Political Science

Kelsey (Ryan) Gratien, class of 2009
Majored in political science and psychology, minored in business

Following graduation -- Kelsey attended the University of Buffalo, earning a masters’ in political science in 2011, and will graduate in May 2014 with a Ph.D. in political science. Kelsey has taught political science courses at UB and Buffalo State College, worked at a bankruptcy law firm in Buffalo, currently a visiting assistant professor at Le Moyne teaching American Politics and Legal Studies Courses.

“For both personal and professional reasons, attending Le Moyne College was the best decision I could have made. Personally, the decision allowed me to meet some amazing people and academically, I found immense support from professors across disciplines.

"As one example, I vividly remember meeting with my political science advisor, Dr. Behuniak during my senior year. We discussed my future and the choices I would have to make. I explained how I loved to write, I loved the meaningful discussions that took place in my political science courses, and I loved the college atmosphere; but I was unsure of how these things could be applied to the ‘real world.’ After patiently listening, Dr. Behuniak paid me perhaps the highest compliment I had received in saying ‘it sounds like you want to be me. You should become a professor.’ Thrilled that she thought I could someday do what she was doing, I started to feel the excitement and enthusiasm I was previously lacking; and since then, I’ve never looked back.

"After leaving Le Moyne and experiencing a large research university, I’ve come to realize that Le Moyne is truly unique. The limited class sizes and family atmosphere are invaluable assets of Le Moyne. The faculty support and close ties can’t just be found anywhere, and I’m so grateful to have experienced what this great college has to offer."

Robert McIver, Class of 2010
Majored in Political Science and History

Following graduation -- Robert went on to attend Albany Law School, where he participated on the School’s Law Review Editorial Board. He recently accepted a position as a clerk for the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, where he will prepare recommendations to assist the Justices in deciding appeals.

“I transferred to Le Moyne from a large state university. At Le Moyne, I immediately noticed the small class sizes and engaged professors. This creates an environment where students are challenged and truly develop the analytical framework that is vital to success in law school. None of what I have accomplished would have been possible without the critical thinking skills I gained in classes I took with Dr. Delia Popescu. Additionally, the constant feedback of Professors Rine and Egerton shaped my research and writing abilities. This helped me understand and articulate the nuances of the cases studied while at Albany Law. Overall, the atmosphere and faculty at Le Moyne College prepare students to excel in future education and careers.”

Elizabeth Vanasdale ‘12
Majored in political science

Since graduation – In her senior year, Elizabeth accepted a position at the Public Justice Center in Baltimore, Md., as a legal assistant for the Human Right to Housing project, as part of a year of service through the Jesuit Volunteer Corp (JVC). Currently seeking her paralegal certification from George Mason University and next year she plans to apply to grad school in public policy and economic development and also looking for programs with a concentration in food security that focuses on food deserts and sustainable agriculture.

“We were to embark that year (of service through the JVC) on many challenges that went along with living in solidarity with the poor. As a community, we upheld the values of community, faith, social justice, and simple living. My ‘safety’ choice began to change the way I perceived the world as I learned in depth about the social structures that shaped society and affected the people in it. As a legal assistant I worked exclusively on Tenants in Foreclosure and Tenants in Rent court cases. The individual faces that I encountered deeply inspired my research and assistance on housing policy during the Maryland legislative session where I worked on an income discrimination bill called the Home Act. These personal experiences – coupled with what I learned of racism, classism, and economic justice at Le Moyne – truly intensified what I wanted to fight for. “Despite my unconventional path, I am thankful for the opportunities and experiences that I have had and if I could give myself advice as a college senior I would stress not get discouraged if something doesn't go your way and be brave enough to take on challenges and experiences that you otherwise wouldn't take.”



Special Projects

The Political Science Department offers a number of special programs to make it easier for students to double major as well as to encourage them to build leadership skills.

Our department works particularly closely with the History Department and, as a result we have worked together to develop a special joint degree program of Political Science/History. Further, Political Science is an excellent major to combine with an Education Minor, either in elementary education or secondary education.

Finally, consistent with our commitment to developing leaders who will change the world, we have developed a special Leadership Education for Activism Program (L.E.A.P).


Leadership Experience for Activism Program (L.E.A.P.)

The Leadership Experience for Activism Program provides the student with a unique combination of experiences to prepare him or her for a life of leadership in a democracy. It is a model of engaged learning – linking the academic with the experiential with the goal of developing civic leaders for the future.


Students must apply to the chair of the department of political science for admission. They must be political science majors or minors and maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.25. (G.P.A. requirements may be waived at the discretion of the chair.)

The Le Moyne College transcript distinguishes L.E.A.P. scholars, thus enhancing job and graduate school opportunities and identifying the democratic leadership potential of participating students.

There are five dimensions to the program:

  1. Service Learning: L.E.A.P. students take three political science courses that contain one credit service learning components.
  2. Internship: Students must complete an internship in a not-for-profit organization.
  3. Off-campus experience: The student must spend at least one month in an academic program off-campus (e.g. a semester abroad, a semester in Washington, D.C.)
  4. Student leadership experience: During at least one semester the student must hold a position of leadership in a Le Moyne student organization (e.g. student senate, political science academy, College Democrats, POWER)
  5. Research: In the senior year the student must write a major research paper about democratic leadership. The paper will be directed by a political science faculty member


Scholarships for Political Science Students

Social Sciences

  • Casper and Margaret Schiesser Scholarship: Endowed by bequest of Mrs. Margaret Schiesser and awarded to students studying economics, political science, psychology or sociology. A 3.0 G.P.A. must be maintained.