News, Virginia, Fitchett just completed her first year of service with the United States Marine Corps. The Political Science Department had the fortunate opportunity to learn more about her career.

Can you talk about your decision to join the Marine Corps?

After I graduated from College of Charleston in 2015, I moved back home and was applying to jobs. My mom suggested I look into the military which was not anything I had really considered. However, when I met with the Marine recruiter and started the application process, I could not believe I had not thought of this option sooner. As I became more exposed to what Marines do, I learned that the lifestyle really worked for me. The challenge and physical demands of the Corps, along with the great individuals that join, made me realize I really wanted to be a part of it.

What training have you received in the Marine Corps?

Officer Candidate School (OCS) is a ten week boot camp for officers which consists of physical and mental screenings. After finishing as a Second Lieutenant at OCS, I spent six months in Quantico at The Basic School to learn how to become a basic rifle platoon commander. In the Marine Corps, you acquire a military occupational specialty but you also need to be able to pick up a rifle in combat. At The Basic School, I received training in the use of weapons, tactics, and leadership. At the end of this training, I compiled a list of my preferred military occupational specialties. I was assigned as a combat engineer, and I am currently at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for this training. I am learning about wood framing construction, urban breaching, constructing obstacles and survivability positions. After this training, I will be stationed at Camp Pendleton in California.

What has been most challenging and rewarding about joining the Marine Corps?

The most challenging aspect of being a Marine is that it continuously forces me to be out of my comfort zone. You have to do things you are not comfortable with but then you start to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. For instance, during OCS, you may get up early to go for a hike but then be thrown into an activity where you are leading your peers through the woods on a mission.  It’s made me a stronger person and I am grateful for that. During my time in the Marine Corps, I have enhanced my leadership and problem solving skills along with my ability to adapt and make decisions under pressure. The most rewarding part of this experience so far has been the Marines I have had the opportunity to work with. I am surrounded by great people including my peers and higher-ranking Marines who inspire me to give 100 percent each day.

How has your college education prepared you for your career as a Marine?

Traditionally the College of Charleston does not seem like a school where graduates would go on to the military, but it was a great stepping stone to get here. It’s such a special place with so many opportunities for unique experiences. I especially benefited when my professors incorporated the City of Charleston into learning. I brought a well-rounded perspective to my career. My liberal arts courses have given me a lot of information on different topics. For example, my knowledge of sociology was helpful because as a Marine you work with people all the time. Most people who study political science have an interest in what is going on around the world and current events. Having a global understanding is also critical in the military.

 

under: Alumni

Political science is a versatile degree and it is important for majors to be open to the many and various career opportunities available. This theme emerged during the Political Science Department’s Career Café Series Kickoff Luncheon on September 15, 2017.  Once again, departmental alumni spoke with currents students, sharing how they navigated their careers after graduating with a political science major from the College of Charleston.

Alumni panelists for the September Career Café were Emily Gooding (’13), Product Coordinator at BiblioLabs, LLC; Dustin Haynes (’12), Employer and Public Relations Office at Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union; and Sam Spence (’08), Web Editor at Charleston City Paper. In addition, College of Charleston Career Counselor, Emma Waugh, shared the myriad of services offered by the Career Center (for more information on these services, please visit careercenter.cofc.edu).

Panelists also talked about how they were drawn to their current positions because of their ability to stay involved in the community. They also emphasized the importance of networking and lifelong learning. Students also had an opportunity to ask questions.

Gibbs Knotts, Political Science Department Chair, stressed the department’s commitment to helping students prepare for life after College.  According to Knotts, “The political science department has been producing high quality graduates since the 1970s and it makes perfect sense to connect our currents students with our distinguished alumni.”

The focus for the next Career Café Series Luncheon in November will be on job opportunities in the public sector.  Political science alumni will discuss why they decided to pursue careers in the public sector and how the political science major has prepared them for their positions. Additional luncheons will take place in Spring 2018.

under: Alumni, Events, Faculty, Student

As Texas recovers from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, Dr. Matthew Nowlin, assistant professor of political science, is working with colleagues to bring together members of the public, natural resource managers, and other decision makers to discuss issues important to South Carolina’s coastal community. Our Coastal Future Forum will focus on environmental health pollution and contaminants of water ways, offshore energy production, coastal biodiversity, climate change and rising sea levels. According to Dr. Nowlin, “The purpose of the forum is to gain insight into how people on the coast think about these issues, how to better communicate about these problems, and how we can move forward in making decisions about these complex issues.”

Our Coastal Future Forum is possible because of a two-year grant that Dr. Nowlin, Dr. Susan Lovelace from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and University of Oklahoma Assistant Professor Dr. Justin Reedy received from the National Academies of Sciences Gulf Research Program.  “The overarching question of the project is to determine if a deliberative forum is an effective way of decision making,” noted Nowlin. “For instance, how do we engage all stakeholders to address complex problems like climate change which is greatly politicized and how do we break through the political gridlock that exists?”

Collaboration has been key to success in the project thus far. Dr. Nowlin credits the diverse array of environmental experts that Dr. Lovelace has assembled. Dr. Kendra Stewart and Dr. Bob Kahle at the Joseph P. Riley Center for Livable Communities have also assisted in surveying South Carolina’s eight coastal counties to help recruit for the event. They have also fielded a statewide survey and are currently preparing a national survey addressing coastal issues. One of the main challenges Dr. Nowlin’s team faces is recruiting a significant number of public participants willing to spend a day and a half to participate in the forum but it is a challenge that they are embracing.

Dr. Nowlin joined the Department of Political Science in August of 2013. He currently teaches an undergraduate environmental policy course, a graduate level public policy course, and a sustainable resource management course for the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan. He has also taught courses in research methods, American government, the political science capstone, and first year experience.

Dr. Nowlin earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma in May 2013. He also holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. His research is focused on the policymaking process and linkages between public policy and public opinion. In addition, his research addresses substantive questions in climate change and used nuclear fuel politics and policy. His work has appeared in Policy Studies Journal, Risk Analysis, Social Science Quarterly, and Weather, Climate, and Society. He is currently writing a book that focuses on ways in which the United States can address climate change given how environmental policies and politics have evolved.

under: Events, Faculty, Scholarships and Awards

First Jordan Rively Scholarship Awarded

Posted by: wichmannkm | August 31, 2017 | No Comment |

Junior political science major Gabrielle Williams is the first recipient of the Jordan Rively Scholarship. The scholarship was recently created by political science alum, Joseph Rively ’89.  He established the scholarship in memory of his grandparents, who funded his College of Charleston education. Mr. Rively is the Director of International Development at University of Pennsylvania and resides in Philadelphia.

Williams expressed considerable appreciation after being notified of the award. “Getting this scholarship allows me to focus on my schoolwork and extracurricular activities instead of having to focus on affording my tuition,” noted the aspiring criminal law attorney. “It will help me relax and spend time enjoying this whole experience,” Williams added.

The annual scholarship is intended for students pursuing their B.A. at the College of Charleston in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and provides $2,500 support. Preference is given to Political Science majors.

under: Alumni, Scholarships and Awards, Student

Sapa, Vietnam stands at an elevation of 4,921 feet, and has been fondly coined by visitors as “the city in the clouds.” With just one week left of our summer study abroad experience, we sat on the side of a mountain, overlooking the lush green rice paddies that dress the Valley and snacking on some $0.75 pho ga. It was the perfect moment for us to reflect on the six cities that we had already traveled to, and all of the growth that our time in Cambodia and Vietnam had already afforded us.

The CofC Summer Program in Cambodia and Vietnam, co-run by Dr. Jen Wright and Dr. Christopher Day, offers six credits in psychology, political science, or environmental studies. The program utilizes an interdisciplinary academic approach, combining class discussions that cover post-conflict governments, international intervention, and humanitarian aid, with an individual research project that is entirely of the student’s own creation. Cambodia is a country with a corrupt government recovering from a genocide in the 1980s.  Conversely, Vietnam is a rising regional power experiencing rapid economic growth, offer excellent opportunities for personal and academic growth.

As the trip comes to a close, we thought we’d reflect upon our experiences so that we could share them with you:

What was your favorite part of the trip?

Patrick: During our stay in Cambodia we had a free weekend, so Eric and I went to Koh Rong, an island in the Southwest.  While we were in Koh Rong, we rented kayaks and went to a small island where we found an abandoned Buddhist temple.  Exploring the ruins of the temple was surreal and incredible– definitely a highlight for me!

Eric: Like Patrick, Koh Rong was the highlight of my trip. We were grabbing dinner around dusk at a beachfront restaurant, and our waitress told us to wade out about a meter deep into the ocean once it was completely dark, then swish our arms around the water. We waded out, and as we churned our arms through the crystal clear Pacific, we realized that we were surrounded by tens of thousands of electric blue, bioluminescent plankton. It was unreal.

What was the most valuable lesson we learned on the trip so far?

Patrick: I learned to be more mindful of my environmental impact.  I saw so much litter in all of the cities, so much deforestation, and so much smog. It’s heartbreaking and disgusting to watch people destroy the environment like this, and it made me pay more attention to how my privileged position as an American gives me the ability to make choices to preserve the environment.  I also learned that I pay too much for coffee in America.  Vietnamese coffee is ten times better (and cheaper) than Starbucks!

Eric: During this trip, I became acutely aware of the impact that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and aid groups have on local communities. That being said, it is ESSENTIAL that you volunteer with and support organizations that do meaningful work. The sad reality is that there are many nonprofits that are marked by corruption or are working counterintuitively against their service population. Avoid putting time and resources into these organizations by heavily researching nongovernmental organizations before you donate and volunteer, especially abroad!

What is challenging you the most so far?

Patrick: Seeing such widespread poverty is really difficult. Even though poverty certainly exists in the U.S., it’s more frequent and visible in Cambodia and Vietnam.  Watching children dig through trash next to emaciated street dogs and seeing entire homes without electricity and plumbing opened my eyes to global inequality and suffering.  Although this was devastating, we visited NGOs working to break the cycle of poverty for entire villages, which gives me a lot of hope and optimism.

Eric: Each afternoon, we had a four hour block to traverse the cities we visited and interview locals for our research. This was intimidating at first, especially considering that I did not speak any Khmer or Vietnamese prior to the trip. After your first couple of interviews, however, this anxiety vanishes–everyone in Cambodia and Vietnam is incredibly friendly.

What was the craziest food you eaten (or plan to eat)?

Patrick: I tried to order scorpions but the restaurant was out, so instead I tried red tree ant soup.  The flavor wasn’t bad, but picking wings and legs from my teeth wasn’t too fun!

Eric: I ate a live snail off of the jungle floor in Mondulkiri. Always respect the sanctity of the double-dog dare. Also, thanks for the $20, Dr. Day!

Cofc’s Summer Abroad Program to Cambodia and Vietnam will provide students with both the structure of a holistic curriculum and the autonomy to make the trip their own. To find out more information, email Dr. Day at dayc@cofc.edu or Dr. Wright at wrightJJ1@cofc.edu.

Patrick is a sophomore political science and economics double major with a minor in Asian Studies.  This is his first study abroad experience.  Eric is a senior international studies and psychology double major with minors in Spanish and political science.  This is his fifth study abroad experience.

under: Faculty, Student

Brendan Geiling, a senior political science major and communication minor, wanted to gain experience in the emerging field of brand development so he contacted Charleston based Garden & Gun to see if they would be willing to host an intern. Geiling researched the magazine’s website, discovered that they had a team that specialized in his interests, and was able to secure the internship.

Charged with various brand development research projects, Geiling focused on social media, product development, and email marketing. He created copy for social media, assisted with art recommendations for ads for the magazine’s website, and researched software solutions to integrate the magazine’s commerce and email marketing software systems. He also had the opportunity to research the magazine’s brand partners and compile reports for company sponsors like Volvo.

Geiling noted that he pursued the internship because he is a tactile learner. Along with honing his teamwork and technical skills, Brendan quickly learned the importance of attention to detail. He enjoyed participating in the art recommendation process for advertisements and was amazed how the selection of products, background images, and fonts can be quite a time-consuming process. It reinforced for him how important it is for the magazine to have a cohesive brand image.

In addition, Geiling integrated his interest in social media into his political science capstone paper on the Arab Spring under the direction of Professor Chris Day. He studied how social media can be a tool for social justice and change. For example, he cited how social media helped Tunisia and Egypt create collective action which resulted in changing their government regimes. Geiling’s research on successful and unsuccessful models led him to create a guide on how to effectively use social media for social change.

Brendan became interested in social media while interning for a luxury retail company in high school and has forged a very intentional and unique career path. He has complimented his political science major with communication and computer science courses and taken on a number of social media-related jobs.  He intends to first pursue digital branding in the entertainment industry in either Los Angeles or New York City and then a political communications career.f

under: intern, Student

Political Science major and African American Studies minor Sarah Nesbit will participate in the highly selective Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Congressional Internship Program on Capitol Hill this summer. Offering three distinct internship programs, CBCF’s mission is to “prepare college students and young professionals to become principled leaders, skilled policy analysts, and informed advocates by exposing them to the processes that develop national policies and implement them from Capitol Hill to federal field offices.” The program will provide Nesbit with housing, a stipend, internship placement, and various networking opportunities. For eight weeks, she will intern with a U.S. Representative participating in bill writing, policy research, the legislative process, skills workshops, and formal events.

Among other requirements, the application process requires a demonstrated interest in public service, governance, or policy making; leadership and community service participation; and strong writing skills. Nesbit serves on the College of Charleston Honor Board, as a Student Ambassador for the Office of Admissions, and Vice-President of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. She previously served as a Junior Senator and the Campus Diversity Liaison for the Student Government Association. Sarah facilitated the first diversity town hall at the college, which served as an open forum for minority students to voice their concerns and desire for change to administration officials. Nesbit is also active in the area of community service.  Within her sorority, she has organized community cleanups and backpack drives for middle and high school students, helped educate college students about health-related issues at informational events, and taught minority children in her hometown and Charleston classical ballet. Nesbit credits Dr. Lynne Ford’s “Women and Politics” and Dr. Valerie Frazier’s “African American Literature” classes in enhancing her writing skills.

Interested in the juvenile justice system, Nesbit aspires to pursue a graduate degree in public policy or education law before earning her law degree. Her ultimate goal is to become a judge.

Nesbit is the second political science major to be selected for this prestigious internship.  Trevor Jones participated in the CBCF Internship Program in 2016.

under: intern, Scholarships and Awards, Student

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