Photo Credit: student spotlight graphic
Wed, 04/17/2024 - 19:43

Majors: Political Science
Hometown: Monmouth, IL

Year: Senior

Why did you select your major(s) and minor(s)? Were there any events or people that convinced you to declare?
I chose political science as my major because I love American history and believe that America is currently at a point where many see it as immensely divisive. In most situations where there is division, there can be unity. I came into the field of politics to help citizens across the country have their voices heard and unify people. Many see dark days ahead politically, but I see many Americans everyday working hard to provide for their families the best way they know how. America is a country full of opportunities many people don't know how to unlock. I hope by serving in this field to help Americans unlock their potential and help them live their individual American dream.

What is your favorite course you have taken from your program(s) and why?
My favorite course to encourage others to take is POLS 425 (Congress & Public Policy) with Dr. Geoff Lorenz. This course provides an in-depth look into how Congress works, the structure and rules within both bodies, and the interaction of constituents and lobbyists that help create legislation in the United States.

Who have been some of your strongest mentors or role models here?
We have a very robust group of political scientist faculty. It is hard to narrow it down to a few. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Courtney Hillebrecht. I took her introductory course to international relations (GLST 160), and her style of teaching really resonated with me. Her knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm in the field were present in every class. The class was very large, with many students in attendance, but she made it a point to connect with students and see how she could better assist their academic journeys. Another professor who has to be mentioned is Dr. Geoff Lorenz. I had Dr. Lorenz in POLS 286 (Political Analysis) and POLS 425 (Congress & Public Policy). He was the first professor to help me with in-depth quantitative research, and Dr. Lorenz was another professor who sought to help students in every way he could. His research in relation to lobbyists and legislation struck me as fascinating, as I dealt with many lobbyists in my job. Dr. Daniel Schaub may seem to be a "green professor," but man he is definitely one of the best around. His passion for his work is almost unmatched. His simulations in his USA Foreign Policy course (POLS 363) and State Terror course (POLS 472) were unlike anything I had experienced before. Those simulations allowed us to act as important actors in situations of crisis and difficult circumstances. It allowed me to gain more respect for government officials.

Finally, I also have to mention Professor Sara Houston, JD. Although she may be new to the University, her experience is extremely valuable to students interested in law. I took Constitutional Law (POLS 441), Courts, Judges, & Lawyers (POLS 345), and Civil Liberties (POLS 442) with Professor Houston. We had the privilege of having a variety of outside activities with lawyers in a variety of fields, as well as collaborating with the UNL College of Law's First Amendment Clinic for a project. I was challenged in a way that gave me the experience of a law student that allowed me to obtain a vast amount of knowledge from many different court cases.

Have you had an internship or job? If so, please describe it and explain how your major(s) helped you with it.
I had the honor of being Senator Ben Hansen's Administrative Aide starting January 2023, and my major in political science helped me to apply the critical thinking skills, bureaucratic knowledge, and policy research that was needed to help serve the constituents of Nebraska.

What are you involved in on campus or in the community?
I was the President of the College Republicans on campus. I am proud of the work that we have done with advocating for conservative values on and off campus. Under my administration, I was able to put on two major events: one encouraging young people to be leaders in political engagement and advocacy with multiple state senators and the Lt. Governor of Nebraska, Joe Kelly, and the other event was a pro-life event where we were able to have Governor Pillen be our keynote speaker (other speakers included Sandy Danek with Nebraska Right to Life, Sandy Danek with Nebraska Family Alliance, and Senator Joni Alebrecht's Legislative Aide, Glenda Ward).

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to continue working at the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature as an Administrative Assistant to Senator Ben Hansen for the 16th Legislative District of Nebraska.