Elaina Barbieri '19

Majors: Political Science and Professional Writing
Minors: Business Marketing and Communication

Why this major?

I became interested in political science when I took a media studies class in my first year of high school. The course taught me to think critically about current affairs and educated me on topics that I previously thought were for adults only. This educational foundation led me to consume a lot of political satire, philosophy, books and film. These personal interests continue to fuel my passion for this major. 

What is your career objective?

Oddly enough, I don’t have one set career goal besides finding an emotionally fulfilling job. I knew when I chose this major that I had no desire to become a politician because of all the drama involved. Instead, my love of political science led to an interest in public relations, so I added additional courses to complement my major. Now I have a whole list of career options that pertain to my educational experience like campaign management, working with nonprofit organizations, speech writing or business writing, lobbying, marketing, public relations, etc. The most important thing is that I have an open mind and an appetite for knowledge.

How has what you’ve learned prepared you for your future?  

My political science education gave me a deeper understanding of America’s philosophical foundation. That knowledge provides context to nearly every issue in current affairs and will never lose its applicability. Furthermore, taking on general college responsibilities like in-depth group projects and professional presentations has shaped me into a better, more professional version of myself.

Have you had opportunities to work closely with Carroll faculty?

I’ve been lucky to develop friendly relationships with many of my professors during my time at Carroll. My main advisor also teaches the majority of my political science courses, so I’ve managed to take a course with her for just about every semester. This allowed me to become more comfortable in class and share my interests with my professor. In turn, she was able to understand what I was passionate about, what my strengths and weaknesses were, and what my thought process was like. This allowed us to easily collaborate on larger projects like my capstone paper, which combined my love of political fiction, dystopian science-fiction and feminism. As I come to the end of my college career, I’m grateful to have felt truly seen and supported by Carroll’s faculty. I’ve always felt like I could be myself in class.  

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your education at Carroll?

By far the most critical lessons I’ve learned during my time at Carroll came from the cross-cultural courses. My introductory CCE course involved the impact of culture on politics and religion. It truly widened my perspective on how and why people think the way they do. I learned to appreciate the concepts of cultural relativity and intersectionality, which has been applicable to nearly everything that I have studied. I also have countless memories of the engaging discussions and activities that I took part in during my classes. It’s hard to choose just one good memory, but the debate my English class took part in, which involved me and the other students assuming the stances of ancient rhetoricians and dissing each other in a rap battle, certainly takes the cake.

How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person?

I’ve discovered that the benefit of a strongly-rooted liberal arts education is not to merely add a couple of impressive lines to a résumé. Instead, my college education has molded my core way of thinking and guided me into a new sense of maturity. You don’t really realize how much you have grown as a person until you truly compare your past and present self. While the idea of graduating and working in a job with more seasoned professionals is definitely daunting, I feel significantly more prepared than I did as a first-year.

What would you say to someone considering political science?

There’s so much more you can do with a political science degree than just being a politician! You don’t necessarily have to work in Washington, D.C., if that isn’t your cup of tea. You can study law, use your degree in business and management positions, and double major or minor in a variety of areas. Since politics affects nearly every aspect of life, it’s wise to consider educating yourself on political science along with your other interests. 

How has financial aid made a difference in your life?

I certainly wouldn’t have been able to attend Carroll for as long as I did without their financial aid program. The merit scholarship they provided me lowered the cost of tuition to that of a public university. With the additional money that my family saved, we didn’t have to stress significantly over student loans and I was able to afford my study abroad trip in France for my Cross-Cultural Experience

What’s your favorite place to study on campus?

I’ve always enjoyed doing my homework in the library’s café, which also offered a nice chance to socialize with friends. I particularly liked to study in the nooks on the second floor of the reading room’s mezzanine. Something about those little tucked away spaces helped to clear my mind. That being said, the absolute best place to do any type of studying is Main Lawn when the weather is nice. There’s a bench right underneath a tree that’s adjacent to the library patio, and it is my favorite place to study on a lovely day. What could be better than reading under a tree on a gorgeous campus? 

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