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Welcome

The Department of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Northern Colorado houses two B.A. degrees: Political Science and International Affairs. In addition, we offer a minor in Political Science.

Our faculty is strongly committed to undergraduate education, which is our top priority.  We aim to offer the best undergraduate programs in Political Science and International Affairs at Colorado’s public universities. 

Members of the department have received numerous teaching awards.  We value serious discussion of political issues among faculty members and students and conduct many classes as discussions rather than as lectures.  The relatively small size of the department is a strength, allowing for an intimate setting conducive to lively discussion.  The Political Science faculty is committed to providing our students with a traditional liberal arts education that emphasizes analytical skills in writing, reading and discussing.

In addition to our commitment to teaching, we are active scholars.  Our faculty has received prestigious grants from such agencies as the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Our scholarly work has been published in some of the most widely recognized academic journals in the field, and our books have received national recognition and awards. We bring this expertise to all of our classes. 

News and Announcements

Students Recognized at 2019 Honors Convocation

honors

Political Science & International Affairs students Danielle Brecheisen, Cayla Carey, Makaela Stefan, Christopher Canipe, Easton Karna, and Richard Rounds were recognized on April 14th for excellence in their program. Congratulations! View the event program. See all the event photos.


Faces of Spring 2019 Graduates

Congratulations to Political Science majors, Abigail Hutchings and Nayeli Contreras-Rocha, that were featured in UNC's "Faces of 2019 Spring Graduates."

Abigail Hutchings

Abigail Hutchings

Hometown: Castle Rock, Colo.

Major and minors: Political Science, double minors in Communications and Philosophy

Student-employment, organizations and other experiences at UNC: President and co-founder of Students for Political Awareness, a non-partisan political club on campus, which works to educate students about navigating the modern political climate and encouraging engagement in local government. The club was also founded by two other students: Isabel Serafin and Fiona McNeal.

Describe your experience at UNC: My overall experience at UNC has been amazing. After one semester of taking political science classes, I knew it was where I belonged. The department may be smaller than some, but it makes up for that in quality. Each professor I have had the opportunity to learn from has challenged, encouraged and allowed me to discover my political views on my own, and each of those professors took the time to work with me as needed and always showed a great deal of compassion and understanding towards their students.

Describe any hurdles/conflicts you overcame: By far the heaviest hurdle I faced while working to attain my degree was during my sophomore year when I lost my father to suicide. He was a police officer for the Aurora Police Department for 13 years and was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work with immigrant communities where he helped them assimilate to American culture, learn to trust police and set up neighborhood watch programs.While growing up, I watched him go above and beyond to help people he hardly knew, which was my inspiration in focusing my studies and future career towards bettering communities. My father, who was my best friend and biggest cheerleader, never finished his degree, which was always a regret of his. But, once he saw my dedication to achieving my degree, he was always there to remind me that I could achieve regardless of the obstacles that came my way. He battled with severe depression his entire life and, through the trauma he experienced as a police officer, developed PTSD.The university flooded me with useful resources to help me stay in school and in my dorm surrounded by supportive friends. The Counselling Center was an incredible resource I used through my schooling and helped me heal from the trauma of suddenly losing my father. I will forever be thankful to the university staff across multiple departments for taking the time to help me. I don’t know if I’d be walking across that stage without all of their help, and I know my father would be incredibly proud.

Most memorable experience while attending UNC: My most memorable experience was during the fall 2018 semester when one of my professors alerted me to an internship opportunity with the Rochelle Galindo for HD50 campaign. I was eager to get real-world experience, despite having no experience in the campaign world. I was promoted to a deputy field organizer and personally knocked on over 2,000 doors in the community.The types of people I encountered varied: some politely said they weren’t interested, others ignored me and didn’t answer the door, while a few yelled and insulted me. However, there were many who surprised me with, not only kindness, but the desire to listen to what I had to say. It was these face-to-face conversations that gave me a sense of pride and made me feel like a true resident of Greeley for the first time in the four years since living here.I am not exaggerating when I say this experience was one of the most influential ones I’ve had and am incredibly grateful to be part of it. I will always remember the day we received the final results of the election with Rochelle winning by 1,400 votes.

Advice you’d give to current and/or future students: Take every opportunity that comes your way even if you are worried of failure or something you never imagined yourself doing. Take those extra moments and listen to what people have to say when they pass out fliers on campus, ask your advisor about internship opportunities even if your degree doesn’t require one, and find a club on campus that advocates for something you believe in. It’s amazing how much more enriched my life became when I became open to new possibilities and stopped limiting my potential by doubting myself. Believe in your abilities and take any opportunity you can to grow as that is what college is truly for.

Plans after graduation: I’d love to use my enthusiasm at a non-profit that works to better local communities through public policy, outreach and education.


Nayeli Anahi Contreras-Rocha

Nayeli Contras-RochaHometown: Grand Junction

Major and minor: Political Science, minor in Legal Studies/Pre-Law

Student-employment, organizations and other experiences at UNC:

  • University College Student Senator with Student Senate
  • Student Assistant for the Dean's Office of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Stryker Institute for Leadership Development Scholarship recipient
  • Upper Division Honors Program: Thesis on the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz
  • Center for Human Enrichment, First Generation Program
  • Campus Connections mentorship program

Describe your experience at UNC: I doubt a story like mine would be possible at any other university in the country. I have grown a lot as a UNC Bear, and being a student at this school has not only made me a more knowledgeable and insightful person, but it has also made me more compassionate and passionate. I'm leaving UNC with a passion to help people and make an impact on the community. My work with Stryker has inspired me to follow a career in the legal system and help fight and represent those who may feel as if they don't have a voice. I’ll never forget the people who I met here, and it is their contributions to my life that I will carry with me.

Describe any hurdles/conflicts you overcame: As a first-generation graduate, woman of color and a kid who grew up under the poverty line, making it to college was similar to going through an obstacle course on American Ninja Warrior. Being the first in my family to go to college, I had no idea where to even start. Luckily, my support system at CHE helped me start off on the right foot and made my transition into college less frightening.Paying my way through college was a constant struggle, and though my parents were very willing to help, finances weren't readily available. Thankfully, I was accepted into Stryker, and I can never thank the people and organization enough because if it weren't for Stryker, I would not have been able to finish college or realized my passion for social justice. I owe a lot of my accomplishments to these organizations as well as to my friends and family because it was as much of their struggle as it was mine; it will also be as much their accomplishment.

Most memorable experience while attending UNC: My most memorable experience involved sitting in my Constitutional Law class. While in class, I heard law being talked about in a way that I never had before, and it’s also where I realized the path I wanted to pursue after college. I will also fondly remember my philosophy classes, but more specifically, my philosophy professor: Professor Blair taught me more than just philosophy, he taught me the importance of being passionate for what you choose to pursue, and the importance of being kind to people.All of my political science professors have had a great impact on me, as well, and I'm honored for the opportunity to sit in each of their classrooms. A huge thank you to Professors Luger, Williams, Bownas, Blair, DeCarlo, Romero and Morell.

Plans after graduation: I plan to head to law school and study immigration law and get involved with local government and eventually run for office — Maybe mayor, maybe senator, maybe president, and being a Supreme Court Justice would be pretty cool, too! I also want to have at least four dogs at some point.

Advice you’d give to current and/or future students: Go into your classrooms with an open mind. You will grow so much during your time here, and this will happen faster if you're willing to expose yourself to new things. You have, and will, accomplish so much, but don't forget to remember and thank those who have helped you along the way.UNC has been the perfect place for me to grow as a person. I can't thank this place enough. I hope to stay affiliated with the school to help students like me.