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Sophie Schultz

Sophie ShoultzAlumni Profile

Graduation year and major

2023, Political Science (Public Policy)

Why did you choose to attend Iowa State?

I was looking to go to graduate school back in my home state.

Why did you choose to major in political science?

I studied international relations for my undergraduate major and lived abroad after graduating, so I saw my graduate degree as a great way to build on these experiences.

What did you enjoy most about being a political science major?

For me, the coursework and class discussion is the most enjoyable part of political science. I also like that political science is a major where you can get involved almost anywhere you are—there’s no lack of local political issues or campaigns to participate in!

Is there a political science class that you particularly enjoyed?

Which one didn’t I enjoy! But if I had to highlight one, it would be Research Methods with Dr. Urbatsch, because I felt it helped me develop a critical eye for developing and evaluating research projects in political science.

Did any faculty members or staff in the Department of Political Science inspire or support you when you were at Iowa State? How?

Yes, many of them! Especially my advisor, Amy Erica, who was instrumental in mentoring me throughout my graduate studies. I also loved working with Drs. Mansbach and Pirro.

How has your political science degree supported your career aspirations?

Having a graduate degree has definitely helped me qualify for more opportunities in government and politics, including the research and language experience I gained while obtaining my degree.

What would you tell students who are considering a political science degree at Iowa State?

Political science gives you great tools for understanding and interrogating the social processes that underpin politics and policies, and is a degree that can be applied flexibly to many future career paths! I’ve loved the opportunities that a degree in political science has opened to me in terms of international travel and language learning as well.

What advice do you have for political science students who are considering graduate school?

Whether you want to go on to graduate school is a pretty personal decision that is going to be different for everyone. For me, I was glad to have taken some time out of school to work and orient myself before continuing on to graduate school. However, this won’t be the case for everyone, and it certainly can’t hurt to have a graduate degree!

What is your fondest memory of being a political science major at Iowa State?

Above all, I enjoyed the people in the department! The graduate class sizes were very small, and I got to know fellow students and the professors in a personal way. I also enjoyed hanging out with fellow political science students after class and during office hours. The department is small but close knit.

What advice to you have for current or future Iowa State political science majors?

Take advantage of scholarship opportunities! There are many government and other exchange programs that can enable you to travel, learn languages, and live and work internationally. These are valuable experiences that can help you develop academically, professionally, and personally. Additionally, being located in Ames can allow you to get involved in Iowa state politics, whether it be working for a campaign, at the Iowa State Capitol, or for a state party. Take advantage of these opportunities while you’re still a student.