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

Professor Juliana Restrepo Sanin swapped the forests and mountains of Colorado for the swamps and humidity of Florida when she came to Gainesville in the fall of 2019. After six months here at the University of Florida, we decided to check in on how her first semester went, what her plans for the future are, and how she spends her time when not in the classroom.

So, what first got you interested in pursuing a career in political science?

Thinking beyond political science, I knew I wanted to work in academia. Back in Colombia I got my bachelor’s degree in journalism, but I realized halfway through what I wanted to do was research because the tight deadlines in journalism didn’t appeal to me. I got a master’s in history but that didn’t end up appealing to me either. But when I did my thesis on women’s representation in magazines, I started looking at how women’s magazines talked about women and political issues. This got me interested in politics and women’s participation in politics, and it’s what inspired me to get my PhD in political science from Rutgers with an emphasis on gender and politics.

Can you tell me more about how you chose your area of focus (gender and politics)?

During my thesis, I remember one of the biggest women’s magazines in Colombia was talking about women’s right to vote. Some women at the time didn’t think about these things, they said their husbands’ vote represented theirs. But the women in this magazine were saying “no- men don’t know our interests” and asking why we [women] don’t get to decide education or childcare policies. I found it so interesting and as I looked into it more I couldn’t believe the arguments against giving women the right to vote. Opponents were saying things like the world will come to an end if women get the right to vote, and I just wanted to learn more.

What made you want to become a professor?

I started teaching in Colombia because research is constrained there if you don’t teach. After I left, I continued wanting to do research, and I enjoy teaching too. It is hard, but it’s fun because it is interesting to see the world through the students eyes.

If you weren’t a professor what would you be doing?

I’ve thought about it and I don’t see myself doing anything else for work. I would love to learn art–I’m not good at drawing but I would want to learn. Right now, I knit. After my first two weeks of my PhD program, my husband told me to get a hobby, so I didn’t burn out. I remember I saw a classmate knitting and I was surprised because I thought it was something grandmas do, but I knit a lot now. So if I wasn’t doing research, I would want to do something creative or crafty.

What made you want to come to the University of Florida?

I really liked that the position I applied for was on gender and politics and the University wanted people doing feminist and gender politics work. When I came to interview, everyone was very nice and it felt like a supportive department. I really liked feeling warm after being in New Jersey and Colorado.

What’s a goal you have for this semester?

To submit a few papers and by the end of the summer finish my book.

What’s one thing about UF that surprised you?

This is not UF, but the airport here. It’s so small! It’s great because you won’t miss your flight and Gainesville is a small town, so I was surprised it had an airport, but it [the airport] took me back to Colombia because it was so small- it was just funny.

What’s one thing you like about UF?

One thing I liked was the sense of belonging and how proud people are of the school. I don’t follow sports, but I like how proud the students are of their sports teams.

What’s a memorable moment from one of your classes so far?

I have two. In the fall, I taught Gender and Development and Introduction to Latin American Politics. When I taught Gender and Development, I showed my students a video about gender mainstreaming in Sweden. It was a short video on how gender was mainstreamed into public policy and how the Swedish government was focusing on the movement of women in cities, they [the students] were struck on how the ease of movement for women in cities influenced the wellbeing of not just women but kids, men and those with disabilities. I enjoyed seeing it click in students’ heads all the little things that gender influences and how it doesn’t take a lot to mainstream gender into politics.

In Intro to Latin American politics, one student said he realized even though it’s Latin America and it’s a community, each country is individual and unique, and you can’t generalize the region. This made me happy because it affirmed that the message I wanted to spread was conveyed. They [the students] might forget about dictatorships but they won’t forget how diverse Latin America is, and how individual each country is and that was my goal.

What is one piece of advice (life, college or otherwise) you would give to students?

1) Do what you enjoy doing: money is important but don’t do things just for the money.

2) Work hard: as a professor, the students I remember the most are those who work hard, even if their essay isn’t brilliant, if I see they work hard that’s the sign of a great student. They are the ones I appreciate the most, because even if they don’t understand it [the material], if they made an effort that’s what I value the most. Working hard is the most important thing and it’s a better lesson that will serve them beyond college.

What are some things on your bucket list?

Travel: I want to go to Ireland and Scotland mostly because they have great yarn and strong knitting tradition. I also want to go to Japan for their great stationary, and Tokyo sounds amazing. London as well, I haven’t been there yet.

I’m not very adventurous person, I am not wanting to jump off a plane–I would be terrified. But I would like to see the northern lights.

What’s a random fact about yourself most people don’t know?

I love to watch TV. I love British mystery dramas and Harry Potter.

What’s your favorite Harry Potter book/movie?

The Half Blood Prince for both the book and movie. The first Harry Potter book was the first book I read in English so I have a lot of love for the series. When we first moved to Florida, Harry Potter World was one of the first places me and my husband went–I loved it, it felt like being in the movie.

Interview conducted by Eve Vanagas

Meet Dr. Andrew Rosenberg

Interview conducted by Tenney Kapellusch

1) Why did you want to work at UF?

I came to UF as a part of a cluster hire on race, gender, and inequality. The cluster hire really appealed to me, and I was very excited that the university is committed to hiring junior faculty that study and teach about  these politically important issues. This hiring initiative revealed the University’s ambition and dynamism, and I was hopeful of the opportunity to join such a community.

2) How has teaching at UF impacted your life?

I have been really impressed with the undergraduate and graduate students. Teaching has been incredibly rewarding. I leave every class with  something new to consider, and talking with students has been really helpful for thinking about my research as well.

3) What made you want to pursue becoming a professor?

I have always really enjoyed teaching other people and I have also been attracted the idea of doing research on politically important topics and contributing to human knowledge. Being a professor is the best job in the world because it the perfect combination of the two!

4)  How did you get interested in Political Science?

When I went to college, my very first class was an International Relations class. At the time I thought I wanted to study history but that very first class got me hooked on Political Science.

5)  In what area do you focus your research and why?

The majority of my solo research is on the politics of international migration and sovereignty.  I am interested in why we see the persistence of discrimination in international migration even though laws exist that explicitly forbid such discrimination.  These are topics that impact our modern world and are related to so many other areas of politics.

6)  What is the one thing you hope students take away from your classes?

I want them to be able to analyze and appreciate the importance of network interdependence in the international system. We live in an interconnected world, and every policy that they may support or disapprove of has unintended consequences.

7)  What is your favorite type of food?

Anything spicy.

8)  What is at the top of your bucket list?

I would love to go to Australia or China.

9)  What is the most interesting thing about you that most people do not know?

I tutored an Olympic gold medalist in French.

10)  If you could give one piece of advice to a new Political Science student, what would it be?

Do not just settle for fulfilling requirements for your degree. Take a variety of classes that interest and will challenge you. Also appreciate the freedom that comes with being a student.

11)  What advice would you give to your undergraduate self and why?

Appreciate your time as a student and take a few more risks. Pursue opportunities for more independent work and get more involved.

Joselin Padron-Rasines made history in 2015 by becoming the first Latina at UF to become student body president, unseating the entrenched political machine on campus and challenging the status quo by promoting tuition equity for undocumented students . After completing an MA in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, Joselin joined Education First in September 2017, and now works as a Project Specialist, providing wide-ranging support to project teams to help deliver outstanding work for clients. She serves as a Board Member of the University of Florida Association of Hispanic Alumni.

Anderson Hall

Hannah Alarian, Assistant Professor, Comparative Politics (Western Europe), Political Behavior

Paul M. B. Gutierrez, Assistant Professor, Judicial Politics (American) and Political Theory

Drew Rosenberg, Assistant Professor, International Relations and Social Network Analysis (Methods)

Juliana Restrepo Sanin, Assistant Professor, Comparative Politics (Latin America), Gender and Development

Andrew Janusz, Assistant Professor, Comparative Politics (Latin America)

Angela McCarthy, Lecturer, American Politics and Methods

Enrijeta Shino

I am a PhD Candidate and Graduate Assistant in the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida. I will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of North Florida in Fall 2019.  My primary research interests are in political behavior, public opinion, and elections. My dissertation focuses on survey mode (internet, face-to-face, and phone) and its effects on the estimates of Americans’ political knowledge, understanding of issues, differentiation of candidates on policy, and ability to cast votes that more fairly represent the voter’s policy preferences. This work addresses the discipline’s basic questions about the nature of American public opinion, while incorporating my substantive interests in those areas as well as my methodological skills in survey research and applied statistics.

My other research interests focus on the electoral reform laws, turnout, and voting behavior. My research specialties include public opinion, voting behavior, elections, state politics, political psychology, survey research methods, political methodology, and experimental design.

My research has been published in the Electoral Studies. For more information about my research, please see my CV or visit my research page.

If you are interested in learning more about my research or teaching please contact me at: enrijetashino@ufl.edu.

Amanda Edgell:

I am a PhD candidate in Comparative Politics at the University of Florida. Prior to joining UF, I spent twelve months in the Democratic Republic of the Congo overseeing a U.S. government funded food security program. I recieved a Master’s in International Affairs from Texas A&M University (2011) and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Appalachian State University (2008).

My research focuses on political institutions in authoritarian settings, as well as, international development finance and gender politics. I have conducted fieldwork in D.R. Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda. My work has appeared in Democratization and African Studies Review.

As a consultant, I have provided expertise on program initiation, survey design, and impact assessment for Michigan State University, Princeton University, and the U.S. Department of Defense. I am a managing partner at 417 Research & Analytics.

My favorite video game is Stata. In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, brewing beer, and training my dog Simcoe.

I am always looking for opportunities to collaborate on research and international development projects. You can contact me at abedgell@gmail.com

Oumar Ba, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Morehouse College;

Lina Benabdallah, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University;

Scott Feinstein, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Iowa State University;

Keith Lee, Assistant Professor, Political Science & Public Administration, Georgia College;

Lia Merivaki, Assistant Professor, Political Science and Public Administration, Mississippi State University;

Anna Mwaba, Lecturer and McPherson/Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow in Government, Smith College;

Buket Oztas, Assistant Professor of Politics & International Affairs, Furman;

Sebastián Sclofsky, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, California State University, Stanislaus