Shining Knights, October’s Featured Graduate, Patrick Stewart, ’88

Patrick_Stewart-poli_sci-5Author, researcher and educator, Patrick Stewart, ’88, said, ‘“Be prepared to pay your dues to realize your dreams. Being great at anything means working very hard for a long time.” Stewart has certainly taken his own advice and over the years has slowly turned his dreams into a reality.

“Without a solid start in my education, I could not have progressed like I have,” said Stewart.

He graduated from UCF with both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science then went on to Northern Illinois University to receive his PhD.  While at UCF, he was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Environmental Society, and Club Canada. He was also a moderator of WUCF’s “UCF Students View the News” and played soccer with the International Student Association. Stewart has stayed connected to UCF by keeping in touch with his professors at professional conferences, or whenever he finds the time to come by campus.

“I owe my professors for providing me a solid basis in political science and for the care they put into their teaching.”

He describes the overall feeling he had during his time at UCF as his best UCF memory. He had a hunger to prove himself at the next level.

“Every day I drove home from campus down University Blvd., I remember telling myself “this is the big time” and treated my education like a job, studying or going to class during the 9-5 hours (unless I had to work), and not watching television or playing video games until after 5 p.m. And whenever there was an opportunity to try something new, and court failure, I took the opportunity!”

When Stewart was asked what advice he would give to current students he had quite a bit to offer, such as:

  • Fail aggressively and prepare to “own” your mistakes. In other words, take chances, try new things, work hard, admit failure to yourself and to others, and grow by learning from your mistakes.
  • Surround yourself with people who challenge you. Stewart said, “I was fortunate to have classmates that were intellectually diverse and challenged me on my often-extreme opinions. This made me intellectually agile.”
  • Follow your curiosity. Just because something has been done the same way “forever” or is assumed to be “the truth,” doesn’t mean that it is correct.

Stewart now works in the department of political science at the University of Arkansas teaching classes for the Masters of Public Administration Program. His classes focus on public policy theory, public budgeting, environmental policy and nonverbal communication in public organizations. Aside from teaching, he has published research concerning nonverbal communication by politicians in the journals Political Psychology, Motivation and Emotion, Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, White House Studies, The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, and Politics and the Life Sciences. His work on nonverbal communication by political leaders has been reported on by popular outlets such as The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Wired, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, amongst others.

He is also the author of the book, Debatable Humor: Laughing Matters on the 2008 Presidential Primary Campaign.  In the book, Stewart considers not just how humor was used, but who used it and how successful these attempts at humor were. He also gives readers insight regarding why humor and the laughter that results is an important part of politics.

Comments are closed.