The Daily Tar Heel has put together a list of 100 things that every student should do in their four years at Carolina. The list ranges from the scholarly (3. Explore Wilson Library’s Rare Book Collection) to the exuberant (41. Dance in a library flash mob). It’s a great compilation of UNC culture and traditions, and a fun read.
Today, Hollie Mann from the Political Science department is here to tell us more about studying political science at Carolina. Welcome Dr. Mann!
This is an exciting time to be a Political Science major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are the third largest major at UNC and it’s no wonder! With a presidential election just around the corner, the recent Supreme Court ruling on health care, a North Carolina gubernatorial election that could radically reshape public education, social services, and the tax structure for years to come, more and more students are choosing to enter the field of Political Science.
There are many reasons to choose Political Science as a major. As a field of study, Political Science helps us to understand how and why we choose certain subjects to deliberate about collectively. Perhaps more importantly, it gives us a clear picture of how policy is formulated, executed, and evaluated using certain moral, economic, and pragmatic standards. In the increasingly complex political and media environments in which we live, becoming a sharp consumer of political information is absolutely critical for making informed decisions.
Some of our students go on to careers in politics, running campaigns and advising candidates, or even becoming candidates themselves and eventually holding office. Those who prefer a more behind-the-scenes career in politics often become analysts for research institutes and think-tanks. Some go into the non-profit sector, working on issues of social justice and political equality, while others choose to continue their studies by entering graduate school. Business, finance, and law are common fields for our majors, demonstrating that a Political Science degree is useful for a range of future vocations and professions. Professionally, whether it’s finance, marketing, or the academy, employers want to hire interesting and well-informed workers, people who are able to speak knowledgeably about political and social issues, and who see themselves as active citizens shaping the complex world in which we live.
The field of Political Science is divided into four subfields—American, Comparative, International Relations, and Theory—and here at UNC students have an opportunity to craft their majors in such a way that they can focus on any one of these, if they desire, while still receiving a rich and a well-rounded education in the field as a whole.
For more information on the major, please visit the UNC Political Science homepage, and consider contacting our department advisor, Dr. Hollie Mann. And stay tuned for more information on our Fall Undergraduate Speaker Series on the 2012 elections!
For all you aspiring math and science majors, have you ever considered teaching? Whether you teach for a couple years before returning to graduate school or pursue a lifelong career in teaching, you’ll be serving your community in one of the most important ways there is.
So if you’re planning to get a degree in math or science, take a look at the UNC-BEST program. In four years, you can get both a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Geology, Mathematics, or Physics AND get your licensure to teach. The program aims to help meet the urgent demand for talented math and science teachers in secondary schools. Check it out!
Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing some Q&As with students who are taking part in some of the special opportunities that we offer to enrolling first-year students. (Get more info about these opportunities in this blog post from last year.) Today, we welcome Myles Robinson, a sophomore who is a part of the Assured Business Program offered by the Kenan-Flagler Business School.
How did you choose to study business and what would you like to do with your degree?
I was selected as a member of the Assured Admission Program during my freshman year. I’d like to concentrate in marketing and use my degree to work in the sports business industry. My ultimate goal is to become a marketing executive for an NBA franchise.
What are some of the benefits of being in the Assured Business program?
The biggest benefit of being in the program is the network one is able to build early in his or her academic career. Students have the ability to not only engage with Kenan-Flagler faculty and staff during their first year but also benefit from their peers in the Assured Admission class, who are some of the most talented young business leaders at Carolina. Through the various career and professional development sessions offered through the program, I’ve been able to discover my leadership capabilities and move in a positive direction in pursuit of my short-term and long-term goals.
Any study abroad, internships, or other interesting experiences you’ve had or plan to pursue?
As a member of the Minority Business Student Alliance (MBSA), a club with the Kenan-Flagler Business School, I was in charge of a six-person committee during my first year. Our team was instructed with creating a program catered to freshman students interested in gaining acceptance into the Kenan-Flagler Business School. With the help of my committee members and the utilization of my social media marketing skills on Facebook and Twitter, I was able to attract more than 75 freshman students to a standing-room only venue.
Moreover, the Assured Admission Program has afforded me the opportunity to stay abroad in Costa Rica during spring break and China during the summer. Lastly, I worked as a financial analyst intern for the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA team) during the summer.
What else would you tell prospective students who are considering Carolina?
When I began applying to prospective schools, UNC’s dedication to diversity and familial atmosphere attracted me the most. Although other schools may have African American, Asian American, Latin American, Native American, and Hispanics represented on their campus, I don’t think they integrate these groups like UNC does. The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs intentionally recruits and targets minorities who are first generation college students and come from low income and rural backgrounds to come to campus.
But diversity here isn’t limited to race and/or socioeconomic condition. There’s a diversity of thought as well as background and geography. Whether I walk across the pit or walk into the Student Union for a quick study break, I constantly see students of different ethnicities and backgrounds intermingling with each other. So much of what people at Carolina learn, I’m discovering, they learn through their interrelations with one another. Having diversity on campus from students of such assorted backgrounds enhances the overall learning experience. Since day one, my feelings about the people here and the overall campus vibe haven’t changed. I think it’s important for prospective students to understand they really can find their own niche here at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Four years ago, thanks to a grant from a wonderful organization called the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, our office launched the Carolina College Advising Corps, a program that helps students find their way to colleges that will serve them well.
The Carolina Corps hires recent UNC-Chapel Hill graduates — smart young people who want to serve and change the world — and places them as college and financial-aid advisers in schools across North Carolina. Our advisers help students look for colleges that will be good fits for their skills, talents, and aspirations. Then they help students complete admissions and financial-aid applications, search for private scholarships, and leap over any other hurdles that might stand in the way of their enrollment. This year our advisers are serving 56 high schools with more than 10,000 graduating seniors.
The Carolina Corps is part of the National College Advising Corps — a consortium of similar programs based at other universities across the country. The National Corps, which is also headquartered here at UNC-Chapel Hill, was featured recently in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Our advisers are amazing people, and they’re very good at their jobs. And although they love Carolina, they know that their mission is to help each student find the right fit — a place where he or she can thrive.
That’s what we want for every student — and that’s what we want for you, too. Please let us know if we may help in any way. And thank you, as always, for your interest in UNC.
This week, we’re delighted to welcome a post by guest blogger Alexandra Kong, who reflects on her first two years at Carolina. She has kindly agreed to monitor the post for your thoughts, so please feel free to comment.
As a first-year, I arrived as an out-of-state student with no ties to the university. I knew nothing about the school’s history, tradition and distinction or – I’m embarrassed to admit – even that Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm walked through the same quad that I do every day now.
Two years later, I have taken advantage of a variety of opportunities on campus including joining a sorority, working on campus using my work-study grant and fighting against cancer with UNC Relay for Life. However, nothing has made me realize the significance of attending Carolina more than being a part of the team that made the 2011 Late Night with Roy possible.
Week after week, for hours at a time, I and the other fifteen members of the CAA sports marketing committee would talk about Late Night. A lot of candy was eaten, some ideas were thrown out and a few songs were chosen but we finally came up with a finalized show we all approved.
As the number of days until Late Night decreased, our excitement increased – that is, until we were told that a lot of our ideas were nixed. Songs, dances, skits – all gone. A few minutes of collective disappointment later, we put our heads together and threw around ideas until it was late and time for us to go home.
Despite the minor setback, I couldn’t wait to see the final outcome of all our time and effort. I looked forward to the event like it was Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, the dress rehearsal, we went to the Dean Dome where we watched the team perform the dances, got our official t-shirts and backstage passes, ran through the event schedule and received some motivational words and a signed poster from Roy. Already, I felt privileged to be behind the scenes of one of the most highly anticipated events of the year.
The next day surpassed any expectations I had about the event. I don’t remember not smiling from the time I checked in at 3 p.m. until the end of the scrimmage, save the occasional Miami fan sighting or when I was nearly trampled by fans who wanted their light-up Styrofoam giveaways.
I was literally floored by the entire experience, and I even got my two minutes of fame when I went onto the court to hold a carton of Goldfish during the Harris Teeter promotion.
Being a part of Late Night showed me what being a part of this family is about. I have grown from the detached first-year I was two years ago into a Tar Heel, and I’m proud of it. I am so thankful for everything that Carolina has taught me so far, and I know there is still so much for me to learn.
“Together we are Carolina” was declared to be the theme for the 2011-12 men’s basketball team, but it goes so much further than that. This institution would not be what it is without the support of every single person that passes through and I’m fortunate to be able to say that I have contributed to its legacy.
–Alexandra Kong, ’13
GPA is a tricky number. When a student tells me what her high-school GPA is, I respond with a blank stare. I usually just make a non-committal noise in my throat and say, “OK. Now tell me what kind of courses you’re taking and what kind of grades you’re getting.” As a college admissions counselor, GPA tells me almost nothing because GPAs vary wildly from school to school. Some schools use a 4.0 scale; others use a 100-point scale. Some schools weight both Honors and AP courses; others don’t weight any courses at all. Some schools offer every AP and IB course ever invented; others offer none. So GPA is, from our point of view, pretty much useless.
When we review your application for admission, we don’t look at your GPA. And we don’t try to re-calculate it or do any kind of crazy mathematical voodoo to it. Instead we look carefully at your transcript. We look at the courses you have taken over your four years of high school, while also considering what kinds of courses your school offers. We look at the grades you’ve gotten, taking note of any trends. Maybe math is your downfall and all of your math grades are slightly lower than your other grades. Well, I can certainly sympathize with that. Math was never my strong suit either. Maybe you have one blip of a C in World Geography. Not the end of the world. Maybe you had a rocky start to high school but your grades have steadily improved over the last couple years. We love to see that.
Your transcript tells us so much more than your GPA ever could. And, as we’re doing with the rest of your application, we’re trying to see beyond the numbers to have as full an understanding as possible of your past accomplishments and your future potential. The big picture of who you are and who you’re going to become, that’s what we’re trying to understand. And one number can’t even begin to tell us that.
Today we welcome Kristine Leary, a business major who has just returned from studying abroad through the GLOBE program.
In the past year I have traveled to 22 countries. I have made a presentation in front of executives from one of the largest companies in Europe. I have worked on teams comprised of students from three top universities on three different continents. Most importantly, I have built a network of friends and colleagues that spans from the US to Europe to Asia and back again.
While all of this might sound like something from the life of an international businessman, it was all a part of my life as an international business student with Kenan-Flagler’s GLOBE (Global Learning Opportunities in Business Education Program). This collaboration between UNC, Copenhagen Business School, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong is one of a kind in the world of undergraduate business. Lasting three semesters, the program selects 15 students from each university to live and study first in Copenhagen, then in Hong Kong, and finally in Chapel Hill. Over the course of these 18 months, this international cohort of students learns about the unique business environment in the host country and what it is like to work on multicultural teams.
Perhaps even more important than the coursework, however, GLOBE students get the unique possibility to see the world from a new perspective through the friendships built with their international counterparts and through the travel opportunities the program affords. There are few things as transformative to a person’s point of view as international travel, and international travel with international students by your side provides an even more insightful experience.
While GLOBE is a program demanding academic excellence, the students, especially the Americans, come from all walks of life. In my group there some students who had already traveled the world when GLOBE began and for some it was the first time leaving the country. Two are international students. We have double majors ranging from philosophy to religious studies to mathematics. By any definition of the word, we are diverse. But what we have in common is the quality that is most important when applying to the GLOBE program: we all have a genuine curiosity about the world, a desire to better understand what is beyond our borders.
When I started at Carolina three years ago, I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to study in both Europe and Asia. I never imagined that I would call students from Denmark and Hong Kong my best friends. I never could have known how much I would learn and how many places I would visit over the course of a year. And I never thought it would become such an integral part of shaping who I am today. So I urge any business student to whom this sounds appealing to apply for GLOBE, because you never know where it might take you.
What about rank in class? How do we view that?
Rank in class is just about as tricky a number as GPA, because it depends so much on your school. The size of your school, the rigor of your curriculum, the academic achievements of your fellow students—all of these things affect class rank. So, as with GPA, we work very hard to understand your class rank within the context of your specific school. We ask your counselor to report your rank in class, or to estimate it if your school does not rank. We also ask your counselor to tell us about the curriculum in your school, whether they limit how many advanced classes a student can take, if there were any circumstances that limited your curriculum, and what percentage of graduates from your school typically go on to a 4-year college. All of this information taken together helps us understand the context of your school, and how you are achieving in comparison with your nearest peers.
Last year, as reported in our class profile, 80% of our enrolling class was in the top 10% of their high school class, so that gives you a rough idea of where most of our admitted students fall. But please don’t think that there is any type of cutoff. We hear that rumor a lot: “If you’re not in the top 10% of your class then you can’t get in.” NOT TRUE! We would never make an admission decision about a student on the basis of a single number.
At the heart of the matter, we’re looking to see that you’ve taken advantage of the opportunities available in your school and community by continually challenging yourself. We want students here at Carolina who are going to continue pushing themselves and their fellow students to grow intellectually and explore new ideas—both inside and outside of the classroom. So help us understand how you’ll do that. How are you hoping to stretch your mind once you get here? That’s a great thing to think about as you write your essays.
Please just let me know what other questions you have. And don’t forget that our Early Action deadline is only 10 days away. October 15 will be here before we know it!
Charletta Sims Evans, assistant dean for student affairs at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, talks about public health and the opportunities available to those who decide to major in it.
Charletta, what’s a good working definition of ‘public health’?
Public health is everywhere. It’s about protecting and improving the health of communities through health education, promotion of healthy lifestyle, and disease and injury prevention. Unlike medicine, which addresses problems as they occur and diagnoses individual problems, public health focuses on improving the health of populations through prevention.
Students can pursue several different areas of public health here at UNC, including biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health behavior, health policy and management, maternal and child health and nutrition.
What types of careers do students find themselves in after graduation?
They go into all sorts of different careers. They work in a variety of sectors from non-profits, commercial firms and pharmaceutical companies to hospitals and health care organizations, university research settings, government and consulting. A large number of them also pursue graduate work in public health.
What are some examples of public health initiatives students might know about?
Often when I’m talking with students about public health, I’ll ask them to think of what they see or read in the media on a daily basis. So much in the news relates to public health problems and potential solutions. Does your local drug store offer flu vaccinations? We have folks who can give you data about why the vaccination is a good idea. Did you read about the drought in the southwestern U.S.? Our environmental sciences and engineering researchers can tell you about water scarcity and climate change. What do you think of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program? Our nutrition department knows all about why eating healthful foods and exercising regularly are important.
What is the one thing you’d like students to know about the programs or undergraduate experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health?
Our school ranks as the top public school of public health in the country and is in second place among all public health schools (U.S. News & World Reports, 2012). Undergraduates are given opportunities to help with research and often are taught by and interact with professors who are renowned experts across many public health disciplines including cancer, global health, health disparities, and obesity and water safety, among others.
Our students also love to volunteer. They are very active on campus and in the community. Through their experiences here, they are able to gain fabulous skill sets and are more than qualified when they leave UNC to make a real difference in public health. Many join the Peace Corps or Teach for America, or enter competitive graduate programs.
Learn more about public health at Carolina.