If you have had a chance to take a class with Professor Andrew Janusz, you definitely learned a lot about Latin American politics.
But did you know he wants to learn to play the ukulele? Neither did we. Eager to find out what other tricks he has up his sleeves, we decided to sit down with him and ask him a few questions.
What got you first interested in pursuing a career in political science?
I often had discussions with my parents about politics while growing up. Around the dinner table, we would discuss things like the role of government and who politicians were (or were failing) to represent. As a result, I developed an interest in politics and decided to take a few political science classes in college. After taking a political science research methods course and learning how to properly analyze data on politics, I knew I wanted to become a political scientist.
What area do you focus your research in and how did you choose it?
My research focuses on political representation in Latin America. In my dissertation and current book project, I examine why Afro-Brazilians rarely win public office and how this affects policy outcomes. I stumbled upon this topic in graduate school. On a research trip to Brazil I was struck by the country’s racial diversity and the fact that its politicians do not mirror that diversity. After finding that relatively little research existed on this important topic, I decided I should pursue it.
What made you want to become a professor?
I wanted to become a professor because I like the challenge of answering complex questions about politics. I really enjoy doing research and having the opportunity to share my knowledge with students.
If you weren’t a professor what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t a professor, I think I would be working in business administration or sales. I like developing new ideas and finding solutions to problems. I think I would be good at presenting information and educating consumers. I think this is similar to what I do as a researcher and instructor.
What made you want to come to UF?
I wanted to come to UF because it is a world-class research institution and has an excellent political science department. After growing in Wisconsin and completing my PhD in Southern California, I was also excited about the warm weather of Florida.
What is one thing about UF that has surprised you?
That armadillos are just wandering around on campus! Those things are crazy looking. I was prepared for gators, but the first time I saw an armadillo I stopped and sent pictures to a bunch of friends.
What is one piece of advice (as it pertains to the college, life or otherwise) you would give to a student in the political science department?
I would encourage students to pursue research opportunities on campus and do internships. These activities will allow them to apply the knowledge they are gaining in the classroom, hone their skills, and develop connections that can help them outside of class.
What are three things on your bucket list?
I would like to visit Machu Pichu, run a marathon (only 1), and write a couple of books on racial politics in Latin America.
What is a random fact about yourself that most people do not know?
I am an Eagle Scout.
Interview conducted by Eve Vanagas