Given the current tense national political atmosphere, The Cluster decided to spotlight a department that teaches students to analyze and understand our country’s government. We sat down with a power-couple studying political science, Liz Bibb and Gene Mitchell.
C: Why did you choose political science as a major?
Liz Bibb: I became interested in politics during the 2008 elections. I was a senior in high school when I attended the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in which Hillary Clinton spoke. I was there working alongside the press with a group of student journalists and in that moment, I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life: political journalism. Politics is one of the most exciting things Americans can take part in, so I double majored in journalism and political sciences.
Gene Mitchell: My story is a bit shorter. I was already interested in foreign affairs when I came to Mercer. I feel like if you’re not in a major that keeps you up with current events, you’re wasting your time in college.
C: You are both very passionate about your major. After graduation, what are some career options?
G: Foreign services are a great option. I worked with foreign embassies while serving in the Marine Corps.
L: Most people assume if you are a Poli. Sci. major you are automatically going to law school, but I want to report about politics. You can also work as a political analyst or campaign coordinator.
G: Poli. Sci. is such an asset in any field because it increases your critical thinking skills, which prepare you for any career that requires quick absorption and analysis of a lot of information.
C: It sounds like Poli. Sci. really pushes you to be a more analytical student. What is your favorite part of your major?
L: When I came into the department there were three possible tracks and I chose international affairs. I really enjoy that the classes challenge me. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time at college because I am constantly on my toes. The classes are difficult, but that comes with a sense of pride. I know the grade I get in each class is one I really worked for and deserved.
G: Politics is about educating the population in which it governs. All the tracks in the department teach a better perspective of politics.
C: You two make Poli. Sci. sound very intriguing. Makes me wish I had taken some classes!
L: Politics is a public relations game.
C: You’ve sold me. Why should other students consider Poli. Sci.?
G: First, politics influences your life in many different components, so it’s important for people to know about government and politics. Second, the professors in the Poli. Sci. department are incredibly intelligent. They care a lot about you and they want you to succeed. They want to push you to help you grow.
L: I agree. The professors in this department are incredible and we are lucky to have them. They want you to love the political field as much as they do.
C: What advice would you give someone on the fence or just starting out in the major?
L: The benefits are great, but you need to be ready to work.
G: Give it a shot and just take a class. The field isn’t for everyone and you need to be willing to put in a lot of work outside of classes to be successful. You have to care.
C: It’s clear y’all really care. What is something you have learned in the classroom that you applied in the real world?
G: I went from writing well to writing thoughtfully. You learn to articulate your thoughts and opinions which can be applied in all aspects of life. I have worked on campaigns, interned with the Department of State and helped facilitate forums for candidates.
L: I am better able to see both sides of an issue. You can’t make blanket statements and I learned to take time to form my statements and be able to back them up.
G: And we both went with the department on Mercer on Mission to Moldova over the summer. I think these classes make you think more broadly.
C: One last question. Who is your favorite professor?
L: I am a political science major. I know better than to answer that question.