Alumni Spotlight

Courtney Vaden '05

Political Science major


MA. from American Military University (2009)

Previous Employment: Kansas Department of Corrections

Current Job Title: Criminal Intelligence Analyst II for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

I am a strategic and tactical analyst assisting our state to see the big picture and our agent with their cases. Day to day I do everything from a map showing phone pings, to a full report of the future of methamphetamine use in Kansas. I travel for trainings all over the country and work with agencies all over the state.

Reflections: More than anything the professors in the department want all students to get where they want to be. I was a research and knowledge junkie but not necessarily long term or specialty. I chose to take classes all over the place to get the widest picture available. Political science is much bigger than elections or global affairs, it's team building, strategy, and compromise (which you'll use daily at work).

Boston College Law School (2017)

Internships with: Office of the Inspector General of Massachusetts;
U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Division; and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Zinnia Khan '14

Political Science Major

Zinnia Khan - Class of 2014

My Political Science degree enabled me to work toward my goal of becoming an attorney. It trained me to think critically, conduct high-level research and develop my writing capabilities. All three skills have proved crucial in law school. Moreover, Political Science classes provided me with a comprehensive understanding of our political system, which prepared me well for law school courses such as Constitutional Law or Criminal Procedure.

Along with practical and academic skills , the Political Science Department at WSU assisted me in making invaluable professional contacts. During my junior year, I participated in the Semester in DC Program through which I interned for a U.S. Senator. It was during my time on Capitol Hill that I met alumni from my current law school who served as mentors and guided me towards the path I am on now. Having the option to participate in experiential learning and make real-world connections is just one of the many benefits of a political science degree.
To sum it up, I believe the most valuable aspect of a B.A. in Political Science is the flexibility with which you can structure your degree and experience, and tailor it in a way most fitting to your own academic/professional goals. The possibilities are vast in terms of what you can do with your political science background.

Hector Corea '14

Political Science and Philosophy double major

Hector Corea - Class of 2014

UC Berkley Law School (2016)

Previous Employment: U.S. Army Reserve

Current Job Title: Associate Attorney, DLA Piper LLP.

Responsibilities include:
• Synthesizing legal research and analysis into a coherent written memorandum or brief for submission to a client, court or arbitrator

• Appearing in a court of law, arbitration or other judicial tribunal on behalf of the firm's client

• Analyzing and summarizing complicated legal documents, including contracts, and suggesting alterations to those documents

• Anticipating and mitigating potential legal problems within the law firm or for a client — and developing strategies to avoid costly litigation and reduce potential areas of risk

Political Science is worth pursuing for two reasons: rigorous analytical skills and life knowledge.

Academic Preparation
Two of my Poli Sci classes, “The Congress” and “Dictatorships” were both interesting and challenging. This combination made them stand out from my college experience because I was able to satisfy my fascination with the intricacies of our government and non-democratic governments while solidifying critical thinking and analytic skills that I would need for my path towards law school. In this way, Political Science can help further your own professional aspirations through engaging and enlightening studies.

Politcal Enlightenment
More importantly, Political Science provides life knowledge. As you can see on the news, our own government is facing problems of political legitimacy. The United States is now considered a “flawed democracy” by the Economic Intelligence Unit. Much of the reason is simply that citizens of our country lack a basic understanding of how and why our government functions. Political Science will help you question your own political leanings and cut through others' alternative facts.

The ability to question political stances and come to your own conclusions on rational bases is something that will serve you in not merely any profession or job, but in your day-to-day interactions. It was also allow you to connect with others who may not share your views or perspectives, for diversity is the mother of learning. I can assure you you will find friends in the Political Science department because shared understanding is the department’s key goal–and one that no political perspective can erase.

Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (2015)

Current job title: Project Manager- Azraq Refugee Camp with the Danish Refugee Council- I manage a team of 10 to implement livelihood and protection programming for Syrian refugees living in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan.

Tatiana Sibaai '05

Tatiana Sibaai - Class of 2005

How did Political Science prepare you for your job today: The courses I took as a political science major at WSU provided me with a strong foundation of knowledge in international and national political affairs that helped me to obtain a job post my undergraduate degree. My participation in Model United Nations and references from my poli sci professors were integral in my graduate school applications and led to a successful admission into a top-tier international relations graduate program. I would advise any student looking for a future career in local, national and/or international politics to pursue a degree in PoliSci at WSU.