Professor of Political Science
BJ, Journalism, University of Missouri
MA, Intational Relations, University of Southern California
PhD, Political Science, University of Missouri
What made you decide to specialize in Political Science?
I’ve always loved it. I was an Army brat. My dad served in World War II, and my brothers also served in the military. And I was always different, which I think is a good thing. When I was in school, women generally could either study to be a teacher, a secretary or a nurse. I went to Mizzou for journalism. And I went to college during a time of great political tumult, when students were marching in protest of the Vietnam War, and after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated. It was a time of major change in our country, and a great time for someone like me to be interested in politics. My husband and I really believe in the electoral process, and we’ve long been involved in it. I saw the difference good governance can make, and I always encourage my students to go out, get involved and be a part of it.
What was your favorite course in college and why?
I was almost a science writer. I took comparative anatomy and ornithology at Mizzou, and I really loved those classes.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Teaching makes me continue to learn, and on a personal level it keeps me engaged with young people. I love exposing my students to the really big ideas of how government could and should work, and helping to get them involved. I truly believe the current generation – the students sitting in our classrooms – is our best generation yet, and I believe in the future of our country.
What advice would you give current or prospective students?
A-B-C. A- Attend your classes; B- Bring your brain; and C- Communicate with your professors! Many of our students face a lot of obstacles at home, in class or at work, and if they don’t let us know when they’re struggling, we can’t help get them back on track. We have so many free resources here, like tutoring, so use them! I would also say that you are the master of your own fate, and the captain of your own soul. You need to look hard at the facts and see what it is you want to do with your life and your education.
What would you say to a student interested in pursuing a career in Political Science?
Political Science is often a doorway into law school or teaching; however, there aren’t many teaching positions available on the high school level, so you would need to pursue a graduate degree. But everyone should know and understand political science because government affects every profession.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time with our grandchildren, playing golf, horseback riding and traveling.