Missouri State University
Political Science Blog

A Shout Out From Alum Jarica (Hudspeth) Oeltjen – Right Back Atcha, Jarica

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Jarica (Hudspeth) Oeltjen

I am a 2009 graduate of Missouri State University’s political science program. Following my time at MSU, I attended law school at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and obtained my law degree in 2012. I currently practice with the law firm of Lathrop & Gage LLP, in Springfield.

I can’t really say enough about the education I received at MSU. Many thanks go out to people like Dr. Pybas, Dr. Paddock, Dr. Connor, and Dr. Dutton (also Jack Knight in the philosophy department) who were invaluable. These professors helped me refine my writing skills, and I developed strengthened analytical abilities thanks to their efforts. And the support from the political-science department didn’t end upon graduation. To this day, I look to Dr. Pybas as a mentor in my profession. He counseled me through the woes of job placement and helped me land a really great gig.

In my law practice, I focus on business-litigation matters including professional-liability and product-liability claims, and I also handle estate and probate litigation matters. I’ve second chaired two jury trials, taken numerous depositions, and argued several substantive motions in Christian, Dade, Greene, Laclede, Pulaski, and Stone counties in Missouri. I live in Mount Vernon with my husband Phil and our dog Nikki. A shout out to Phil, mom (Valerie), dad (Troy), Andrew (brother), Jason (brother), Brooke (sister), Grandma Linda, Grandpa Dwaine, Grandma Boots, and Doris for your love and support.

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Springfield Mayor Speaks to MSU Students

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Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens was the featured guest at the February 27 meeting of the MSU Chapter of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Mayor Stephens answered many questions on a wide range of topics; including crime, aging infrastructure, retaining college graduates, and hiring more police officers. The engaging and interesting meeting was attended by undergraduates, graduate students, and professors in the Political Science department.

ICMA President Jerry Kendall also discussed the benefits of joining the ICMA and upcoming events that the ICMA is organizing. It was an honor to have such a respected elected official take time out of his busy schedule to connect and engage students at the meeting and the ICMA hopes to continue hosting important members of the community.

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Model UN Students Learn and Earn Distinction

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Dr. Ashley Leinweber, her PLS 333 Model UN class, and the MSU Model UN Club attend the Midwest Model UN in St. Louis last week. The Honorable Delegates from Rwanda, Libya, and Ethiopia did an excellent job advocating for their countries and working with others to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems.

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Peyton Andrews (representing Rwanda) won the Best Delegate award for Security Council North and Dylan Patillo (representing Rwanda) won Best Position Paper for Security Council South. Megan Manes (representing Libya) won Honorable Mention for Best Delegation in the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

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Eric Weiler (representing Ethiopia) won the Best Position Paper Award for General Assembly Second Committee and Courtney Withrow (representing Ethiopia) won Best Position Paper award for the Peacebuilding Commission.

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Inside the 7th District – Political Science Alum Hilary Dempsey Offers Advice for Political Science Majors

Hilary Dempsey

I began my college experience at Missouri State University in August 2008. I knew I wanted to be a political science major from the beginning so it didn’t take much coaxing to be excited about the classes and curriculum offered. By my junior year I had already signed up for an internship with Congressman Billy Long’s district office in Springfield. I gained a lot of experience there about political processes, current events, daily office operations, and how members of Congress stay in touch with their constituencies. Having an internship—especially in the political field—helped buttress many of the things I was learning about in class, in addition to my classroom knowledge buttressing my performance as an intern.

In May 2012 I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Prior to graduation I had considered several options for what I would do post-graduation, including law school, a different graduate program, or going directly into the workforce. I had a particular interest in law and policy, but I didn’t really want to be a lawyer. I also wanted to complete a graduate degree, so I decided against going directly into the workforce. Instead, I explored graduate programs in the field of public policy, specifically. I was accepted into a Master of Public Policy program at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. It was a two-year program, however, I completed one year of the program when I received a call from someone at Congressman Billy Long’s office who asked if I was interested in coming to work for the Congressman. I accepted, and I am now working for Congressman Billy Long in Springfield, Missouri and finishing my Master of Public Administration (with an emphasis in public policy) at Missouri State. My position as a Case Worker for Congressman Long entails working directly with constituents in the Seventh District. In a nutshell, I assist constituents with any problems or concerns they may be having with a federal agency. My specific issue areas are military and veterans (VA and DOD), Medicare, and some smaller agencies. I have to define the problem of the constituent, advocate on their behalf to the federal agency, and work with the constituent and the agency to resolve the problem favorably. The other part of my job involves relaying these concerns to Congressman Long so that positive legislative changes can fix some of these problems.

I have several points of advice for political science students. First, get an internship, and try to get one with an entity you could see yourself working for in the future. Many internships could lead to a job, so find a good one and work hard. Second, learn and master what a political science degree will teach you. A political science degree from MSU is going to teach you how to read, write, and think (shout out to Dr. Connor). Do not underestimate these skills. Everything you do in this world will require these three skills, so perfect them while you’re here. Learn to read complex materials and organize your thoughts. Learn to write with skill for all audiences, and learn to think critically and analyze complex problems. Third, network. An internship, volunteering, or work experience can help you make connections. Connections could be what land you your next job, so never miss an opportunity to network. Lastly, maximize your time. Make time for things that will help you gain experience, improve your skills, and set you apart from the crowd. If you have the same degree as other individuals applying for the same job, what sets you apart from the other candidates? You decide how to answer this question, and a political science degree from Missouri State will help set you apart…if you take advantage of it.

For more information about Congressman Long’s office, go to his webpage at http://long.house.gov/#dialog

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The Central Intelligence Agency Is Looking For Freshmen

Can you see yourself in this picture?

The CIA is recruiting 2016 Summer interns.This program is designed for undergraduate students interested in a NCS career via the NCS Professional Trainee Program. Because of the length of background checks, interns are generally Freshmen at the time of application and have minimal professional work experience.

For more information see The CIA Clandestine Service overview and Undergraduate Internship Program – NCS.

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Welcoming Presidential Scholarship Applicants


On Saturday, January 31st, Missouri State University hosted applicants for the 2015-2016 Presidential Scholarships. Political Science Department Head, George Connor, is pictured with Jim Bellis, representing the School of Agriculture.

More information about Presidential Scholarships can be found at the MSU Financial Aid website https://www.missouristate.edu/secure/financialaid/presidentialapp.htm.

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