Undergraduates Learn About Practical Politics

October 8, 2019 — Rutgers juniors from all campus locations, schools, and majors are encouraged to apply to the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program. Undergraduate Associates explore current themes in state and national politics in small seminar courses taught by distinguished Eagleton faculty and practitioners. The program offers students the opportunity to apply political theories to real-word scenarios.

During the spring semester of their junior year, Undergraduate Associates take Practice of Politics with associate professor of political science Saladin Ambar. In this course, students analyze different political decisions – such as the Constitutional Convention, jury verdicts, voting outcomes, budgets, legislative actions, campaign strategies, presidential programs, and American foreign policy – in order to gain a deeper appreciation for the practicalities of political choices. Political power is also a critical theme of the course, with students analyzing important literary works to explore how power influences the personal and the political.

During the summer or fall semester of their senior year, Undergraduate Associates participate in an internship in government, politics, or public affairs. They also take the Internship Seminar during the fall semester of senior year. This course gives them the opportunity to reflect on their internship experiences within the context of current overarching political trends. The course is taught by Francine Newsome Pfeiffer, vice president for federal relations at Rutgers University.

In their final semester of undergraduate education, Undergraduate Associates take the Process of Politics course, which focuses on the ways in which public policy is defined and politics is practiced in the operations of government. The course also explores current national and statewide races and other political events and their resonance with core themes of the Undergraduate Associates program. Associate research professor Elizabeth C. Matto teaches the course.