Somalia? This was Dr. Rothermel's reaction when he got an email from Dane Moist asking for a recommendation to teach overseas. Despite Somalia's history as a tumultuous country, Dr. Rothermel readily agreed to write the letter. Dane was a bright student who always had a passion to help others and to see the world. By the end of July 2014, Dane had arrived in Africa to be a teacher at the Abaarso School of Science & Technology.
Dane worked six-days per week (Saturday-Thursday). He typically taught 3-5 classes per day, including social studies and English lessons. In addition, because this was an international boarding school, he contributed to the maintenance and morale of the overall school community. For example, he helped to improve facilities and managed students during non-instruction hours. Between 4-6 pm daily (when the electricity generator was turned off), he participated in fun activities with the students, including soccer and basketball, and he advised clubs. In his other role as Associate Dean of the Lower School (7th and 8th grades), he was responsible for meeting with students and parents on a regular basis to assess students' performances and needs – and even held disciplinary hearings when necessary.
Dane adjusted well to the predominantly Muslim country. He lived in a secure compound that housed all the faculty, staff, and students, and he was also able to travel throughout Africa when he got time off. Dane loved interacting with his students. He commented, "With every new perspective I encounter, it has helped me grow into a more appreciative, informed, and well-rounded individual."
Dane graduated from Mansfield as a dual major in Political Science and History, and he attributes his experience at Mansfield as preparing him to tackle this new and exciting adventure. He explained, "At Mansfield, my professors encouraged me to achieve great heights and instilled in me a strong desire to learn and seek out unique opportunities."
His one-year experience living and teaching overseas in Somalia has opened up a wide array of future possibilities for Dane. Who knows where his next adventure will be?
After graduating from Mansfield University in May 2013, Kristin was hired by The Amoore Group (TAG), a diversified consulting firm, following the completion of a successful internship during her time as a student. As the Government and Community Relations Specialist at TAG, Kristin specializes in political policy and research, professional proposal writing, strategic plan preparation, public relations, and event planning. Her degree in political science plays a large role in her current work, as much of the concepts and skills focused upon in the program are used daily in her research, political analyses, and other responsibilities.
Kristin credits Mansfield, and the political science program in particular, for everything that she has achieved, "While the university offers numerous leadership and educational opportunities that I loved participating in, I must also give a great amount of credit and sincere thanks to the political science professors at MU. Not only did they share their enthusiasm and remarkable knowledge of the field, but they also truly inspired their students and proved to be incredible teachers, advisors, mentors and, above all, people."
One of the advantages to a degree in political science is that students are not pigeonholed into one particular career path.
Some of our graduates, however, do pursue jobs in the realm of politics. For example, Steve Crawford (1981), who sits on Mansfield University’s Council of Trustees, was former Governor Ed Rendell’s chief of staff. He is currently the Managing Vice President of a prestigious government relations firm in Harrisburg, PA. Mr. Crawford gave the winter commencement address for the MU Class of 2014.
Patrick Lahr (2008) was hired by a lobbying firm after he had interned for them via the Washington Center while he was a student at Mansfield University. He has recently taken a promotion with a different lobbying firm and is enjoying a successful career inside the Beltway.
Government jobs and public service are also attractive options for our graduates. Ali Soufan worked successfully as an FBI agent and currently heads his own global security consulting firm. Dan Banke (2010) was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps upon graduation from Mansfield and is currently serving his country in Okinawa, Japan. Paul Houseknecht (2012) was hired as a police officer for the Quakertown Borough Police.
Several of our students choose advanced educational opportunities after graduation, such as law school or graduate school. Graduates have attended or are attending law school from a variety of schools, including Widener University, Ohio State University, Syracuse University, University of Albany, and Duquesne University. Bruce Vickery (1989) is a partner in a successful local law firm, Ginn & Vickery, PC. Mr. Vickery was also appointed to Mansfield University's Council of Trustees.
One of our former graduates is currently finishing up a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Others have completed or are working on advanced degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, University of Wisconsin, American University, Ohio University, George Mason University, and George Washington University.
Other graduates are more interested in careers outside of politics. For example. Mark Ewing (2009) is an administrator in residence life employed at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Jesseca Meyers (2008) is working in St. Louis for Americorps. A couple of our graduates have gone on to earn teaching certifications and are working in the field of education.
Amanda recently graduated from law school at the Widener University School of Law. While at Mansfield, Amanda was selected to participate in The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS) program. The experience was instrumental in her decision to pursue a law degree. As a THIS intern, she was placed at the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Prosecution division. Her internship gave her hands-on experience working with Commonwealth attorneys to develop case strategy to prosecute and discipline professional licensees in PA. Amanda credits Mansfield for her success, "The professors in the political science program at MU have such a great and genuine passion for what they do and this inspired me to not only do my best, but also go beyond my comfort zone and take on new opportunities." While in law school, Amanda studied abroad in Switzerland, returned to the PA Dept. of State as a law intern, worked as a law clerk, and interned at the Widener Civil Law Clinic. She is currently preparing for the bar exam, and she hopes to pursue a career in state government or work for a small law firm.
Dan earned a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduating from Mansfield in May 2010. He currently lives and works in Ginowan City, Okinawa, Japan, where he is assigned to a Marine Aircraft Group. As a First Lieutenant, Dan works as a logistics coordinator and multinational exercise planner for the Marine Corps. His primary area of expertise is logistics operations in the Kingdom of Thailand. Dan's job involves a great deal of travel throughout East Asia, and he has developed working relationships with several foreign counterparts. His degree in political science has proven handy, especially as he experiences different political and cultural systems. In his spare time, Dan is also pursuing a master's degree in intelligence management.
After graduating from Mansfield in 2009, Mark spent several months as the campaign manager for a candidate running for county legislature. Despite losing by a margin of 300 votes, it was a valuable learning experience for Mark and a chance to apply what he had learned in his political science classes. For two years Mark then worked in sales and marketing before being hired as an Assistant Residence Director at Syracuse University. While at Mansfield, he had been very involved in student life and campus organizations, including the Political Science Club. Today Mark continues to work as an administrator in residence life at Tompkins Cortland Community College, but he also works as an adjunct writing tutor, a collegiate assistant golf coach. and teaches a six-week course on racism at SU. Mark intends to pursue a doctorate upon completion of his master's degree in Higher Education Administration at SUNY, Stony Brook. Mark's political science education took him down a different path, but he could not be happier. On a daily basis he works directly with college students as they transition to university life. His political science degree set the foundation and provided him the skills he needed to pursue his passion.
Jesseca speaks highly of her Mansfield experience, "What I learned at Mansfield really catapulted my educational experience and future career interests and is the reason that I attended the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Like most faculty at Mansfield, my two advisers were always available to answer questions and offer personal advisement." Upon graduating MU, Jesseca enrolled in graduate school. For her master's degree in international development, she spent two months in Granada, Nicaragua, where she studied sustainable development projects. She is currently living and working in St. Louis, Missouri as a member of AmeriCorps, helping at-risk students attend college.