Politics and International Relations

  • Elizabeth Reynolds

Elizabeth Reynolds

What do you currently do?

For the past five years, I worked as a middle school humanities teacher at Frankford Friends School in Philadelphia. In addition to teaching, I worked extensively with 8th graders and their families in their high school application process, specifically navigating the School District of Philadelphia’s School Selection Process. I recently left that position to pursue a master’s degree in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.

How do you see the connection between the time you spent as a Politics/IR major and what you’ve been able to do since?

I teach using an interdisciplinary approach to important questions, many of which I contemplated in Politics courses at Ursinus, such as “What is justice? What values should our government prioritize? and How do we balance the rights of the individual with the common good?” I teach my students that much of history and social studies can be understood through conflicting value judgements. We assess both current and historical dilemmas through values frameworks I first contemplated at Ursinus. I worked extensively on new initiatives at my school, such as new curricula, programs, and support for students. I routinely needed to consider political and organizational systems and how they impact my students and families. Ursinus prepared me to consider how individual organizations fit into larger, complex systems and how individuals organizations can work to sustain and disrupt the status quo.

What advice do you have for students currently majoring in, or considering to major in Politics or IR?

Politics and IR are fundamentally interdisciplinary, making the majors authentic and applicable to “real world” work. My post-grad work has required this exact interdisciplinary thinking. I encourage all students to invest in becoming an excellent writer. Being an excellent writer will set you above other candidates for jobs or leadership positions. I also encourage Ursinus students to have informal conversations with people in the political science/IR field. There are so many more opportunities out there than just becoming a lawyer! You’ll be surprised by the opportunities out there.