Successful mentorship in the Political Science program
October 8, 2021
“King's truly is the place to be and a place where we can become who we want to be, beyond our wildest dreams,” says Mackenzie White, BA Hons ’21 (Political Science and Social Justice & Peace Studies).
White is off to pursue her dreams of a career in international diplomacy as she begins a Master of Arts in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (University of Waterloo) this fall.
White is not alone in her successful start to a graduate school journey. In total, 35% of 4th year students in Political Science applied for law school or graduate school. Every student who applied to graduate school received a first-round offer with a minimum funding guarantee of $7,000 and an average funding guarantee of $15,000. Every student who applied for law school was accepted to a program of their choice, including University of Toronto Law, Osgoode Hall Law, Western Law, Ottawa Law and Ryerson Law.
“At King’s, I was able to build relationships with my professors and this enriched my sense of belonging,” says Lorena Kettle, BA Hons ’21 (Political Science and Criminology). Kettle says the warm and welcoming environment at King’s and the intimate class sizes allows students to connect with their professors and classmates on a deeper level. She is currently studying at the Norm Patterson School of International Affairs (Carleton University) to pursue her Master’s in International Affairs.
Applying to graduate school can seem intimidating to many students, and faculty mentorship is a supportive way to help students navigate this unfamiliar process. In Fall 2020, Political Science faculty mentored and worked with students throughout the academic year to help enhance their competitiveness for law school, graduate school and graduate funding.
“When it came to the success of myself or my fellow students, it never felt like there was a scarcity of opportunity or resources and this came from the great mentorship from faculty,” says Liam Semple, BA Hons ’21 (Political Science). Semple is at the University of Guelph this fall to pursue a Master’s of Collaborative Specialization in International Development Studies.
Semple describes the environment at King’s as “a supportive community that makes you want to do better,” with faculty mentorship playing a vital role. His classmates share this sentiment, including Zainab Al-Jaiashi, BA Hons ’21 (Political Science and Social Justice & Peace Studies).
“I was able to create relationships and receive mentorship from professors who I admire greatly. These professors care so deeply about their students and their success. I wholeheartedly do not think I would have been as successful at King’s and in applying to masters' programs without the guidance and mentorship of Political Science faculty,” says Al-Jaiashi. Along with White, she is also pursuing a Master’s in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs this fall.
While faculty mentorship played an immense role in assisting students with their graduate school applications, peer-to-peer mentorship was just as prevalent, and its role just as important.
“I think, as students, having a mentor is vitally important because it not only increases our own confidence, but teaches us to adopt mentorship with one another. It is extremely fulfilling to be able to support my peers and see them grow alongside myself. The Political Science program is fundamentally cooperative, so from day one, students learn the value in supporting one another,” says Kettle.
White agrees that the collaborative learning environment that is created through seminars, debates and simulations taught students to respect each other, have an open dialogue, and uplift each other in the successes and challenges that they face. “Mentorship plays a vital role; having an open-door policy with professors and learning alongside students of all years in our program are huge assets to succeeding in research, reaching goals, and making life-long friendships. The accessibility, kindness, and support that is available is incomparable,” says White.
“I think that it is rare that students can mentor and support one another, even though we are competing against each another for the same graduate programs and scholarships. Our professors engrained in us from the beginning the importance of mentorship and support, and this was reflected in the graduate admissions process,” says Kettle.
When students work together to help each other succeed, the opportunities are as endless as their potential.
“Supporting each other did not mean that one person surpassed another, but rather that we could all thrive together,” says Al-Jaiashi.
Driven by a shared goal to make the world a better place to be, these political science graduates will no doubt go on to do incredible things and leave a positive mark on this world. These are the future leaders of tomorrow; these are King’s political science graduates.
Upcoming Application to Law and Graduate School Seminars
This fall, the Political Science Department continues its tradition of hosting seminars to assist students with applications for law school, graduate school, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funding, and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program. Students who are considering applying to graduate or law school are encouraged to register for these workshops, hosted by Dr. Andrea Lawlor and Dr. John Grant:
Tuesday, October 12 at 10:30 a.m. – Graduate School Scholarships: (OGS/SSHRC) Workshop
Tuesday, October 19 at 10:30 a.m. – Law School Application Workshop
These seminars are open to King's students from all departments. To register, email Denise Cooke for the Zoom link.