Political Science Majors Gain a Hand in Policy Formation

February 15, 2017


Matt Gorman ’11, Rapid Response Director for Jeb! 2016

When Ben Albert ’10 decided to focus his studies on political science and international studies, he did so because they’re "fields in which you can truly effect change."

Since graduating, he’s done that, building on a solid foundation that he assembled before graduating:

  • As a sophomore, Ben traveled to Belgium, the Netherlands and France, and studied the European Union through his European Politics and Culture Learning Community (LC).
  • As a junior, he interned in Geneva, Switzerland, with UN Watch, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that aims to hold the United Nations Human Rights Council to its own charter.
  • As a senior, he traveled to Malta and Tunisia.

Preparation for the changes he would make continued after graduation. He was accepted into the Stonehill Service Corps and took advantage of “a fantastic program” called Extension India, spending a year in rural northeast India tutoring children and aiding in a library revitalization.

He later worked on anti-child trafficking programs with the International Organization for Migration in Ghana and Togo.

Then, after earning his master’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University in 2013, he landed a job in Washington, D.C., at Plan International — a nonprofit child rights organization that works in some 70 countries to address issues ranging from gender equality to post-disaster relief.

“The impact of Stonehill’s Political Science Department on my career to this point cannot be overstated,” said Ben, a native of Thomaston, Connecticut.

Ben is just one of many Political Science & International Studies Department alumni who have gone on to see success in a variety of fields. From Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill, Armenia to Amsterdam, the Department’s alumni and students reflect a program with tremendous breadth and depth. And their successes can be found across the political spectrum, from David Simas ’92 working as a key advisor to President Obama to Matt Gorman ’11 who worked as the rapid response director on Jeb Bush's presidential campaign and is now the communication director for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the youngest in the organization’s history.

A Sweeping Introduction to Global Politics

Caroline Lambert ’16, now a student at Boston University School of Law.

“The program at Stonehill is stellar. It creates an atmosphere of optimistic change,” said Caroline Lambert ’16, now a student at Boston University School of Law. “It enables you to identify the problems in [the world] that mean the most to you, then gives you the tools and resources to go solve them.”

With her Irish Politics & Literature LC, Caroline traveled to Ireland, “where we were afforded special access to local and national aspects of both Ireland’s and Northern Ireland’s governments.”

She later studied international relations of the Middle East and Russian government and politics at Oxford University, which the Chelmsford, Massachusetts, native called “the best thing I’ve done so far in my short life.”

As a junior, Kevin Gilmartin ’14 studied post-genocide reconciliation and peacebuilding in Kigali, Rwanda, and interned at the Rwanda Development Board.

“I enjoyed being able to bring my experiences in Rwanda into class discussion,” said the Pompton Plains, New Jersey, native.

Students also benefit from the opportunity to present at international academic conferences in political science.

“It's a fantastic experience that most undergraduates don't have,” said Lambert, who presented last year at the International Studies Association National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The program at Stonehill is stellar. It creates an atmosphere of optimistic change. It enables you to identify the problems in [the world] that mean the most to you, then gives you the tools and resources to go solve them.”
Caroline Lambert, ’16

Stonehill Goes to Washington

Closer to home, the Stonehill in Washington program allows students to spend a semester in the nation’s capital at high-profile internships with national leaders, from the White House to the Department of Homeland Security, among others.

“Stonehill in Washington provides our students with direct access to numerous career opportunities,” said Professor Anna Ohanyan, department chair. “It allows our students to develop their networks in the D.C. area ahead of their graduation.”

 As does Stonehill’s Hill-to-Hill program, an externship for students interested in a career in government, politics and nonprofits in Boston or Washington, D.C.

Kevin, a Hill-to-Hill alum and now a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, called the program “a way to gain a better understanding of the constellation of players in Washington, D.C. It’s also a great opportunity to make connections.”

Martin Institute for Law & Society

Students also benefit from the Martin Institute for Law & Society, which is located on campus. Established in memory of former House Speaker Joseph Martin Jr.,  it provides programs that explore the workings of our government and hosts speakers, including members of Congress and state officials.

A Unique Opportunity to Study Peace Building

Professor Anna Ohanyan, Political Science & International Studies Department Chair

The Department’s newest addition, the Learning Inside Out Network (LION), is an intensive international internship and research opportunity for students interested in the theory and practice of global security.

Through it, Hélène “Lena” Brehany ’18 of Holden, Massachusetts, spent an eye-opening semester in Yerevan, Armenia, interning at the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, an NGO specializing in conflict resolution and human rights.

“The problems people face are real, entrenched and not easy to solve,” said Lena, who is currently studying politics at Oxford University in England. “The socioeconomic problems that developing countries face are so complex. It made me more empathetic and humble.”

Daniel Lavigne ’18, a member of Stonehill’s Model UN, says he also sees the tremendous impact of LION. He will intern in Armenia at both the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and the Center for Agribusiness & Rural Development Foundation this spring.

“You will see me at U.N. Headquarters in New York one day. The LION program is definitely a way to work toward that goal,” said the Amesbury, Massachusetts, native. “This is not your average internship — this is a career move.”