Paige Pepitone ’19

Paige Pepitone '19

The most pressing issues facing the world today are incredibly nuanced, and I was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of international relations because it equips you with the theory necessary to think through potential solutions. I also really value the global perspective international relations encourages its students to take, and am very excited about the direction the program is moving as it increasingly places its emphasis on research methods and anthropology courses so we can acknowledge the different power dynamics and privileges that are embedded in studying international relations in a U.S. institution.

I love the community of the international relations program: my cohort is so incredibly supportive and we've made great memories struggling through the major requirement courses together. The professors are also extremely passionate about the material, doing brilliant research, and dedicated to their students, and I want to give them credit for inspiring a love for the program in me.

This summer, I'm conducting research in Barcelona, Spain, for my thesis on how community organizations facilitate the social integration of migrants, specifically looking at what services these entities provide to meet the needs of Muslim female migrants who have recently arrived in Barcelona. I've really enjoyed engaging with these organizations and speaking to people about their experiences. My IR theory has also played a critical role in informing how I think about immigration issues and steps that can be taken within communities to support migrants as they transition to living in a new country. 

Nina Zhou ’19

Nina Zhou ’19

I truly believe that the IR program at Pomona is the epitome of a liberal arts experience. The major is designed to push students to learn and think from different perspectives—politics, history, economics, anthropology—and broaden their view of the world by studying abroad or learning another language. The professors are genuinely nice and interested in mentoring students both inside and outside of the classroom. But what’s most amazing about the IR program is its cohort of scholars. I am constantly amazed by my peers who hail from all parts of the world, their academic brilliance and dedication to challenging convention and exploring uncharted waters.

As a “third culture” kid who grew up in Canada, China and the United States, international relations felt like a natural choice. Coming to Pomona, I was interested in East Asian history and politics, intercultural exchange, and the relationship between the East and the West. I wanted to learn Japanese and study abroad in Tokyo. IR allowed me to pursue all of these interests, and its interdisciplinary focus meant that I could synthesize what I learn from each discipline together. The intro class I took with Professor Tom Le my freshman spring—an absolutely intellectually stimulating journey—sealed the deal. I have found great mentors and close friends in the IR program. My professors consistently work to introduce a variety of perspectives and scholarship in classes, and encourage students to explain and defend their opinions. Because of IR, I’ve had to rethink some of my most fundamental assumptions of society, countries, and our world, and it has made me much more confident in my beliefs today. The IR program has helped me become a well-rounded scholar, and I encourage all incoming students to consider majoring in IR!

Rena May Childers ’20

Rena May Childers ’20

Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, I always imagined working in international affairs. This has manifested into a number of career ambitions, including being a senator, a lawyer, a representative to the U.N., an advocacy consultant, etc. After investigating possible paths to these careers, it became clear that international relations best suits all of these occupations. Meeting the wide variety of professors teaching courses within the major solidified my decision to pursue international affairs.

After taking classes in many different disciplines, including history, politics, anthropology, sociology and economics, I came to appreciate the incredible opportunity that the international relations major offers to students like myself with wide-ranging interests. A few professors made an especially large impact on my academic pursuits: Professor Heather Williams, Professor Tom Le and Professor Stephen Marks, in particular. The courses they taught were thoroughly engaging but did not fall into my former understanding of exciting academia. Following the competition of their courses, however, I was astounded by my own level of curiosity in the subjects. Professor Williams brought to light the political underpinnings of agronomy in her course entitled Global Politics of Food & Agriculture, Professor Le illustrated how exciting international theory can be in his International Relations Seminar, and Professor Marks instilled an interest in International Economic Relations that I never would have anticipated before taking his class.