Political science has a market.
Among the current 200 political science undergraduate students, many are discovering the importance of scooping up internships and getting involved in campus organizations.
“So much of your post-grad success is going to depend on how you set yourself up,” said Erik Trump, political science professor.
Paul Lafata, a political science and communications freshman, has taken this advice to heart.
“There’s resources here that you can use, but once you’re gone you don’t have those resources anymore,” Lafata said.
He plans to look into the College Republicans organization and also hopes to complete an internship in Lansing or Washington, D.C., this summer.
John Kaczynski, political science professor, said that only 50 percent of political science students understand the value of an internship.
He said they may struggle to find employment having never completed one.
“You’ve got this degree in hand, but what can you bring to the table?” Kaczynski said.
Hailey Kimball, a political science senior, has helped with the campaign for Gary McDowell of the First Congress District and has also interned at the Michigan Court of Appeals for Stephen Borrello, a criminal justice professor.
Kimball gained knowledge from her internships and enjoyed experiencing the career first-hand.
“Rather than just listening to lectures, you get to see what goes on in those environments,” she said.
Kimball is gaining experience in other ways, too.
She is a part of Model United Nations, moot court, law club and is the president of the College Democrats organization.
Although the major is a common choice for aspiring lawyers and those wishing to work in government, political science can be considered a liberal arts degree.
Individuals possessing this degree may use it to become professional grant writers, business entrepreneurs, managers at a public agency or may go on to study library science.
“It’s a degree that teaches you how to understand how people work,” said Stewart French, political science department chair.
A political science major is eligible for nearly any job that includes community involvement, which makes the job outlook promising.
Kaczynski said that throughout the next 10 years jobs in the public sector are expected to open up due to the retirement of baby boomers.
French remarked that there would always be people running for office, meaning that jobs involving campaigns will continuously be available.
Along with having a knack for working with people, political science majors and minors must be well-developed writers with the ability to think critically.
Kimball said that she appreciates how Trump takes the time to correct grammar in her papers and not just read for content.
“He’s trying to make you a better writer rather than slapping a grade at the end of the paper,” Kimball said.
To ensure that they become good writers, some political science majors choose rhetoric and professional writing as a minor or a double major.
Criminal justice, accounting, communications, economics and sociology are other recommended minors.
Kaczynski said that his doors are always open to students and he will do everything in his power to help them succeed, including helping them achieve their dream internship.
“I don’t think there’s a student that’s come in yet and stumped me,” he said.