Department Home | ORC Entry
Current Students: Liz Doolittle, Brian C. Chao, Tricia Jo, Robert Higdon,
Liz Doolittle ’09
Government major and sociology minor
F08-S09 D-plan: R-R-R
Favorite and least favorite thing about department: My favorite thing about the government department is that there are a ton of classes offered that every term and very knowledgeable professors teaching all of them, even when the topics seem very obscure. My least favorite part of the government department is that because the department is so big sometimes it can seem a little overwhelming and a little impersonal.
Important info for potential majors: Try a little bit of everything in the government department. There are so many different directions one can go in the government department because of its size. Even if you think you are sure of the type of classes you are interested in, you never really know until you try out some different kinds of classes.
Talk to me if: you are a student athlete and have questions about scheduling around practice times and working with your coach to make schedules that fit both of your needs. Also talk to me if you are a student with a learning disability and have questions about how to set up accommodations.
Most valuable academic information learned: Everybody is different! Just because a certain class is easy for a friend does not mean that it will be for you and that is okay. Take risks, do not be afraid to take classes that look hard or take classes about things you know nothing about.
Favorite class and professor: Government 40, Chinese political reform, is my favorite class so far. I had no background knowledge about China coming into the class and now I feel like I understand better how China fits into the rest of the world. My favorite professor is Professor Boone. She was my writing 2-3 professor and really pushed the class to communicate with her and with each other.
Major classes taken: GOVT 03, GOVT05, GOVT10, GOVT14, GOVT40 (07S), GOVT40 (08W), GOVT50.1, GOVT50.2
Major journey: I came into Dartmouth thinking I was going to be a psychology major and quickly realized it was not for me. I have always been interested in globalization so decided to try out introduction to International Relations with Professor Brooks. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 am I was excited to get out of bed and go to class. I realized that if I could really get excited about a huge introductory class in the morning than I should keep taking that subject!
Other activities: Dartmouth Women's Crew; Delta Delta Delta sorority
Off Campus Program: Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica, W07 ; exchange program in Galway, Ireland at the National University, F08.
Brian C. Chao ’09
Government major; History minor
F08-S09 D-plan: R-R-R
Favorite and least favorite thing about department: My favorite thing is the accessibility of the professors. They are very open to meeting students, as they should be at an undergraduate-focused institution like Dartmouth. Many of them are friendly and genuinely helpful in their advice. My second-favorite thing is the FSP. It is an absolutely awesome experience and every student (in international relations, at least) should try to go on the program. My least favorite thing is the major advisor selection process, which advises students to choose advisors based on field of study and not on familiarity and compatibility. I also don’t like the scheduling of classes. Too many classes are offered at the same time period; too many are offered only once a year.
Important info for potential majors: If you know your major or have it narrowed down to two, write out and organize your academic schedule, especially if you’re interested in one of the off-campus programs or an honors thesis. Check to see which professors are teaching which courses, as each professor offers a different style of teaching and approach to topics. Go to the Government Dept. main office and read the syllabi before you pick courses.
Talk to me if: you’re interested in war, strategic studies, and security studies; East Asia, especially China and Taiwan; planning your major; the London FSP; and international relations internships.
Most valuable academic information learned: The sure way to get ahead in a course is to attend office hours. Taking advantage of faculty’s office hours affords the opportunity for you to flesh out things you may not have understood, as well as to give the professor an idea of where you’re coming from and what your interests are. These faculty are of great help down the road, be it for formal letters of recommendation for graduate school or just informal advice.
Favorite class and professor: My favorite class would be GOVT 091-90: Structure of International Society, taken on the Government FSP. The class was a lively and engaging discussion on the tenets of international relations. I greatly enjoyed talking to and debating with my friends and classmates. My favorite professor is Brent A. Strathman, who provides interesting and well-organized lectures. His enthusiasm for the subject material only serves to further increase students’ own levels of interest.
Major classes taken: GOVT 004, 005, 010, 050-01, 050-04, 054, 090, 091, 092
Major journey: I’ve known since high school that I wanted to study either international relations or history. I started out as a Government major, but after taking a really great History course sophomore fall, I changed to become a History major. After a couple terms, however, I felt that History’s requirements were very constricting, so I decided to return to Government, where I have complete freedom in choosing my courses and fields of study.
Major specific activities: Government FSP
Thesis status: I intend to write a thesis in the international relations subfield on the application of power transition theory to the rise of China, advised by Prof. Michael F. Mastanduno, with Prof. Daryl G. Press serving as second reader. My thesis is in the proposal stage.
Other activities: World Affairs Council; Committee on Standards; Dartmouth Badminton Club; East Wheelock Living and Learning Program; Take Dartmouth Home; United Service Organizations; International Institute for Strategic Studies; World Affairs Council of Northern California
Off Campus Program: French LSA+ in Toulouse, 07W; Government FSP in London, 07F
Internship experience: World Affairs Council of Northern California; Schools Program Intern and Interim Program Associate; 06X; San Francisco, Calif. National Archives and Records Administration; Presidential Materials Staff Intern; 07S; Washington, D.C. United States Government; 08X; Arlington Co., Va.
Tricia Jo ’09
Government Major, Religion Minor, Pre-law
F08-S09 D-plan: R-R-R
Favorite and least favorite thing about department: My favorite part about the Government Department is the great variety of courses to take each term. Professors are creative with designing courses that discuss current events and hot topics, and allow students to explore unique topics that range from nuclear weapons, to gender and law. My least favorite part is that certain classes are pretty crowded, which makes it difficult to have one-on-one discussions with the professor and other students.
Talk to me if: you are interested in working/interning in the local or federal government.
Most valuable academic information learned: Every Government class you take will teach you something about the world you live in. Don’t limit yourself to courses in just one focus area. You’ll find that a political theory class will help you understand international politics, and that statistics help explain domestic policymaking. Taking a variety of government courses really helps expand your knowledge and understanding of many topics.
Favorite class and professor: My favorite classes would have to be from the DC FSP with Professor Bafumi. It was really exciting to be able to observe and take part of the legislative process as a Capitol Hill intern, while taking seminars on exactly what we did at work each day. Our seminar on policymaking was great because everyone could bring their own knowledge from their internships to the discussion and explore current legislation and events in our government.
Major classes taken: Gov 4, 5, 6, 20, 50, 68, 93, 94, 95
Major journey: After deciding that I didn’t want to go pre-med, I signed up for some introductory Government courses and ended up loving them. I’ve always liked history and current events, and the courses offered were always interesting and creative with enthusiastic professors. I particularly wanted to focus my studies on international relations and events in Asia, and was excited to see that the department offered courses in this area every term.
Thesis status: Undecided
Other activities: Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, START volunteer, Sigma Delta Sorority- Panhell Rep., Paddock Music Library -Student Assistant
Off Campus Program: Religion FSP in Edinburgh, 07S; Government FSP in Washington DC, 08S
Internship experience: Emory University, Cardiology research lab assistant, 05X, Atlanta GA; Cobb County Superior Court, ADR Coordinator Intern, 07W, Atlanta GA; Cobb County Superior Court, Drug Court Administrative Assistant, 08W, Atlanta GA; Congressman Phil Gingrey, Intern, 08S, Washington DC
Robert Higdon ’09
Government and Economics major
F08-S09 D-plan: O(FSP)-R-L
Favorite and least favorite thing about department: My favorite thing about the Government department, aside from the fact that I’ve found everyone one of the Gov professors I’ve had to be among the most impressive professors I’ve seen at Dartmouth, is that it affords you wide flexibility in your choices of upper level courses for your major. There aren’t specifically outlined tracks, so in most cases taking one interesting course doesn’t require you to take one that sounds less appealing. Unfortunately, this structure can also make the ORC a little less easy to understand, as your major courses still have to comprise a vaguely defined "intellectually coherent program."
Important info for potential majors: My government advisor explained to me that an “intellectually coherent program” for the “six additional Government courses” could include those drawn from several different upper level concentrations (e.g. “American Government”, “International Relations”, etc.), just as long as they are chosen with some sort of structure instead of haphazard selection. Always consult your advisor, but basically use this as an opportunity to study specifically what interests you, as long as it works towards a clear goal.
Talk to me if: you’re interested in researching with profs, need advice on developing a coherent major plan, or if you need advice on planning a double major or terms abroad.
Most valuable academic information learned: Whatever subject you’re studying, invest the time to really understand the conceptual basis of the material, not just the procedures for immediate problems: the “why” behind the information is what shows up consistently on tests, and knowing it often saves time since studying is more interesting. Whether it’s talking with profs about material glossed over in class, or just sitting down and thinking for a while, it really helps.
Favorite class and professor: Government 66, “Machiavelli and Machiavellianism” has become by far my favorite Government course thus far. Serious participation is required, so you’re constantly engaged to be thinking and making real contributions. Once you commit to the work though, the class is far and away worth it. Professor Michelle Clarke’s lectures, which take up the first 25 minutes of a two-hour class, appear intricately crafted, where each word is meaningful, important, and eloquently spoken.
Major classes taken:GOVT 6, 66, 67
Major journey: I began Dartmouth enjoying the little I knew about business, economics, political theory, and physics. At the time, I was more interested in the first two, so I took economics courses right away, and found that it embraces similar intuitions as physics does. Later in my freshmen year, I thought more about my interest in political theory, and I decided in that spring to take government courses as well. I’m now majoring in both.
Major specific activities: Presidential Scholar Research Assistant for Government Prof 08X, 09W (hopefully, if my application is selected); John Edwards for President, Chair of Upper Valley Interns, Lebanon NH, 07F
Thesis status: Undecided
Other activities: Mock Trial Society-Team Co-Captain & Web Editor; College Libertarians-Secretary; Early College Awareness-Chair of College Visits & SAT Tutor; Dartmouth Society of Investment & Economics; Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Off Campus Program: French LSA+ in Toulouse, 08W; French FSP in Paris, 08F
Internship experience: Morgan Stanley, Global Wealth Advisor Assistant Intern, 07X, Jenkintown, PA; John Edwards Presidential Campaign, Chair of Upper Valley Interns, 07F, Lebanon, NH;
Jennifer Gaudette ’09
Government Major / Econ or Public Policy Minor; Pre-law possibly
F08-S09 D-plan: R-O-R
Favorite and least favorite thing about department: My favorite thing about the Government department is the professors. They are so engaging, they care about their material and the students they teach, and they are so accessible. The Government department has some major “names” in the field of Political Science, but you would never know it by the way they open their doors and make themselves available to all students. Inside the classroom, professors work hard to make the material as engaging and interesting as possible. To be able to turn classes that often focus on what may be considered dry theories into insightful and entertaining lectures is a feat I have seen happen in all my Government classes thus far.
Important info for potential majors:You can talk to any professor and it really doesn’t matter who your major advisor is – just pick a professor you like to talk to who seems accessible and you can always chat with other professors about specific problems/questions/ideas you might have.
Talk to me if: you’re interested in international relations, struggling with reading loads, or confused about the different IR theories.
Most valuable academic information learned: Get to know as many professors in the department as possible. They love to meet students and it’ll help you crystallize your interests, you’ll have lots of people to ask about course suggestions, and it gives you a leg up if you want to be a Presidential Scholar or Research Assistant.
Favorite class and professor: Govt 5 – International Politics with Professor Stephen Brooks because Brooks makes everything simple and interesting. He’s also really funny, so a two hour class seemed like it was 15 minutes long.
Major classes taken: GOVT 4, GOVT 5, GOVT 54, GOVT 59, GOVT 85.23
Major journey: I chose my major after realizing that I wanted to find a subject that created concrete policy suggestions and results. I love politics and current events, but I also like to know the back story, so Government’s mix of theory, history, and policy is the perfect combination for me.
Major specific activities: Research with Professor Brooks through Presidential Scholar program, tutor for Govt 5
Thesis status: Intended, on topic of economics and international relations or terrorism and international relations, professor undecided.
Other activities: Alpha Phi – Sister, Finance Director 08X; Presidential Scholar; RWiT Tutor; Neukom Institute Administrative Intern; Parliamentary Debate; War and Peace Fellow; World Affairs Council – Moderator; Individual Voice Lessons
Off Campus Program: Keble College Exchange Program at Oxford University, 09W
Internship experience: World Justice Project (American Bar Association), World Justice Forum Intern, 08S, Washington, D.C.