Interest in 2016 presidential election leads to bump in political science majors

05/10/2017 04:06 PM

LOUISVILLE – While the 2016 presidential election is one that will be remembered and talked about for decades to come, it’s also created an interest in politics among students on college campuses which has resulted in a significant increase in the number of political science majors.

Dr. Lee Remington Williams, an assistant professor of political science and director of the pre-law program at Bellarmine University, has seen numbers jump from 66 majors at the start of the 2016/17 school year to the current number of 98.

“I think they’re honestly curious, I think they’re interested, they’re curious,” Williams said. “Politics has been in the news a lot lately. Our discipline also is very vast. There are eight different major areas of political science.”

Another factor is students wanting to learn why certain things happened.

“I tell my students political scientists will be researching and discussing this election for the next half century at least,” Williams said. “What was different was, polling was off, there were issues with students understanding the Electoral College, and how it worked exactly.”

Senior and political science major Thomas Gunnar Kehrt-Reese agrees that curiosity about the election and how the political system works has led to the spike in political science majors.

As for the election itself, Kehrt-Reese was not really surprised by the result.

“I personally think there is such a disconnect between that echelon of politicians and actors in the system,” Kehrt-Reese said. “You know, it turns out there were the vast majority of people who felt that they weren’t being heard by who was in office.”

Both Kehrt-Reese and Conn will graduate this Saturday from Bellarmine.

Kehrt-Reese is interested in law, international affairs, security studies, and intelligence, while Conn wants to be a teacher and possibly start his own non-profit organization.


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