Brendan Nyhan PhD 2009, Assistant Professor of Government --Dartmouth College
Q: What’s your favorite memory from your time at Duke?
I learned the most – and had the most fun – working on research in a team setting with the graduate students and faculty in the Political Institutions and Public Choice Program. Going to basketball games at Cameron for six years was also amazing.
Q: What made you choose Political Science?
The opportunity to work with my adviser John Aldrich, the leading scholar of American political parties and one of the most decent and generous people I’ve ever met. I was also fortunate enough to be offered a James B. Duke Fellowship, which was a strong signal of the department and university’s interest in me.
Q: Who influenced you the most? What faculty member influenced you the most?
I was fortunate enough to be mentored by Aldrich as well as David Rohde, Mike Munger, Jay Hamilton (now at Stanford), and Georg Vanberg (who was then at UNC but has since joined Duke’s faculty). It was a tremendous group.
Q: What aspects of your education at Duke have you found most important after graduating?
The training I received in research design and quantitative methods was invaluable, particularly the department graduate student colloquium, which promoted scholarly exchange and learning among peers.
Q: How do you think your experiences at Duke got you involved in what you are currently doing?
I developed my research interests in scandal and misinformation at Duke. The two co-authors I’ve worked with most extensively – Jason Reifler (University of Exeter) and Jacob Montgomery (Washington University in St. Louis) – are also fellow Duke Ph.D. graduates who I met in the program. Most importantly, I wouldn’t be on the faculty at Dartmouth without the training and support I received at Duke.
Q: What advice do you have for current Duke students pursuing a political science degree?
Learn quantitative methods! Whether you’re in business, the law, politics, sports, or academia, data analysis skills are likely to be a valuable asset in your career.
Q: What outside interests do you have?
In my spare time, I’m also a media critic for Columbia Journalism Review, but my kids (ages 1, 4, and 7) keep me busy (and happy!).