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Rachel Gray

Gabrielle Charles

Jacques Goavec

My Nhan


Rachel Gray

Senior, Majors in International Relations and Politics, Minor in Spanish Photo of senior student Rachel Gray receiving an award

I came to Drake with a completely different career path in mind and had never explored the possibility of pursuing a degree in International Relations. After taking a Comparative Politics class at Drake, I was invited by my professor to join the Model Arab League team and attend the upcoming conference in Cairo, Egypt. I had never had much interest in Middle East politics but I decided to take advantage of the interesting and unique opportunity. When I visited Cairo, I absolutely fell in love with the city and the culture. I was so inspired by my experience in Model Arab League that I changed my major to International Relations once I got home from the trip. My experience in Egypt, as well as travel to Uganda for the Sustainable Development in Africa class, made me realize I wanted to pursue a major that aligned with my passion for learning about other countries and my desire to make a difference.

The summer after my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to intern at the Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Chicago. During this internship, I assisted the Deputy consul with day-to-day consular services and aided her with research about Egyptian civil society and helped with event planning and promotion. Not only did I gain valuable knowledge about Egypt, but also I had the opportunity to interact with community members and engage them in dialogue about the Arab world. Additionally, this past summer, I was accepted to be a part of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ summer internship program. As a part of this program, I worked daily at the Georgetown Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in Washington, DC, while attending bi-weekly lectures and site visits sponsored by the National Council.

Looking back, it is crazy to think that there was a time I did not know anything about the Middle East and now my entire academic and professional life revolves around studying it. Drake offers so many amazing opportunities for International Relations and Politics students to get involved outside of the classroom and the interdisciplinary experience has made me a better learner and critical thinker overall. As I am in the process of taking my final courses, I cannot imagine what my life would be like had I pursued a different degree. I will forever be grateful to Drake University and the amazing faculty of the Political Science department for helping me realize my passions and giving me the tools to succeed after graduation.

 

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. 

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