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Department of Political Science
University of Mississippi

Political Science Student Ambassadors

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Carson Webb

Why did you choose to attend UM?
I went to high school on the coast of Mississippi and senior year I went on a college tour with my school. I had already completely written off in state colleges but when I got to UM I was shocked about how much I really liked the campus and the professors I spoke to.

When and how did you choose your major(s)/minor(s)?
I decided on my major senior year of high school. My interest in international politics and affairs grew through the introduction of different authors who wrote about personal struggles and wars in their home countries, which left me wanting to be involved on a larger scale outside of the US. I didn’t land on my minor until sophomore year, global security studies.

What would you tell a high school student about your major? What is most important for them to know if they’re interested in pursuing that field of study?
Political Science is so much broader than you think. There are students who want to work in policy, students who pre-law looking at working in corporate law/international law/etc, and those like me who want to work internationally in politics. Understanding that there are so many niche areas of study and not limiting yourself to a larger group will really help you find a passion in your studies.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?
Most recently, I had a class on Ethnic Conflict and International Terror. That class really opened my eyes in regards to how much a nations foreign policies and relations can help or severely hurt those warring and how the start of conflicts are not always as black and white as you are taught in high school.

What has been one of your most memorable or enjoyable moments at UM?
I am not a huge sports fan and I swore off football games freshman year because of covid. I finally went to my first game and tailgated with some friends sophomore year and I had an absolute blast. It really is a huge part of UM student life.

What do you hope to do after you graduate? What are your career goals/ plans for post-graduation?
Post graduation goals as of right now is to go to law school for international law and hopefully start working/interning for an agency as an analyst. I would like to end up in a career field that involves me working towards counteracting cyber terrorism and warfare.

Apart from school, how do you spend your time in Oxford? What are your hobbies, favorite places to go, etc.?
The art scene and music scene is where i usually spend most of my time outside of classes. There are a bunch of really fun events held on the square monthly.

What is one thing you wish you knew as an incoming freshman that you’d tell you past self(about the general college experience)?
There is so much more to the UM other than greek life and the most apparent social groups. You’ll find really cool pockets of people and scenes that you wouldn’t expect. Your professors will be from all walks of life and have such great insight so don’t worry about not finding like minded people.

Lake Dodson

Why did you choose to attend UM?
I chose to attend UM because it was close to home and offered reputable political science programs with lots of extracurricular activities. I also always wanted a campus that is not just buildings and roads, after so many speech & debate tournaments in the state, UM has the greenest space hands down. I love walking around the grove or riding my bike through the trails nearby.

When and why did you choose your major(s)/minor(s)?

I always knew that I wanted to major in political science, after so many years of congressional debate in my high school years and attending many politically-related clubs and events, it was easy for me to decide.

What would you tell a high school student about your major? What is most important for them to know if they’re interested in pursuing that field of study?

Compared to high school classes, college classes are much more of an open forum for discussion, especially when it comes to political science. If you are interested in pursuing political science, definitely come ready to catch some 1000 word minimum essays.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?

Dr. Wronski’s political psychology class was eye-opening and very fun. The class was open discussion and had a collection of people with different beliefs, so every discussion always got hot. It was so fun to respond to other peoples views and look at data that contradicted what I originally thought was true.

What has been one of your most memorable or enjoyable moments at UM?

I would say my most enjoyable moments at UM are meeting all the new people and becoming fast friends with those you just met only an hour ago.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?
What are your career goals/ plans for post graduation?
So far i hope to become a US foreign diplomat to an East Asian country, or at least something related to East Asian politics. So far, however, I have my communication opportunities waiting in Washington DC once I graduate.

Apart from school, how do you spend your time in Oxford?
What are your hobbies, favorite places to go, etc.?
I love to ride my bike the the whirlpool trails just outside of campus. If you see someone biking up a dirt hill that is way too steep to ride on, that is most likely me.

What is one thing you wish you knew as an incoming freshman that you’d tell your past self (about the general college experience)?

Put yourself out there as much as you can early on, college is a place for meeting new people so start early!

Mason Greenwald

Why did you choose to attend UM?
Initially, when I applied to colleges, the University of Mississippi was not on my radar. Following my senior year of highschool, I actually planned on attending a small college in upstate New York. I had a change of heart in mid-June, and by that time, a vast majority of universities had closed their applications for the fall semester. After researching the few schools that still had open applications, I felt that the University of Mississippi would be the best place for me. I planned to attend for the fall semester, then subsequently transfer back up North to an in-state school. However, my collegiate career shaped up differently when I fell in love with Oxford and UM. I am now a junior and have every intention of completing my undergraduate degrees here at the University of Mississippi.

When and how did you choose your major(s)/minor(s)?

Initially, I entered UM as a Political Science major. I am fascinated by systems of government and American politics. After my freshman year, I decided to push myself and undertake an economics major as well. I had never thought of myself as a “math person”, so the decision to add an economics major was certainly a step outside of my comfort zone. In retrospect, I am so glad I did though because I truly feel fulfilled through striving to be the best version of myself. I hope these two majors give me a competitive advantage as I aspire to attend law school after completing my undergraduate degrees.

What would you tell a high school student about your major?
What is most important for them to know if they’re interested in pursuing that field of study?
In my opinion, the key to success at the collegiate level is intrinsic motivation. Motivation that cannot come from parents or college counselors, rather a deep fascination that comes from within. With Political Science, I would highly encourage a prospective student to genuinely enjoy government, history, and writing. For economics, I would encourage a prospective student to have a growth mindset when it comes to math and a willingness to think within an extremely logical context.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?

My Political Research professor, Dr. Klingler had immense patience and understanding that his course content was mostly foreign to even us Political Science students. This demeanor allowed me to feel comfortable stopping his lecture to ask questions or drop by during office hours for further clarification. Further, his variety of assignments gave me a more holistic understanding of the material.

What has been one of your most memorable or enjoyable moments at UM?

Joining a fraternity here at the University of Mississippi has greatly shaped me as a leader. While there are many academic benefits to joining a fraternity, I would be remiss not to mention the social aspects. Forming bonds with alumni who stood in my position decades ago has given me a multitude of mentors to turn to in the inevitable times of uncertainty. From experiences like these, the saying about “one never truly graduating from Ole Miss” holds true in my eyes.

What do you hope to do after you graduate? What are your career goals/ plans for post graduation?

This past summer, I worked for a law firm back in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. I was able to get involved in a number of projects and found my passion within litigation and municipal law. I hope to attend law school, then work as an attorney. My pipe-dream is to give back to the communities that have shaped me and one day work as a politician.

Apart from school, how do you spend your time in Oxford? What are your hobbies, favorite places to go, etc.?

Weekend rounds at the Ole Miss Golf Course are a great way to decompress from the stress factors of class and extracurriculars. The student membership is at a pretty reasonable price point and the course is pristine. I also enjoy hiking on the trails on the South end of campus. You’ll often see peers and professors enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

What is one thing you wish you knew as an incoming freshman that you’d tell your past self (about the general college experience)?

Actually try. When I say that, I really mean step out of your comfort zone. Ole Miss has a ton to offer aside from purely academics and please take advantage of these opportunities. Join a club sport, join a Greek organization, go to some of the fun events on the Union Plaza. People here are kind, do not hesitate to introduce yourself. For the most part, professors do a great job of giving a fair work load. Do not hide in your dorm room during your free time and instead go see what Ole Miss and The Number One College Town in America have to offer.

Sophie Martino

Why did you choose to attend UM?
I chose to come to Ole Miss because I visited Oxford and fell in love with the campus and the town. I’m from Alabama and most of my friends go to University or Alabama or Auburn, and I wanted a similar feel to both of those schools (relatively close to home, cool college town, football), while also branching out to a different place to meet new people.

When and how did you choose your major(s)/minor(s)?
I chose political science as my major early on. I have always been passionate about politics, and I knew from my senior year of high school that politics was what I wanted to study in college.

What would you tell a high school student about your major? What is most important for them to know if they’re interested in pursuing that field of study?
I would tell high schoolers that political science is extremely important for people to study. In order to be a functioning member of American society, it is critical to understand our political systems, that way you can understand what you’re voting for and why. And for people interested in studying political science, I would let them know to not be afraid of disagreement or debate. Disagreement is a natural part of politics, and it can actually lead to better discussions.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?
I’ve had several political science classes that have made a major impact on me. Firstly, I want to mention Dr. Brown, who I met in my sophomore year of college in a POL398 seminar on politics in a Post Truth Era. Taking that class made me even more sure that political science was what I was passionate about and wanted to study. I also want to mention Dr. King, who I took for another POL398 class on Legislative Diversity. Both of those professors encouraged critical thinking and discussion among students, and made us think about certain topics that we don’t often think or talk about day-to-day.

What has been one of your most memorable or enjoyable u at UM?
One of my most memorable moments at UM was probably my first ever game day. While I had visited Oxford before, I had never come up to visit for a game day when I was in high school. So that first game day was insane to me because I had never seen anyone tailgate like Ole Miss does. Seeing and visiting all the tents in the Grove made me fall even more in love with the school. A close second would have to be the field trip our POL398 class took last year to Jackson to interview the legislative staff in the capital.

What do you hope to do after you graduate? What are your career goals/ plans for post graduation?

Following graduation, I plan on attending law school. As far as career goals go, I am not entirely sure of what type of law I plan on pursuing, but due to my interest in politics, I would love to live in DC and work in politics and government somehow, whether that be through lobbying or working for a US attorney.

Apart from school, how do you spend your time in Oxford? What are your hobbies, favorite places to go, etc.?
Some of my favorite hobbies include running and playing tennis. I also work part time at Shades Sunglasses. I also like to volunteer, and most recently helped organize an event in Mobile (where I’m from) to raise money for a women’s shelter. I’m also very into baking and cooking, and I’m always making dinner for my friends, or baking desserts for fun. Lastly, I’m an intense vinyl collector and music lover.

What is one thing you wish you knew as an incoming freshman that you’d tell your past self (about the general college experience)?

I would encourage students to get involved in as many things as possible and go to as many events as possible. Try to join clubs that suit your interests, go to plays or musicals on campus, or try your hand at volunteering in Oxford to better the community we live in. Not only will you feel more immersed in the UM and Oxford community, but you will make friends with the same interests and passions as you.

Landon Lunsford

Why did you choose to attend UM?
I chose to attend Ole Miss because of its political science department, social life, and distance from home. The political science department here is well run and employs professors that not only teach well but care about their students. Oxford has a great social scene, so that factored in greatly when deciding to come to Ole Miss. I knew I didn’t want to go to school in Texas, and Mississippi was a good mix of distance but also where I could drive home if need.

When and why did you choose your major(s)/minors?
I knew coming into college that I wanted to major in political science, so I had that figured out pretty quickly. My minors were a little bit different. I came across the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies my sophomore year and took the introduction class. I decided I wanted to add it as my minor and filled out the application for the minor. I was accepted into the program and have been taking courses ever since. I added a second minor, history, in the spring semester of my junior year because it was only three extra classes, and I decided I could benefit from some of the courses offered in the history department.

What would you tell a high school student about your major? What is most important for them to know if they’re interested in pursuing that field of study?
Political science is a broad major. Courses in the political science department here at Ole Miss range from constitutional law to German politics. Whether you want to work in politics, lobbying, law, or even the national security sector, there are going to be classes that relate to those career fields in this major. Students should know that there is a fair amount of writing in this field of study so be aware of that, but I would say that it’s good practice for whatever postgraduate career you want to pursue.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?
POL 304: American Legislative Process, taught by professor Jonathan Klingler, is a must- take class, especially for anybody who wants to work in congressional staffing or lobbying. The course basically teaches about how laws are passed and how both chambers of Congress work. You also do a simulated Senate at the end of the class where you pick a state to represent and try and pass laws. I would definitely recommend taking that class and professor Klingler for any other courses. Professors Lauren Ferry and Alice Cooper are also great to take.

What has been one of your most memorable or enjoyable moments at UM?
I think my most memorable and enjoyable moment would be from this past football season when we played Texas A&M. Everything about that game, from College Gameday in the morning to a packed Vaught that night, was awesome.

What do you hope to do after you graduate? What are your career goals/ plans for post graduation?
I would like to work in politics, either on the campaign side or Hill staffing, once I graduate.

Apart from school, how do you spend your time in Oxford? What are your hobbies, favorite places to go, etc.?
Outside of school, I read a lot or hang out with friends. Going to the square on the weekends is also a good time. I’m a big fan of getting food from Southern Coop; they have great wings.

What is one thing you wish you knew as an incoming freshman that you’d tell your past self (about the general college experience)?
We had no idea Covid-19 would come and change things so much, so I would tell my past self to enjoy the semesters before Covid comes and not worry about school as much.

Caleb Ball

Caleb Ball

While majoring in Political Science, Caleb is also a student worker in the College of Liberal Arts Deans’ Office, and has worked in various law offices. After his time as an undergraduate, he plans to attend law school, and perhaps run for office. Caleb is a UM Orientation Leader, a member of the Club Volleyball Team, is the Director of Outreach for the UM College Democrats and a member of OUTlaw. 

 

Why did you choose to attend UM?
Growing up only an hour from Oxford, I always loved days in high school when me and my friends would come visit Oxford. I loved coming to the Grove as a kid.  To me, it felt more like a huge family get-together than a tailgate. I chose UM because in my eyes, there is no school like it.

When and why did you choose your major(s)/minors?
My love for politics came from my dad. He was also a political science major, and he always taught me that being involved in politics is important because it’s what’s happening in the world around you. When it came time to choose a major senior year of high school, I knew political science was for me.

What are your career goals?
After undergrad, I plan on going to law school. I hope to become a attorney and maybe one day run for office.

Is there a professor who has been particularly helpful to you?
My first semester on campus, I had to take Spanish 111. This class was particularly hard for me considering I didn’t take any Spanish classes in high school. My professor, Dayni Mederos, went out of her way to make sure I had the information and help I needed to catch up and be successful in her class.

What has been a particularly meaningful way you have engaged in a community – either on or off-campus?
One of my favorite ways I have gotten involved with a community on campus is becoming an orientation leader. I am super excited about this opportunity and so excited to meet many new people in this process.

What do you like to do outside of school (hobbies, interests)?
My favorite hobbies include working out, playing volleyball, hanging with friends, and playing piano.

What is your favorite place to eat in Oxford?
Hands down my favorite place to eat in Oxford is South Depot. My mom and grandmother took me to eat there on the day I moved in my first semester here, and when I eat there it makes me think of them.