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About Us: Our Students

Student Distinctives

Political science students at Calvin maintain a high level of involvement in campus life, both academic and extracurricular, and pursue higher levels of education after graduating.

Extracurricular involvement

Griffin Jackson-Chimes Office

» Over the past five years, political science or international relations majors have served Chimes, Calvin's student newspaper, as as editors-in-chief and news editors.


» Political science and international relations majors regularly become involved in Student Senate, Calvin's student government.

» Students in the international relations and political science majors lead on-campus organizations, such as the College Democrats, the College Conservatives, Amnesty International and the Model United Nations Club.

Academic involvement

2009 Model UN Team

» During 2011 Model United Nations Calvin represented Latvia on the General Assembly Plenary and its First, Second, Third and Fourth Committees and the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Economic Commission on Europe, the Economic and Social Council, and the World Health Assembly. This conference attended by 1200 students provides an excellent opportunity to learn negotiation skills, gain public speaking experience, and practice diplomacy during intense and long periods of debate. Students gain a greater appreciation of the possibilities for and pitfalls of international cooperation.

» Senior student, Kay Varela, was chosen to attend the Ralph Bunche Institute for minority students at Duke University.  Sponsored by the American Political Science Association, the highly selective month-long institute prepares students for graduate school.

» In the summer, typically 2-3 political science and international relations majors are involved in research with a political science professor as part of the McGregor Summer Research Fellowship program

Students Study Abroad

» Two political science students, Eric Doornbos and Kelly Larsen majoring in international relations, participated in a month-long summer peace-building institute in Bosnia with the Global Youth Connect's Human Rights Delegation to Bosnia.

» Many political science and international relations majors spend a semester abroad.  

  • 20 of the 32 graduates in the 2009-2010 class studied in Honduras, Washington DC, China, Ghana, Hungary, Uganda, or Spain.
  • Of the 25 graduates in the 2008-2009 class 19 spent a semester off campus in Chicago, Honduras, Washington DC, France, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary or Spain.
  • 21 of the 36 graduates in the 2007-2008 class spent a semester in the Netherlands, Israel, Britain, Washington DC, France, Ghana, Honduras or Hungary.
Paul Schrampfer

» Paul Schrampfer, 2010 political science graduate, was selected as a fellow to participate in the prestigious John Jay Institute year–long internship program.

» Students majoring in political science often serve as campaign interns and workers.

  • Matt Sowash, 2010 graduate, managed the Lori Wiersma for State Senate campaign.
  • Paul Hartge, 2010 graduate, interned on the David LaGrand for State Senate campaign.
  • Jeff Snyder, 2010 graduate, managed Ken Yonker’s State House campaign.
  • Emily Higuera, 2010-2011 sophomore, works for the Justin Amash for Congress campaign.
  • Jordan Wood, 2010-2011 junior, James Wood, 2010-2011 junior, Josh Boerman, 2010-2011 junior, and Lindsay Marks, 2010-2011 senior, interned with the Pat Miles for Congress campaign.
  • Eric Kamstra, 2010-2011 senior, worked with the Rick Snyder for Michigan Governor campaign as well as the Justin Amash for Congress campaign.


Our Alumni

Graduates from the department have attended:
Law schools: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Michigan-Ann Arbor, Duke, Virginia, Cornell, Georgetown, California-Los Angeles, Texas- Austin, Vanderbilt, Southern California, Washington, Boston, Emory, Minnesota, Indiana-Bloomington, Illinois, and Notre Dame

Professional schools: Johns Hopkins University’s Paul Nitze School for Advanced International Studies; the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University; and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, Pepperdine University, the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, and Bush School of Government and Public Service-Texas A&M

Graduate programs: Yale University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, and the University of North Carolina.

Graduates from the department have worked in:
Government: The U. S. Congress (as staff in House and Senate offices), U. S. Department of Labor, U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Federal Reserve Board, U. S. Social Security Administration, Peace Corps, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Michigan legislature (as staff and as elected members)

Non-Profit Work: Legal Aid of West Michigan, International Justice Mission, Institute for Global Engagement, Teach for America, Mennonite Central Committee, Campus Crusade for Christ, Association for a Just Society, Sunshine Gospel Ministries in Chicago, and World Vision

See what our recent graduates are doing