How Did You Decide To Come To The College Of Brockport?
As an international student, I have to admit Brockport was not an option I was originally aware of. As a matter of fact, I had never even heard of the Upstate New York region until Brockport actually came all the way down to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and quite literally found me. By that time, I was considering studying in my country, at best going to a different state. Going to a completely different country for college felt insane. But I have to admit I drew towards the notion of adventure, in traveling 3,000 miles away from everything I knew. I was very interested in the fact that Brockport was a small college and that I would have a close interaction with both my classmates and my professors. This contrasts with my options of bigger colleges back home, a booming city of millions in which snow was unheard of. I knew how crazy that change would be, especially the weather, but I took the risk. Looking back at my choices, I rejoice in knowing I made the right decision.
How Did You Select Your Major?
I have always been drawn to the news, keeping up with current events. More specifically I was interested in learning how states interact with each other and react to world events. I discovered a subtle urge to learn how political systems of government were formed and how this consolidation of power is retained, hence my choice of double-majoring in Political Science and International Relations. Though I wasn’t so sure of my choice of study in the early months of my freshman year, the insight and knowledge gained in the development of the American instrument of government, and those that have come before it, fueled my curiosity and solidified my path towards these degrees.
What Surprised You The Most About Being A PLS Major?
I was quite surprised about the retrospective focus on early attempts in history for the consolidation of power into an entity that sometimes barely reflects the governments we see today. I remember I used to think of the ancient Greek democracies and struggles of power in the Renaissance period between both men and state, as footnotes to the real subject at hand, the modern states. But this careful and intricate study of these past systems of government, the vicious debates, excruciating choices, and bloody conflicts arising from them helped develop a fascinating insight on the long and painful road which has led us to the governments we enjoy today.
Also to my great surprise, I found in my major the ability to actually live-test these political theories we had been studying about. We got together as a class and ran software simulations in which we represented presidents, vice-presidents, and secretaries of defense in a fictitious world striving for supremacy and survival. This simulation started as a curious assignment, but it quickly dominated our lives as we were consumed by our roles and the success of our nations. Thankfully, our class managed to avoid thermonuclear war and natural disasters of global scales with strong diplomacy. This experience really confirmed the theories of state rationality we have heard of so many times. This experiment in other classes, though, did not go as well.
What Are Your Long-Range Goals?
It’s funny, reading this question I believe I have not only achieved my original long-term goals, but I am already succeeding them and quickly scrambling to develop new ones. It does sound cliché, but I cannot stress the value of the preparation Brockport gave me to work for the United States government. Coupled with my experience as a U.S. Army ROTC cadet, a Financial Aid Office Student Assistant, and my EuroSim and Washington internship experiences, my academic preparation in Brockport paved the way for my achievements in working for the Department of Defense (DOD). Of course it all took baby steps, first as an unpaid intern and a year later rising to become a Research Contractor and also the team leader overseeing a private project for the DOD in regards to countering violent extremism on open source platforms. I am proud to say that what I do today makes a difference in the study and understanding of contemporary conflicts. What the future holds for me I do not know, but I do know I will be shipping out to the military, and once again donning the uniform of the United States Army.
Do You Have Any Advice To Give To Your Fellow Students?
I will be honest, I was never the best at anything I have done. I was not the best student, nor the best officer cadet, not even the best intern in my workplace. But one thing I did have was drive. I worked extremely hard to perform well. I pushed myself hard in every aspect of my educational experience (to include social life, but this is not a matter to be discussed here). My persistence to try harder to learn more, to gain more experience, and to perform better, made the world’s difference in paving the way for my career. My commitment to do everything to the best of my abilities on every task made me stand out among other job applicants, many of which I am glad to say were Ivy League students. I am very comfortable in admitting that Brockport gave me all the tools to beat other post-grads from the best universities America has to offer, and that is no lie.
We cannot predict what the future will bring us, but I strongly believe you can achieve anything by simply putting your mind to it and trying hard (I know, again with clichés). The best advice I can give to my fellow students is keep your head high, take life one step at a time, and be persistent. As long as you don’t give up trying to accomplish your goals, you can never fail.