Bronwyn Lewis Friscia
2008 Major: Political Science, Spanish, certificate in Film/Video/Digital
Current Title/Employer: Political Scientist, Data Scientist & Education Consultant, Self-employed
How has being a Political Science graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?
Studying political science at Duke positioned me to pursue both my MSc in Comparative Politics at The London School of Economics and Political Science and, most recently, my combined PhD-MS in Political Science and Statistics at the University of California, Los Angeles (awarded in June 2018). The late and exceptionally great Professor Peter Euben, one of Duke's longtime political scientists and ethics scholars, was my greatest mentor as an undergraduate, and he recommended me for both of these programs once I decided to pursue graduate work as a political scientist. I am currently working as a consultant while turning my doctoral dissertation into a book geared to a popular audience on how we should be thinking about climate politics. I have lived and breathed political science since graduating!
What advice would you give students in Political Science?
I would give several pieces of advice to young political scientists. First, decide whether what you love is truly political science, the study of political activity and behavior, or public policy, the study of best practices for policy design and implementation. Second, take advantage of your time at Duke to learn hard skills in statistics, data science, or computer science to complement your study of political processes. In the modern world, we need leaders who are as numerate as they are literate. Third, don't miss the opportunity to take a good political theory class at Duke. Political theorists ask the kinds of questions that all college students should be asking themselves, and taking a great class like this can help you think about the sort of leader you would like to be one day. Fourth, get involved on campus. Learning to work within or lead a complex student organization will complement your education as a young political scientist. Fifth, think broadly when it comes to your career, and do your due diligence before committing to a long road or an expensive loan. I have invested in a great deal of graduate work, but it has empowered me to work for myself in areas that I find tremendously intellectually relevant and exciting. I know many people who are unhappy in their careers or saddled with student debt, and I know others who feel incredibly fulfilled by the paths they have chosen. Be creative, and find a way to be the most productive contributor to our society that you feel you can be.