Faculty Spotlight: Polly Diven, Political Science/International Relations
What are your undergraduate research mentor experiences?
Student Scholars Day, McNair Mentor, Honors Thesis Advisor, Advisor for STAIR students presenting research at the Midwest International Studies Association Annual Meeting.
Would you briefly explain the focus of some of the most recent research you have mentored students in?
I have worked with students on my research related to anti-Americanism. I have also worked with students on research into the impact of domestic interest groups into the formulation of the PEPFAR program, which funds prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Africa, but the nature of the program was impacted by domestic interest groups.
Why is mentoring undergraduate research an important component of your work?
When undergraduate students engage in research, they gain a much deeper understanding of the theoretical and methodological complexity of our field. I enjoy watching students transition from acting as consumers of knowledge to becoming critical analysts, and then finally into generators of new theories and ideas.
If a student is interested in your field of research, what are some suggestions or tips you might share with them to help them get more involved and/or better prepared to engage in this type of research?
Read the research that is already available in this field, then think about what types of assumptions are being made and whether these are valid. Also, think about what other factors may be missing from the current analysis. Develop a list of questions.
Who are some of your previous mentees, and what are they doing now?
Amanda Miralrio (McNair) has a master’s degree in international relations from George Washington University and works for the Treasury Department in the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Annie Hakim (Honors thesis) worked for Teach for America for three years in Charlotte, NC, and recently won a Challenge Detroit Fellowship. Emily Brown (STAIR) recently completed her Master’s degree in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs at American University and is currently working in Consular Affairs at the State Department.