My name is Kathleen Rogers, and I’m an incoming Political Science PhD student at Rutgers, planning to study Women and Politics, American Politics, and Methodology. I first developed my research interest in Women and Politics three years ago, after interning at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) in Washington, DC. I actually only interned there by chance: I had applied to so many different places, and I could have ended up anywhere. I’m very lucky that things turned out the way they did.
At IWPR, I was the Research Assistant for the qualitative section of a larger research project that aimed to understand why women do or do not run for Congress or governorships. As it turns out, the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers also worked on a different part of that project, and I first learned about Rutgers’s Women and Politics program during that semester.
My supervisor at IWPR encouraged me to write a paper based on some of the data that we had collected, and I presented those findings at the Midwest Political Science Association’s meeting in Chicago the following semester. That project then led to my Senior Honors Thesis, in which I surveyed and interviewed several female legislators in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
I have found these research opportunities to be both interesting and personally inspiring. Though many women study Political Science at the undergraduate level, very few continue on to the graduate level. Political Science also has one of the worst records—if not the worst—among the Social Sciences in terms of integrating gender studies into the discipline’s mainstream. Similarly, while women in the US have entered the fields that most often lead to political careers in numbers proportional to their representation in the overall population, very few end up running for public office. More female mentors and role models in both politics and academia would go a long way in improving the representation of women in their respective fields.
Ever since I learned about the program, I have consistently been told that Rutgers is the place to study Women and Politics, and after researching different PhD programs, I knew I had to attend Rutgers. I wouldn’t have settled for anywhere else.