The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Daniel LaChance, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, has been selected as a fellow with the Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) at Princeton University.

A 90-minute film changed how Renée Barouxis '14 sees the world. As part of a class assignment she watched the documentary "Miss Representation" which describes the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in the U.S. Since viewing the film, she has been inspired to further examine how women successfully assume leadership.

“If you had asked me when I graduated from high school what I would be doing a decade later, I never would have said ‘college professor,’” says Asst. Prof. Bruce Desmarais (political science). But as his college career at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) developed, Desmarais became captivated with the social sciences and teaching. Today his research focuses on political methodology, American politics, and an emerging cross-disciplinary field, Computational Social Science.

Ashley Berger ’13 (legal studies/history) claims to have entered UMass as the average freshman. However, as she progressed through her undergraduate career, Berger’s determined attitude and drive to succeed made her a standout.

Incredibly ambitious, Berger’s motivation to study law began at home “I think I started to realize what law is during my parents’ divorce,” Berger reflects, noting that she grew up in a single parent household with her mom and younger brother. “I think that environment made me the person I am today.”

On February 13, 2013, the Department of Political Science welcomed seven alumni back to campus to participate in the speed-networking event, Life After UMass: Careers in Political Science and Legal Studies.

“Political Science and Legal Studies prepare students for a wide variety of careers,” says Brian Schaffner, Department Chair. “The Department wanted to showcase the plethora of opportunities for our students and provide specific examples of how the skills students learn in our classes translate into exciting careers.”

Like many alums, Emily Zimmerman ’09 recognizes the value of internships. In fact, her current career – that of a Speechwriter and Public Affairs Specialist for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – began with an internship at the EPA during her senior year at UMass.

“The best time to meet people and figure out what you like and what you don't like in a career is when you are a student,” she says. “It's the best way to get a glimpse of a full time job.”

Bruce Desmarais, Assistant Professor of Political Science, has been named a Research Fellow at the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) for the academic year 2013-2014.

Professor Desmarais will be in residence at SAMSI during this time to participate in their Computational Methods in Social Sciences program

John Brigham, Professor of Political Science, will be a featured speaker at the UMass Dartmouth Law School symposium "Trends and Issues in Politics & the Law" on March 1, 2013.

For more information on the symposium, click here.

Lauren McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, has received a Kennan Institute Fellowship which will allow her to spend the Spring 2013 semester in residence at the Wilson Center in Washington DC. McCarthy will use this time to write a book about how Russian law enforcement agencies have responded to human trafficking.

“International social justice work is not an easy path,” says Michael Otto ’03, “but it is often very exciting and rewarding!”

Otto, who helped to found Tiny Toones, a non-profit organization which uses music to empower at-risk youth in Cambodia, says his Legal Studies background helped to make much of his social justice work possible.

“In much of the reading and coursework, I developed a passion for social justice that I do not think I would've found at many other universities,” he says.