Josh Fidler

Liberal Arts Building Exterior
Political Science Major

How Did You Decide To Come To SUNY Brockport?

I have lived in the Brockport area for over a decade. I attended Brockport Central Schools from fifth grade through my senior year. This town is definitely an excellent community to grow up in. I always enjoyed the small town atmosphere of Brockport. For years, I passed by the College daily on my way to school. I had always considered attending SUNY Brockport; however, like many high school students, I considered other universities as well. But Brockport was always the main frontrunner. In my senior year of high school, I participated in the 3-1-3 program — a curriculum which gives high school seniors an opportunity to complete the first year of their bachelor’s degree in the final year of grade school. This was an excellent opportunity, as it not only introduced me to college life, but it also cemented SUNY Brockport as my university of choice. Brockport offers its students a wide variety of opportunities that caught my attention as well. The combined degree program, for instance, which allows college seniors to complete a large portion of their master’s degree in their final year of undergraduate study, was an attractive proposition for me. Overall, it was the strong community and the numerous unique opportunities that led me to choose SUNY Brockport as my institution for higher learning.

How Did You Select Your Major?

I have been interested in politics since I was a child. I was always fascinated with the presidency, elections, and congress. Social Studies was my favorite subject throughout all of grade school. However, my interest in politics really expanded when I was in tenth grade. I became enthralled with the 2010 midterm elections at this time. The heated races and the candidates who ran in the elections greatly interested me. During this time I learned more about the intricacies of the American political system. At this point, politics became my primary academic interest. I knew at this point that I wanted to build upon this interest and pursue a career in politics, or at least one that is related to the subject. That is when I decided that I would major in political science when I entered college.

What Surprised You The Most About Being A PLS Major?

What surprised me the most about being a political science major was the research opportunities that have been offered to me. When I first entered college, I thought that the vast majority of what I would be doing would be reading textbooks and listening to lectures. While that is still an important piece of the college experience, I was pleasantly surprised by the engaging opportunities that were available. In my first semester, Dr. Saiya, Brockport’s director of international studies, offered me an opportunity to participate in an independent study with the goal of analyzing the causes of religious terrorism. Through this project, my writing and research skills improved dramatically as well as my knowledge of the international side of politics. I was not expecting to have this level of “hands-on” practical research offered to me. I am deeply grateful for these types of opportunities, and I strongly urge other PLS majors to seek them out.

What Are Your Long-Range Goals?

First, I plan to finish my master’s degree in public administration at SUNY Brockport. My long-term goal is to eventually enter the political arena by running for public office. However, I recognize that it will take time to develop the necessary connections and establish myself as an active leader within the community. To reach this end, I will pursue a career in local government in order to strengthen my ties with local communities and expand my knowledge of governance, in order to become an effective representative for my future constituents.

Do You Have Any Advice To Give To Your Fellow Students?

My advice to my fellow students is to actively participate in your courses and think critically. Question your own beliefs and what is presented to you. Keep an open mind about other perspectives and learn to appreciate them. This will allow you to further develop your own opinions and learn from others who may have a differing viewpoint. One way to do this is to actively participate in class discussions. I have found these as a useful means of not only offering a viewpoint, but also of learning about other opinions. They also help expand upon my knowledge of course concepts though gaining alternative perspectives on a given topic. Active participation will not only improve your grade, but it will help you develop opinions on the course materials. Furthermore, it will also assist in developing a rapport with the instructor and fellow classmates, which can potentially create lifelong connections.

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