Political Science


"My political science major more than adequately prepared me for the rigor of graduate study"

Kristin Tarajack  


Hearing from an Alum: Kristin Tarajack

My educational background:  I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from BW in 2006; I majored in political science and minored in psychology and international studies.  Upon graduating, I attended Cleveland State University and received my Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Economic Development from CSU's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

What I do?  CPAC is a nonprofit arts and culture service agency dedicated to helping Greater Cleveland succeed by working to preserve and advance its arts and culture sector. CPAC demonstrates to policy makers, funders and the general public the contributions the arts and culture sector makes to our economy, education and quality of life. CPAC helps the arts and culture sector prosper by fostering best practices in business development, sound cultural public policy and in-depth research.  As the research manager, I am primarily responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating CPAC's research programs and services.  I draft research reports, analyze data and report on the findings both to local and national audiences.  However, since we are a small nonprofit, I have had the opportunity to also help implement many of CPAC's programs including an artist business skills training workshop (Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute), a national conference on artist-based community development (From Rust Belt to Artist Belt II), a collaborative marketing project among arts organizations (Collaborative Marketing Database) and an individual artist grant program (Creative Workforce Fellowship). 

My BW career path:  I started attending BW in 2002 after graduating from Poland Seminary High School in Youngstown, Ohio.  I initially entered as a psych major and also had an interest in pre-law but I really wasn't sure what direction my studies were going to take me in terms of a career.  After taking an introductory political science course and becoming more aware of the career opportunities available to political science majors ranging from work in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, I switched my major to political science.  As I pursued my poli sci major I became especially interested in the courses dealing with international topics and chose to also complete an international studies minor.  During my time at BW, I had numerous opportunities to become involved working in the poli sci office as a tutor for Prof. Burke's introductory poli sci course, as a research assistant and later a course assistant for Dr. Mattern, and as a general office assistant.

How my major has helped professionally?  My political science major:  expanded my world view; exposed me to a very diverse group of individuals in terms of peers and faculty; gave me skills in public speaking, debate and critical writing, especially the ability to see and argue for both sides of an issue; opened the door for my future studies; and more than adequately prepared me for the rigors of graduate study. BW's liberal arts emphasis in general has been a major source of professional strength as I am able to draw on knowledge from a wide array of fields and their various research models when developing reports and advocacy pieces.

Classes I found extremely useful:  In poli sci dept-introduction to political theory, introduction to political analysis, public interest research, civil liberties in the united states, American national government; Outside of dept- courses in:  economics (microeconomics, elements of statistics), intl studies (intro to intl studies), communication (public speaking, group communication and leadership), and honors (problem solving).

General comments:  I know this is stressed all the time, but I cannot express how much getting involved on campus and especially in the political science dept helped me grow professionally.  Don't be afraid to approach any professor to simply ask a question after class, to ask them about opportunities to become involved in the dept, or to carry out an independent study project.

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