Editor Maria J. Albo interviewed political science alumnae Wendi Huguley (‘90), director of alumni relations and annual giving, and Sarah Dunlap (‘07), alumni-relations officer, to discuss how their political science education has impacted their careers.

Ms. Albo: Why did you choose political science as a major and do you think that it prepared you for your future goals?

Sarah Dunlap

Sarah: I chose political science because “Introduction to Political Science” was more interesting to me than any other class I had taken. I think that a political science degree is an all-encompassing liberal arts degree that prepared my peers and me on how to present, how to state and sometimes argue our opinions, and how to write‑‑all things that are used in the “real world.”

Wendi: I’d always enjoyed social science classes in high school, so when I took “Introduction to Political Science” with John Csomor at North Georgia College my freshman year I was hooked, especially in the area of international affairs. Great faculty members taught me to think through complex issues (this was toward the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall) and, more importantly, taught me to express these thoughts in writing.

Ms. Albo: What experiences has your political science education offered you which have provided you with a competitive edge? How have you leveraged these experiences in your career?

Sarah: My writing and presentation experiences helped me land my first job with my national sorority. It was a very tough interview process with writing samples, on-the-spot presentations, and panel interviews. I still use these skills today.

Wendi: The classes I took as a political science major helped me understand that people often take positions that are born sincerely out of their own experiences and lenses, regardless of how ill-informed they may appear to be to me. This has helped me appreciate alternative points of view when dealing with people. As a former chamber of commerce executive for seven years, I found that good diplomacy was often critical when one deals with competing business interests, local and state government, etc.

Ms. Albo: Describe how your coursework, study abroad (if applicable), or other experiences helped you.

Sarah: Group projects were the focus of several of my upper-level classes. Working with others, delegating, and relying on my teammates helped me build the skills that are essential in the workplace, including with my own department team, with other departments, and with other companies.

Wendi: Political science taught me to think, which, in my opinion, is what a good post-secondary education should do. It also helped me understand the importance of staying informed and not assuming that something is true just because I heard it somewhere.

Wendi Huguley

Ms. Albo: If you had to provide a short two- to three-sentence blurb about your courses, the faculty and the major, what would you say?

Sarah: The political science faculty challenged me. I had times when I had to present to my classmates for an entire class period and once wrote a 20-page research paper with dozens of sources, but it wasn’t without the help of my professors and peers.

Wendi: I was blessed with faculty members who were tough, but loved to teach. Most political science majors in the ‘80s were not involved in study-abroad opportunities and we didn’t have media exposure 24/7, so it was important to have faculty members who could bring the issues into the classroom and transport students to different areas of the world through lecture. Dr. Brian Murphy and Professor Csomor did that.

Sarah graduated with a B.S. degree in Political Science in 2007 and immediately went on to live out of her suitcase for two years for her national sorority as a leadership consultant. After her sorority commitment ended, she hoped to continue working in the nonprofit sector, which she did first with the Girl Scouts and then with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Sarah returned to her alma mater in 2012 as an alumni-relations officer.

Wendi graduated from NGC in 1990 with a B.S. degree in Political Science. In the 25 years since graduating, she has spent half her professional career in higher education at Auburn University and UNG. She spent the other half in the business and nonprofit sectors, serving as a sales representative for Pearson Education for five years and president of the Opelika, Ala., Chamber of Commerce for seven years.