Meet Our Students

Gabrielle Charles

Jacques Goavec

My Nhan

Clay Pasqual


Gabrielle Charles

Senior, Major in Politics, Minor in Sociology

My name is Gabrielle Charles from Wausau, Wisconsin. I am a senior politics major at Drake University on the Drake Women’s soccer team. I found an interest in political science not necessarily from my desire to work in politics but to understand the way policies influence society both nationally and internationally. There are so many avenues that political science can lead you and Drake offers so many classes that students can take an interest in. I personally have taken multiple courses that have intrigued me with the course material, like Concepts or Women, Peace, and Security. The course on Women, Peace, and Security discussed the United Nations and the impact it has on nations worldwide. All the courses offered don’t require you to have a thorough knowledge of the topic beforehand because throughout the semester the professors help you to develop and understand the course material. At Drake the professors are invested in the success of each student and their goals, and work to help you achieve them.

At Drake, the professors in the Political Science Department challenge you in so many ways to become a better student. I’ve taken many classes that I had minimal understanding of at the start of the semester, but by the end I’ve learned how to analyze readings, think critically, and develop a better understanding of the topic. I’m beginning my fourth year of college and have never thought about changing my major because it provides me with everything I was looking for in college and has challenged me to become a better student. Additionally, Drake offers so many opportunities to get involved with in politics, not just on campus but also off campus with different events. For example, this past year with the election going on many candidates came to Drake and gave the students an opportunity to get involved. The professors take a special interest in each student and your development and future in whatever career you so choose. They are dedicated to helping you get where you want to be after your four years at Drake are over. After my time at Drake I plan to attend Law School in the Midwest and I believe that Drake has prepared me to take that next step in my future.

Jacques Goavec

Senior, Major in Politics and Minor in Business Studies

I am a Crew Scholar and am the current president of the Coalition of Black Students. I decided to major in Politics for a few reasons. I have always had a passion for politics, but not so much being involved with it. I’ve always had a passion with learning about politics and how we use politics in our everyday lives, not just in the context of actual politics. Because of my desire to learn about politics, I have come to love my major very much. I came to Drake knowing I would not change my major, and here I am three years later, taking my last required course for the major.

The Politics major and the Department of Political Science have challenged and benefited me in a number of ways. I have been trained to examine and analyze things with a completely different lens, which has helped me with my other classes that I have taken here at Drake. I also love that I get to have classes with like-minded students and professors who truly challenge our thinking process and push us to continue to push harder and have an eager mind. Some of the most memorable experiences that I have had being a Politics major would be the meaningful relationships that I have created with my professors. All of the professors in the department that I have taken have helped me in a number of ways, whether it be to better understand some of the materials or even supporting me and pushing me to keep going as difficult as school can be. My plans after graduation are to move to Texas and get my Masters in Business Administration and my Juris Doctor. 

My Nhan

Sophomore, Major in International Relations

Xin chào, 你好, こんにちは、Hello!  My name is My Nhan. I was born in Hong Kong and spent the first 9 months of my life in a refugee camp until my parents immigrated to the U.S., where I’ve spent most of my life living right here in the Des Moines area.

What I love about the international relations major is that in the midst of trying to understand the world I found myself. My experiences from childhood and youth inspired in me the lofty goal of wanting to make profound changes in the world, such as the alleviation of poverty. As I started my educational career at Drake I slowly realized the weight of my ambitions as knowledge spread to doubt about how we could hope to solve the world’s problems.

However, as the interdisciplinary nature of the major led me to take courses in a variety of fields from political science to economics to history, I began to view each subject through an international lens. I started to think about the connections and implications that those subjects had in the international realm, and I realized how international relations brought together all my various streams of thoughts in one comprehensive whole. Then it dawned on me that the questions themselves were my passion for international relations. International relations and the issues that revolve around it are matters that I truly care about. And through knowledge comes not only questions but answers, or at least the kernels of the possibility of answers. When I came to that conclusion, it made me feel I was right where I wanted to be. And though the issues in international relations are complex, by being aware of those issues I feel empowered as an individual and member of the international community to engage and interact in discussions that have global impacts. 

Clay Pasqual

Junior, Major in Politics and Strategic Political Communication

Having caught the political bug in high school, I knew when I started my college search that I wanted to go to a school with both a great politics program and opportunities to get real world experience in the American political process. Drake turned out to be a perfect fit for my political aspirations! I have had excellent, engaging, and thought-provoking professors for all of my political courses, been active with Drake Democrats, the League of Conservation Voters, and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and had memorable political experiences on campus, such as shaking Vice President Joe Biden’s hand.

My coursework in the Department of Political Science has given me a thorough sense of the ins and outs of politics. I’ve learned how laws and policies are not just fodder for the heated debates that permeate our society today but more importantly instruments of change that make a real difference in how people live their lives and the direction a society takes. Differences and similarities in political cultures and forms of government among countries is not just fascinating to study, but useful information to know in seeking to become global citizens that can build bridges with members of other nations as well as our fellow Americans.

Drake’s location in Des Moines has been crucial in allowing me to get real world political experience in addition to my coursework. My experiences knocking on doors in neighborhoods throughout Des Moines and making phone calls for political candidates and campaigns that I believe in has helped me create a much more meaningful personal life than I ever could have dreamed, making friends that will last a lifetime and forming professional relationships that will help me long after I’ve left Drake. I’m excited to see what new political adventures my last two years at Drake bring!

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