Political Science

Varner Hall, Room 418
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2352

Hear From Our Alumni

Degrees from the Political Science Department prepare students for countless opportunities after graduation. Indeed, a degree in political science, international relations or public administration opens more doors that it closes.

We have had our graduates leave OU and go to all corners of the US and beyond.
Check out what they're saying

Ajay Gill (PS 2020) In my very first semester (Fall 2016) I came in as a History major. But then I took PS 1100 Introduction to American Politics, and my educational path changed overnight when I declared a Political Science major and History minor. A lot of my friends majored in STEM fields, so they asked me why I picked Political Science. I explained that a PS degree doesn’t just help you work in government, but it teaches you how to read and how to formulate arguments well. I graduated in December 2020 into a pandemic world and a crippling job market, but thanks to the support of my PS mentors and political science honors society community, I was admitted to a pre-masters program for the NYU Tandon School of Engineering where I will develop skills in the cyber field which will allow me to pursue an MS in cybersecurity.

Christina Walker (IR 2020) My time in the Political Science Department at OU was indispensable for my career trajectory. As a freshman, I started working with professors on research which quickly blossomed into multiple collaborations, independent research projects, grants, conference travel, and eventually, publications. The amount of experience I gained and the support from professors was invaluable. With these experiences and support from the department, starting a Ph.D program right out of my undergraduate would not have been possible.

Maria Boersma (PA 2019) I owe so much of my postgraduate success to my time at OU. The first student organization I joined on campus was Model United Nations. Through this, I earned invaluable skills such as research, public speaking, and policy crafting that I use every day. Thanks to my professor, Joe Rozell, I was able to intern at the Oakland County Elections Division for nearly two years where I furthered my knowledge of the Michigan elections process and gained practical working experience. That experience ended up being the primary reason I was hired for my current position. While I was finishing up my last semester at OU, I was hired to be the Deputy Clerk/Treasurer for the City of North Muskegon. One year later, in December of 2020, I was appointed to be their City Clerk. I never imagined I would be this far in my career at such a young age. The Political Science Department at Oakland University made it possible.

Caroline Wolber (IR & PA 2018) The IR program’s focus on writing and critical thinking perfectly prepared me for a career in non-profit communications. The small class size allowed me to really connect with my professors, and I worked closely with Dr. Laura Landolt to conduct and secure grant funding for an international research project. I was even connected to my current position (which is my dream job!) through my OU network.

John Boutin (IR 2017) I was a double major at OU, IR and an independent major in Religious Studies. After studying US foreign policy at OU, I realized I was not called to be a US Army chaplain after all. I am grateful for all of the excellent courses I took in the Political Science Department which, combined with my Religious Studies courses, helped set me on my new path towards becoming a professor of political theology.

Jenna Blankenship (IR 2016) - "In my very first semester as a student at OU I did research with Professors Klemanski and Dulio on their campaign book. The amount of experience I received early on in my undergraduate career was invaluable. After that, the department funded a number of trips for me to present my research at both the MPSA and ASMEA conferences. These experiences afforded me the opportunity to gather feedback from experts in the field and better my research. 
Additionally, with the help of the department, the Model United Nations Club was not only able to continue to compete in numerous conferences, but we also have been successful in hosting our own conference. In my time with the organization we grew from a modest group of 8 to more than 25 students. None of which would have been possible without your help. 
It is because of the dedication of the department that I am now living and working in Washington, DC."

Ellen Hainey (IR 2014) -
"I recently had several job interviews with a company called CFI Group in Ann Arbor. I was extended an offer, and I firmly believe that the MPSA (Midwest Political Science Association conference) experience at the top of my resume is what made me successful - all of the interviewers asked me about the conference and about the research that I presented. I accepted the position, and will be working with data. Additionally, there is opportunity to advance within the company, and potentially hone in on my SPSS skills. I don't think I would have been given the same opportunity had I not conducted research and been able to list the MPSA conference on my resume."

Josh Colby (PS 2010)
– “Another way my degree has come in handy is actually through the Public Opinion course. Studying the demographics is extremely important within the music industry. You need to know which target audience best fits the genre of music you are promoting to receive the best results for CD sales, iTunes sales, and ticket sales for concerts. Understanding those demographics are so important to make a successful artist. Just like when promoting for a candidate, you have to hit the right target audiences, age groups, and geographical areas to have a successful outcome. It really shows how a Political Science degree is a great, all-around degree to have. You can do almost anything with one and it will relate somehow to the field of work you enter.”

Graham Stevens (IR 2009) – “I work as an International Trade Manager for Wabtec Corporation here in Pittsburgh. I manage the international trade operations and customs clearance for all import and export shipments for three of our divisions. Everything ranging from duty to licensing to NAFTA qualification to supply chain management.”

Alma Ajazi (PS 2008) After graduating in 2008 I attended the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy in Paris, where I still live and work. There I specialized in international organizations and diplomacy. Graduating from Oakland was a huge asset. Oakland University prepared me and gave me the necessary skills for future employment and acted as a bridge to deeply understand the complexity of international relations and the essence of politics, the role of states, and government. My Oakland education paved the way for a bright future. I’ve had the honor and privilege to work for the British Embassy in Paris and the French Interior Ministry.

Andrew Waterhouse (IR 2008) – “My new boss told me that one of the things that made me interesting was the IR degree. He said this week, ‘your degree tells me that you can think.’ This again demonstrates how valuable an undergrad IR degree can be. So with the degree and being creative in how I sold myself, I have landed an amazing opportunity.”

Where are they now?
Below is a selected list of alumni who have graduated in the last six years or so and how they are using their degree (organized by general area of employment). If you would like more information on what you can do with a political science degree, please contact Professor Trumbore.

  • Director, Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity, City of Detroit, MI - Charity Dean
  • Global Security & Innovative Strategies (GSIS), Washington, DC - Jenna Blankenship
  • Legislative Assistant, State Rep. Marilyn Lane, Lansing, MI - John Fleming
  • Administrative Assistant to the Director of Human Resources, Royal Oak, MI - Nicole Jones
  • Staff Aide, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Committee on Armed Services, US Senate - Katie Kulenkampff
  • US Department of State - Adela Levis
  • Youth and Family Caseworker for Oakland County Circuit Court - Family Division, Oakland County, MI - Victoria Martinuzzi
  • Department of State Aide, State of Michigan, Lansing, MI - Cassandra Schenburn
  • Director of Community and Economic Development, City of Ferndale, MI - Jordan Twardy
  • Legislative Director, State Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, Lansing, MI - Eric Ventimiglia
  • Deputy Director of Scheduling, Office of Governor Rick Snyder - Tori Rexford
  • Foreign Service Officer, US Department of State, Cairo, Egypt - Matt Wills
  • Border Patrol Agent, US Department of Homeland Security, Del Rio, Texas - Sean O'Malley
  • Executive Director, Downtown Development Authority, Escanaba, MI - Scott Ryan Czasak
  • Social Insurance Specialist, Social Security Administration - Nicole Dallo
  • Executive Assistant, Clerk's Office, Charter Township of Oakland - Jamie Moore
  • Management Analyst for the Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office - Ashley Coneff
Non-Profit Organizations
  • Spiritual Care and Clinical Ethics, Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, MI - Kevin Hickey
  • Community Engagement Coordinator, Care House, Macomb County Child Advocacy Center- Bria Bentley
  • Online Community Manager, KaBOOM!, Washington, D.C. - Jason Cooper
  • Youth Coaching Director/Public Relations Writer, Force Fooball Club, Bloomfield Hills, MI - Chris Edwards
  • Project Coordinator, National Diversity Council, Houston TX - Bradley Horton
  • Development Specialist, Detroit Historical Society, Detroit, MI - Amanda Saoud
  • AmeriCorps - Gina Valente
Politics / Lobbying / Public Policy
  • Community Engagement Manager, Take Charge Chicago - Bill Wagner
  • Senior Vice President, Defense Sector, Allied Associates International, Warrenton, VA - Brien Jason
  • Director, Alvarez and Marsal, Public Sector Services, Washington, D.C. - Michael Potter
  • West Michigan Public Policy Director, Michigan Association of Realtors, Grand Rapids, MI - Doug Merriam
  • Senior Analyst, BRTRC, Fairfax, VA - Michael Mersol-Barg
  • Organizational Improvement Consultant, Grant Thornton Global Public Sector, Alexandria, VA - Michael Potter
  • Senior Project Manager, Political Media Inc., Washington, DC - Daniel Stepanian-Bennett
  • Finance Coordinator, Rick for Michigan Campaign - Alyssa Lemke
  • Field Director, Pete Hoekstra for United States Senate - Josh Cline
  • Field Coordinator, Americans for Prosperity - Samantha Bell
  • Communications and Social Media Consultant, DMC Strategies - Philip Garofalo 
  • Licensing Coordinator, General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, MI - Dennis Capa
  • Product Developer, e-commerce, WoodlandDirect, Rochester, MI - Stefanie Bohde
  • Direct Banking Specialist, Comerica Bank, Auburn Hills MI - Amy DuQuesnay
  • Project Banker, Quicken Loans - BJ Humphrey
  • Marketing Manager, Mercent, Seattle WA - Bretton Jones
  • Jackson Nation Life, New Annuity Business Unit, Lansing MI - Laura Laugavitz
  • Account Specialist, Kelly Services, Troy, MI - Elizabeth Martinez
  • Account Executive, Weber Shandwick, New York - Justin Mularski
  • Program Buyer, Faurecia Interior Systems, Auburn Hills MI - Aaron Perez
  • JPMorgan Chase, Troy MI - Addison Pierce
  • Content Manager/Editor, Organizeit.com, Shelby Twp MI - Liz Reichard
  • Lead Data Visualization Analyst, Swedish Medical Group, Seattle, WA - Matthew Runde
  • Sales Engineer, Midwest Illumination, Clarkston, MI - Eric Schwarzberg
  • International Trade Manager, Wabtech Corp., Pittsburgh PA - Graham Stevens
  • Brand Manager, FIAT USA - Andrew Waterhouse
Academic / Graduate School
  • Associate Professor, Political Science, Texas A&M University - Scott Cook
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science, MSU - Joshua Koss
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science, Purdue University - Christina Walker
  • Master of Theological Studies Candidate, Boston College - John Boutin
  • MA Candidate Teaching in Secondary Education, Oakland University - Sam Keefer
  • The American Graduate School, Paris - Alma Ajazi
  • MS student, Information Assurance program at the University of Detroit Mercy Center for Cyber Security - Justin Clarke
  • MA student, Communication, Eastern Michigan University - Benjamin Elmgren
  • Political Science Instructor, St. Clair County Community College and PhD candidate, Political Science, Wayne State University - Ethan Flick
  • MPA candidate, Wayne State University - Mary Eileen Kennedy
  • MA candidate, Counseling Psychology, Wayne State University - Traci Lee
  • MS student, Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis, Michigan State University - Scott Nalu
  • MA student, Geography/Geographic Information Systems, Western
  • Michigan University - Ariana Toth
  • MA, University of Manchester, United Kingdom - Adam Woodhead
  • MA student, International Development Administration, Western Michigan University - Rhiannon Zielinski
  • Teacher, US government, Walter Johnson High School, Bethesda, MD - Rainer Kulenkampff
  • Teacher, English, union representative - Duane Hurt
Information Technology
  • Simulation Systems Administrator, Wayne State University School of Nursing - Derek Brown
  • Founder and CEO of "HeyitsMe" mobile applications and computer software company - Lawrence Mansour
International Development
  • Public Policy Intern, USAID, Tblisi, Georgia, Staff Editor, Georgia Today - William King
Legal Careers
  • Partner, Clifford Chance, New York City - Madalyn Miller
  • Founder/President, Multilingual Immigration Services, LLC, Royal Oak, MI - Mashi Duli
  • Trademark Paralegal, McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Chicago, IL - Hope Karmo
  • Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, MI - Joshua Miller
  • Associate Attorney, Sommers Schwartz, P.C. - Tad Roumayah
  • Assistant Solicitor, 16th Circuit Solicitor's Office, York County, SC - Doug Sexton
  • Winston & Strawn LLP Chicago - Brett Geschke 
Law School
  • College of William and Mary Law School
  • Georgetown University School of Law
  • Harvard University School of Law
  • Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Michigan State University College of Law
  • Notre Dame Law School
  • University of California Davis School of Law
  • University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
  • University of Maryland School of Law
  • University of Michigan School of Law
  • 82nd Airborne Division, US Army, Fort Bragg NC - Bafti Baftiu
  • 2nd Lt., US Air Force, Vance Air Force Base, Enid, OK - Alex Eagle