The following testimonials represent the diverse learning experiences, academic achievements, and post-graduation successes of the alumni of the Department of History and Political Science.
If you're an alumnus/a of our department, we'd like to hear from you! Contact our faculty or department chair to share your academic, professional, or personal success story.
Political Science Major/International Law Minor | Class of 2016
Vanessa DuBoulay graduated in 2016 with a B.A in Political Science and a minor in International Law. She is currently teaching 5th grade at Jesse J. McCrary Jr. Elementary in Miami-Dade as per her commitment to Teach For America and AmeriCorps. As part of Vanessa’s two-year pledge, she serves at a Title 1 School categorized among the “persistently lowest-achieving” schools of the County. Her exposure to the public school system and immersion with educational policy has inspired Vanessa to continue her studies in the realms of development and human rights.
Vanessa participated in many extracurricular activities and held leadership positions within several organizations, namely, NSU’s Model United Nations team (NIRA), Undergraduate Student Government Association, President’s 64. She claims that these experiences allowed her to develop skills she uses every day. Additionally, through her participation in The Washington Center’s internship program Vanessa was able to gain experience in the fields of Human Rights and International Development. This hands on opportunity provided through NSU helped Vanessa decide what focus area to pursue following graduation. Vanessa also interned for the DNC Chair during the 2016 presidential elections. She continues to build on skills provided by NSU through volunteering with the Southern Regional Model United Nations.
“I owe my success to my professors at NSU, their guidance and rigorous classes allowed me to obtain the quality education I needed. The International Relations, Global Politics, and Comparative Legal Systems classes allowed me to explore in depth the areas I was passionate about and shaped the lens through which I see my professional career today. NSU gave me the tools and opportunities I needed to be successful.”
Legal Studies Major | Class of 2016
Veronika Balbuzanova graduated in 2016 with a B.S. in Legal Studies and a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is currently pursuing a J.D. at NSU’s Shepard Broad College of Law and expects to graduate in 2019. For the Winter 2017 semester, Balbuzanova ranked first in her class out of 191 students. “At the end of the day, I was just really glad that all of my hard work during the year had paid off,” she said. “Despite the added pressure to maintain my rank in the coming year, it is really great motivation to maintain my work ethic and be even more diligent next semester.” A South Florida native, Balbuzanova became interested in studying the law after a high school philosophy course.
Balbuzanova said some of her favorite courses from her undergraduate years included Constitutional History I-II and Legal Research and Trial Advocacy. She said starting law school can seem intimidating at first after hearing about the amount of reading and work involved. “As time goes on, you focus on why you’re here and the big picture, and then you can get through anything. She also has some advice for Legal Studies students, including keeping all cases and assignments to use as future reference material. “Pay attention and try to enjoy the topic. If you enjoy it, you’ll remember things and it’ll be easier in law school to remind yourself of the material.” Balbuzanova said she is still considering what sector of law she wants to work in after graduation.
Political Science/Legal Studies Major | Class of 2014
Following her graduation, Desiree Kennedy moved to Washington, D.C. to take advantage of the opportunities provided to her by NSU. Through her participation in The Washington Center internship program and experiences of classes and extracurricular activities at NSU, Kennedy was able to secure a job in D.C. As an active member of NSU's Model United Nations Team and NSU's Mock Trial Team, she was able to utilize the information she learned in the classroom and develop it into real life skills she uses every day. Now a recent graduate of The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, Kennedy is currently working in Health Policy and Government Affairs for Elekta, a Swedish medical device company that manufactures radiotherapy devices. She has continued to develop the skills and relationships provided to her by NSU through volunteering with the Southern Regional Model United Nations.
Political Science Major | Class of 2015
Kelsey Obringer is currently a doctoral student at the University of Delaware in the Political Science and International Relations Department. Her research focuses primarily on food politics and alternative food movements. Additionally, she is the Senior Program Assistant for the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at the University of Delaware. She reports that her decision to attend NSU was the best education decision she could have made. Obringer was a four-year member of the NSU women's rowing team and a member of the 2013 NCAA Women's National Championship team. Additionally, she participated in NSU's Model United Nations Team (NIRA), Undergraduate Student Government, and President's 64.
"Had I not gone to NSU, I would not have waltzed in to Dr. Nelson Bass' American Government class and realized my passion for politics. NSU also gave me the opportunity to participate in a number of unique extracurricular activities that taught me valuable lessons that I carry with me to this day. The options available to me at NSU gave me a unique experience wherein I was able to step out of my comfort zone and explore areas I never imagined."
International Studies Major | Class of 2013
M.S. in National Security Affairs | Class of 2016
"NSU was instrumental in my scholastic, athletic and professional development. While at NSU, I was fortunate to have the discipline that academia and athletics require, as well as the support of phenomenal professors, peers and coaches. The diversity of NSU provided an environment rich in culture and facilitated many perspectives on local and global issues. This was extremely important and valuable to me. NSU gave me the platform to develop my passions as an undergraduate student and further propelled me to continue my education.
The National Security Affairs (NSA) program was delivered by some of the most outstanding and dedicated faculty. It is in this program I had the privilege to be in the Department of History and Political Science. Here, I was fortunate to collaborate with students that were inspired by the challenge and committed to excellence. My classes in the NSA program gave me insight into the ever changing local and international political climate, clandestine operations, race and ethnic relations and numerous topics. The latter has inspired me to further my scholastic endeavors in cultural studies, where I intend to look at the effects of slavery on the perception and portrayal of African American and Afro Caribbean women in the media, music industry and literature.
During my time as a graduate student, I conducted research as a Graduate Assistant for the Department of History and Political Science (DHPS). The research methods taught by professors as well as conducting research with the DHPS was priceless and was essential. I was thankful to grow and assist the department with ongoing projects. Currently I am conducting research for the furthering of my studies and I am able to take the research done at NSU to Caribbean Intransit. Caribbean Intransit is a cultural Meeting Place for social change through creativity and a showcase for Caribbean Creatives in the visual, culinary, performing and literary arts and architecture. It includes a bi-annual, open access, peer-reviewed journal, a newsletter, a Google talk series, a roving arts festival and an Arts workshop series targeting at-risk youth. NSU has also instilled the value of community and the development of the whole person and I intend to adhere to this ideology and develop programs that are geared toward enhancing lives. This belief in community has propelled me to establish swimming programs for underprivileged youth. I am thankful for NSU!"
Philosophy/Legal Studies Major | Class of 2013
"Two years after graduating from NSU, I am finally preparing to continue my education next fall at the UCLA School of Law. Since graduation I have held positions as an event project manager, a university men’s soccer assistant and a kitchen and staff manager. While these jobs are very different, what has enabled me to succeed in each is the ability to quickly weigh the consequences of different decisions. That is, the ability to think critically and analytically – something I developed as a student at NSU. As I prepare for what will hopefully be the most exciting and transformative time of my life, I know that the growth I experienced at NSU, along with the questioning and critical thinking skills I developed as a philosophy student, will play an integral role in my continuing education and the success of my career thereafter."