MyPoliticalScience Day Kicks off Second Event for Political Science Students

Students listen to the welcome speech at myPoliticalScience Day. Courtesy of Rachel Stamford.

The Political Science department hosted its second myPoliticalScience Day in the Student Union on September 28. The event informed students about academic, extra-curricular, and career opportunities for students enrolled in Political Science and International & Global Studies, which are both housed in the Political Science department.

The Political Science department held its first MyPoliticalScience Day during spring semester 2018 to introduce academic and engagement opportunities for students enrolled in or considering the departmental majors.

Nick Schenk, the Coordinator of Academic Advising in the Political Science department, said myPoliticalScience Day was not just for students to think about careers after graduation, but to be active and engaged in opportunities within the major.

“My service philosophy is that you can never have too much information,” Schenk said. “Having major-specific events helps students understand what their options are and how to best capitalize on their time here.”

During MyPoliticalScience Day, departmental faculty members discussed topics such as career pathways for students in the major, presented an overview of the field of political science, and introduced opportunities for students such as internships, study abroad, and undergraduate research. Students participated on a panel where they discussed how they structured their major, and which experiences were most helpful and interesting. In addition to the faculty and student panels, students were also able to connect with departmental and College of Sciences advisers.

During the break-out sessions, the students had the opportunity to meet with representatives from student clubs related to their major, such as the Intelligence Club and the International Relations Club, and obtain additional information directly from the clubs. They were also able to meet with other programs that offer engagement opportunities, such as fellowships and internships, including the Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research and Studies, the Kurdish Political Studies Program, the GEEO Center, and the Office of Global Perspectives. Students were invited to meet and talk with faculty members, gain more information about Honors in the Major and other undergraduate research opportunities, study abroad, and internships.

Kerstin Hamann, Pegasus Professor and chair of the Political Science department, presented reflections by alumni about the value of their degree for their career path.

“Without fail, the common thread in the advice given by our alumni mentions the value they received by taking advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom, such as internships and research,” Hamann said. “These experiences round out the solid preparation that students obtain in their coursework and put their knowledge into practice.”

Students who attended the event found it helpful. Carolina Tessutto, a junior in political science with a double major in journalism, found the information on utilizing a political science degree for career planning the most informative part of the event.

“I feel like the event is really good if you’re a freshman or just in the major and don’t know what to do next, or thinking of switching your major,” Tessutto said.

Schenk said giving students the opportunity to engage with UCF partners and department faculty is what makes myPoliticalScienceDay so important.

“I think seeing the level of engagement… seeing students interact with these different groups and the programing we had was my favorite part,” Schenk said.

The department is already looking forward to repeating the event in fall 2019.

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