The Department of Political Science has as its main goal preparing students for a variety of careers requiring expertise in politics and international relations as well as graduate and professional education, including law school. The department provides a broad education to majors in the four traditional fields of political science: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political philosophy. The department seeks to equip majors with the intellectual tools for understanding not only the American political system, but those of other major foreign countries, the dynamics of international political interaction in an increasingly interdependent world, international economic issues, and different philosophical perspectives on politics.
The department offers departmental honors for those students who qualify. Please see the description of the honors program.. The department also sponsors an award-winning Model United Nations Program.
A McMurry graduate recently read a Facebook post about current senior Thierry Tchenko and immediately posted a comment.
“I had the privilege of meeting this young man in November and I was very impressed,” the alum wrote. “He will represent McMurry well and I look forward to calling him a fellow alum.”
As soon as other alumni meet Thierry, they will be saying the same thing. A member of the War Hawks basketball team, president of McMurry Student Government, Honors Program student, and active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Thierry already is representing McMurry well.
He is on track to graduate with a political science degree in May. After that, the sky’s the limit. He may pursue a graduate degree in political science, go to law school, or “head straight into work.”
Thierry was impressive from the moment he arrived on campus from his hometown of Houston, said Dr. Tina Bertrand, chair of the Department of Political Science. She is the one who posted the Facebook item on Thierry and is not surprised at his success or that others recognize what a gem he is.
“Thierry loves to learn,” Bertrand said. “He reads everything he can, and we have had many deep, thoughtful discussions in my office.”
Thierry is on a fast break toward any of his goals. He was one of 80 students worldwide invited to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Feb. 2. He heard President Trump, who was barely in office at the time, speak on various issues related to religion.
He sat at a table during a separate event with the daughter of legendary Ray Charles. He met senators, public figures like preacher and author Rick Warren, and Washington insiders.
Even though Thierry trends liberal, he was impressed with what he saw and was gracious in his assessment.
“It was cool,” he said. “It wasn’t your typical prayer breakfast."
Thierry didn’t agree with everything the president said, but in his gracious manner, he accepts that Trump is the president.
“He won the election,” Thierry said. “I think it’s important to start off there.”
That grace defines Thierry and it is a quality he holds dear, refusing to get caught up in vile political rhetoric. The Houston native is a first-generation American. His parents came to the United States from Cameroon. His dad arrived first and earned a degree in computer science from the University of Houston. Knowing their story gives Thierry a view of immigration that parts from what he has heard from the president.
“Immigration is dear to me,” he said. “That’s what makes the United States so great.”
Even though he may disagree with some of the president’s policies, Thierry had a great experience at the National Prayer Breakfast and meetings held in conjunction with it. He even witnessed a moment of grace.
After the president spoke at the breakfast, Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, asked the president if he could pray for him. Trump agreed and Coons prayed for guidance and humility for the new president.
“That’s something I haven’t seen before,” Tchenko said. “We need more of that.”
After graduating from McMurry University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Abel Romero left Abilene in 2012 to pursue a master’s degree in defense and strategic studies in Washington, D.C. “I’ve been fortunate to have a few great internship opportunities in the nation’s capital,” said Romero.
In the spring of 2013, he interned in the office of Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX-14). Interning on Capitol Hill is a rite of passage for many who are looking to work in government or politics. “It’s a great opportunity to become familiar with the federal government, and learn about the legislative process,” said Romero.
During summer 2013, he began an internship at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA is the agency responsible for the safety and security of the US nuclear stockpile.
Romero said that as a student of national security policy, interning for the NNSA was a perfect fit. His internship was a great opportunity to not only develop as a professional in his area of study, but also expand his knowledge by being exposed to new competencies and areas of the federal government that he can carry with him throughout his career.