This summer I’ve gotten involved in research in a major way for the first time, in political science. I am a physics and math major, and have had other little forays into research in those subjects, but nothing that I’ve found meaningful. This past year, I had been realizing that I don’t want to go to graduate school for physics, and started giving thought to graduate studies in social science. I was hesitant, though, because while I don’t want a pure math degree, I didn’t want to stop doing math. After talking to a few professors and researching graduate programs, I was pointed to Dr. James Morrow. Dr. Morrow received his bachelor’s degree in math from CalTech, then went on to get his PhD. in political science. Needless to say I was excited, as this was exactly the sort of thing I was now thinking of doing.
I met with Dr. Morrow and he told me about his projects and his path through academia. He gave me suggestions for graduate programs to look into, including, of course, political science, as well as public policy and operations research. Finally, he told me that he does not have the funding to pay me for working on research with him, but that he would think of projects to work on.
At a later meeting, we discussed the possibility of my being funded through the LSA Internship Scholarship if he could classify my work with him as an internship, and he gave me two possibilities for projects to work on. He eventually decided that we would work on selectorate theory, a theory he had published with other authors years earlier, but which has room for expansion. The first task he gave me was to read the book he co-authored that contained all work on selectorate theory so far: The Logic of Political Survival.
I was excited about this opportunity, as I love mathematics, but also love history and international politics. It seemed that I had finally found a way of merging these two interests.