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Political science

Political science majors doing research: Rachel Lenke ’12 (back row, second from left), and Ellen Lose ’12 (front), with Dr. Mariano Magalhães and a focus group in Estrutural, Brasília, Brazil.
  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

All students of political science collaborate on research with a faculty mentor, learning how to ask and answer significant questions and then present those findings to others. This kind of skill development means graduates are employed in many fields.

Some recent graduates have careers in business, education, urban planning, community organizing and grant writing. (The previous mayor of Rock Island and former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans both are Augustana graduates.)

A sampling of graduates

Anissa Pemberton '15 is a grants specialist for Quad City Arts.

Tyrrell Jeffries '13 is in the Teach for America program and then plans to attend law school.

Rachel Lenke '13 is in the master of public policy program at Loyola University-Chicago.

Alicia Oken '13' is studying for a master's degree in journalism at Georgetown University (see her blog)

Augustana College offers a major and minor in political science, with classes in a wide variety of fields within the discipline: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public law and public policy. The department is closely associated with Augustana's pre-law program.

The department serves as a resource for foreign study programs, especially Asian and Latin American studies. Professors are involved in Model United Nations and Model Arab League groups, and work with Augustana's Freistat Center for Studies in World Peace, which regularly brings international figures to campus.

Students find the political science major to be very compatible with other programs, including communication studies, business administration, sociology and economics.

In recent years, a typical political science major would:
• Take courses in Ghana or Vietnam for a term.
• Attend a session of Model Illinois Government in Springfield or a Model United Nations conference in Washington, D.C.
• Experience political life in four cities and two states because of the college's location on the Mississippi River border between Illinois and Iowa.
• Be interviewed by local or regional news media, who frequently turn to faculty and students for expertise and opinions on issues.
• Participate in Politics Club, a non-partisan organization of students interested in intelligent political discourse;

Nicolas Camlin ’10, political science major:

“The professors in the political science department are intelligent and experienced, and are great people who want to help their students at any cost. With that much support … I am confident that I will be well-prepared for the next level of my life, whether it’s in law or politics.”

Amanda Seifert ’11, political science major:

“Political science is a major that easily gives back as much as you put into it; this makes it incredibly rewarding and always engaging. Different connections are constantly being made between ideas, giving me a new perspective on the world."


Frieze Lecture: The great poems of 1915

Farah Marklevits, instructor in English, presents a Frieze Lecture on the literary legacy of the great poems of 1915, which included Robert Frost's "Road Not Taken" and TS Eliot's "Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock." The Frieze Lecture Series is an 18-year partnership between the Rock Island Public Library and Augustana College. It continues this year with the theme "1915 - A Landmark Year."

Frieze Lecture: "Birth of a Nation" and racism in entertainment

Dr. Chris​topher​ Whitt, associate professor of political science, presents a Frieze Lecture on D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" and how racism in entertainment shapes politics. The Frieze Lecture Series is an 18-year partnership between the Rock Island Public Library and Augustana College. It continues this year with the theme "1915 - A Landmark Year."
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