Erik Schmidt

Why Political Science?

From a young age I found individuals who could explain the complexity of international, economic and domestic issues to be the smartest people in the room. In my first Political Science class at Western I was able to see how topics and concepts we discussed in class were playing out in the real world right then. I was hooked! I had the filters and tools to be able to decipher complex and controversial ideas about current events and rationalize the information drawing my own conclusions.

Which professors did you find most influential?

All in all, I had some wonderful professors in my time at Western. Two of my most influential professors were unique in their teaching style but inspired me equally. International Political Economy with Professor Cynthia Horne was one of the most meaningful classes I experienced in Western. I learned how to understand the complex relationships of a globalized world with respects to economics and politics. 

In addition, I developed a professional and personal relationship with Professor Vernon Johnson or as his students call him, Dr. J.  He was a mentor and leader within students and faculty. Dr. J motivated me and a group of classmates to revive the Political Science Association (PSA) and we won Academic Club of the Year!

The friendships and academic skills I foraged in the Political Science Department will last a lifetime because the learning or relationships didn’t stop at the classroom door, they transcended into a lifestyle.

Where are you now?

After graduating, I went on to complete my MA in Teaching. I traveled to New Zealand and taught history and social studies and have since returned to Washington. I now work as the Program Director for YMCA Youth and Government which provides civic education programs for high school students.