Why I Majored in Politics

Drea Alonzo ’26

In high school, I was always unsure of what I wanted to pursue. After involving myself in a local research study in my hometown, I learned about the importance of community outreach and advocacy. While engaging with local families during this study, I was exposed to the inequalities and systemic barriers that were affecting my community. I decided then that I wanted to study politics to gain more knowledge on why inequitable systems exist and what can be done to reform them.

Learning about theory, presenting comparative case studies, and having rigorous discussions on pressing political issues with my peers allows me to broaden my universal understanding of politics. While the answers to these issues are not always found through the readings or discussions, classes like US Immigration Policy and Law and Politics, have allowed me to think critically about issues on a deeper level.

I also decided to pair my politics major with Chicano/Latino Studies because of my background and love for my community. My hometown of predominantly Latino immigrants and non-English speakers is the most vulnerable to systemic inequalities, which limit my community’s ability to exist comfortably. Pairing these two majors gave me a deeper understanding of the political mechanisms that put these communities at a disadvantage while using the historical context of Latinos in the United States to find methods of empowering and uplifting them.

By completing these two majors I hope to leave Pomona adequately prepared to aid disadvantaged and underserved communities through advocacy and writing policy that will improve their lives.

Ezra Adasiak ’25

I was initially interested in studying politics because of my high school involvement in local organizing. It seemed like fires were constantly popping up around me that our political institutions could do little to quench, and I wanted to understand why and what could be done. While I haven’t found many hard and fast answers, my professors have given me tools to parse through complex policies and social issues. I fell in love with political theory early on: reading, discussing, and making shaky attempts to generate my own, but I have felt my classes stayed grounded in history and people’s tangible experiences. I’ve had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of things like political economy and queer politics and to develop new areas of interest like labor justice and social movements. The lessons I’ve learned in politics have proved invaluable in my classes across disciplines, and in life.

Kaylin Kim ’24

The future demands policymakers capable of collaboration with a diverse network of people, and that is why I chose the politics major. Delving into the nascent realms of AI governance, climate security, global health, and cybersecurity, my goal is to assemble diverse voices—politicians, scientists, historians, anthropologists, philosophers—in a collaborative effort to humanize and enhance policymaking.

The politics major emerged as the platform to expand my capacity to address such pressing issues. Its interdisciplinary approach, cohort of students with diverse interests, and highly customizable curriculum prevented me from narrowing my interests. Initially an international relations major, I soon switched to politics so I could explore myriad classes from other majors, pursue a minor in Asian studies, and obtain a concentration in international relations.

The nuanced perspectives gained from the four subfields of the major (political theory, American politics, comparative politics, and international relations) helped me tackle internships and research opportunities comprehensively. More importantly, the intimate nature of the Politics Department allowed me to grow deep relationships with its professors. With the guidance of politics professors, such as Professor Tom Le, I found my passion in East Asian and Pacific affairs. Inspired, I interned with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in the U.S. State Department (both in Washington, D.C., and at an embassy abroad), and the Pacific Forum.

Politics students at Pomona College are unparalleled and the department is a hub of extraordinary thinking and investigation. Being in such an environment has allowed me to flourish. The interpersonal and analytical skills gained through the major will continue to help me flourish in my master’s program at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Jake Ballantine ’24

Initially, I chose to major in politics because I really enjoyed my history and government classes in high school and felt that studying politics would allow me to continue to pursue these interests while learning very applicable lessons. In the Politics Department, professors aim to assign readings with important lessons and impactful takeaways. While there are very few clear-cut answers to important political issues, studying politics enables you to develop a deeper understanding of power dynamics at play.

On a more surface level, I was able to double major in politics and economics because of the flexibility of the major. Politics functions as a “design-your-own” major, where students have jurisdiction to select any classes they wish to take, ranging from American politics to theory to international politics. Some of my highlights include Sports and Politics, Law and Politics, and California Politics (CMC). Additionally, studying politics helped me build a variety of skills, including uncovering important takeaways from readings, writing essays built around a claim, and developing speaking skills through presenting slides and leading discussions.

Outside of the classroom, I have been able to pursue politics by receiving a summer research grant to study polarization, interning on The Hill with Senator Dianne Feinstein, and taking a post-grad consulting position at Guidehouse, with their West Coast State and Local Government team. More informally, I will leave Pomona with a deeper understanding on how a variety of different governments and other types of administrations function (and why they can be ineffective) as well as how politics plays a role in the life of every individual. I believe these lessons will be useful regardless of the career path I pursue.