Political Science

Alumni Spotlight

Erin Gistaro, Class of 2016

I just passed my three month mark as the communications associate for the Feminist Majority Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. I’m doing everything from running our social media accounts and feminist newswire to handling press releases and inquiries to crafting action emails and fundraising initiatives. I could not be  happier that I found a job where I can continue to pursue the passions I developed at Muhlenberg.

I am very grateful for all the experience I gained in college, writing about and discussing issues surrounding history, public policy and progressing the rights of marginalized individuals. I’m lucky enough to share my office with fellow Berg alumna Beth Rader who has been an invaluable guide and supporter as I transition from the Muhlenbubble into the adult world.

I cannot thank the political science faculty enough for the encouragement, advice and opportunities they gave me throughout my years at Muhlenberg. Whether it was helping me become and grow as a writing tutor or leading me as I applied for the Truman Scholarship, the mentorship of my professors was always comforting, inspiring and exceptional.

Jake Glass, Class of 201‌‌3 

Sitting in a White House meeting last year, I remember a senior advisor to the President remarking that he relied on learning from his staff as much as they relied on learning from him. In 2011, Muhlenberg Professor Mohsin Hashim began the first day of class with the same idea – “We’re all students of this material,” he said. To me, this exemplifies how my learning in the Muhlenberg Political Science Department and International Studies Program – about political problem solving and collaborative learning – ring true even at the highest levels of government.

Currently, I’m a Truman Scholar and Master in Public Policy Candidate at Harvard University. My studies focus on environmental policy and the intersection of the public and private sectors. Prior to Harvard, I worked for the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Next year, I will either rejoin the Federal government or explore the field of management consulting.

The last several years have been a blur of challenging jobs, successful (and unsuccessful) scholarship applications, and new professional relationships with incredible people. These opportunities are a direct result of my time learning from the Muhlenberg Political Science Department and International Studies Program. The Department’s faculty, in particular, has a special knack for accelerating students’ careers. Whether spending hours helping me write an application for the Truman Scholarship, guiding me (literally) through the political history of Bangladesh, or introducing me to internship opportunities in Washington, DC, the commitment of the Department’s professors to student success is second to none. Engaging with these professors, even after graduation from Muhlenberg, has made all the difference as I pursue a career in public policy.

Gabe Hurtado, Class of 2013

After Muhlenberg, I attended Lehigh University as part of the Community Fellows and Political Science Masters programs. Through my fellowship, I worked for the West End Alliance, a community development organization in Allentown’s West End Theatre District. In this role, I helped to promote business development, build organizational capacity and facilitate neighborhood outreach. While at Lehigh, I also expanded work on a thesis project I completed at Muhlenberg, exploring minor league baseball stadiums as venues for civic engagement.

In 2014, I started work at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission as an intern, and later, Community Planner. As a planner, I reviewed land development projects, supervised the collection of regional transportation infrastructure performance data and managed multiple public outreach efforts.

In August 2016, my Muhlenberg journey brought me full circle, as I am now employed as the College’s Enrollment Data Manager & Analyst. In this role, I serve as a primary departmental data expert, responsible for the campus integration and analysis of admission and financial aid data.

My experience as a Muhlenberg Political Science major directly impacted and accelerated this career path. The positions I have held to date require critical thinking, prioritization and collaboration as I define problems, collect data and advise stakeholders. The Muhlenberg Political Science department’s combination of high-level quantitative and qualitative coursework set the foundation for these skills. A real commitment to this multi-faceted approach is unique. I will always be grateful to have studied in such a collaborative and close-knit environment.

‌‌Deniz Uzel, Class of 201‌‌1 

I am currently an attorney at the law firm of Margolis Edelstein, at its Philadelphia office. I am admitted to practice law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I specialize in Labor and Employment law, which involves representation of employers faced with claims of hostile work environment, wrongful discharge, defamation, slander, harassment and discrimination in the areas of gender, sexual orientation, race, national origin, religion, disability, and age. I counsel employers on workplace matters including employment policies and handbooks, employment contracts, medical and religious accommodations, and equal opportunity policies to afford compliance with state and federal laws.

From my very first college applications, I knew that law school and becoming a lawyer was my end goal. From my very first interactions with the Political Science Department, I was assured that any major could prepare me for this but when presented with the classes offered by this Department, I was sold that it was the right track for me.

The Political Science Department's foundational classes gave me a basis as to how our government works, with interesting spins on concepts I'm faced with now including gender in the workplace, religion in the workplace, and politics in the workplace. I took classes like constitutional law, media law, and environmental law before I even stepped foot in law school. I was in the minority of my peers in law school who had had such early exposure. The classes offered at Muhlenberg and by the Political Science department further solidified for me that I was on the right path.

Beyond the classes offered by the Department, the professors in this particular Department make it one of the best at Muhlenberg. The professors in this Department are fantastic people and mentors and make a tremendous impact on the students they interact with. Their doors were always open and they were always willing to explore new ways to grow and expand their Department. When surrounded by those who truly love what they do, it's hard to not fall in love with it yourself.

I couldn't have asked for a better college experience which led me to my dream job.