Three Years in the Making

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.

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4 Responses to Three Years in the Making

  1. Kris White says:

    Hello Kathleen,

    I would like to welcome you to GradFund Conversations. I enjoyed getting to know you through your post, and we at GradFund are glad you are participating in the Mentoring Program this summer. I hope you continue to apply for and take advantage of multiple opportunities throughout your graduate career as well! I look forward to learning more about your project in the future.

    -Kris

  2. Hey Kathleen, it really fascinates me that your work centers on women and politics. I am also working in the area of gender and genre. I am specifically interested in studying women’s poetry in African and Latin American Literature and I am also an incoming Comparative Literature doctoral candidate. I hope to know more about your work.

    • Kathleen Rogers says:

      Hi Gabriel, that’s awesome! I’m very partial to qualitative research, especially learning about women’s experiences with politics through their own personal narratives, which probably has some overlap with the study of women’s literature. My partner studied gender and Latin American literature as an undergrad. It’s a really fascinating and powerful field of study. I very much look forward to learning more about your work as well!

      • Wow!!! That’s interesting, Kathleen! I’m just making my entry into Latin American literature but I’m a specialist in gender and African literature. Would love to get any help on Latin American literature. With the little studies I’ve done, I’m sure doing a comparative project on women’s writing in Africa and the Latin America will be awesome. Glad your partner have studied gender and Latin American literature 🙂

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