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Read what our current students say about our programs.


Leo Spaeder

I am a first year graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science part-time at Villanova.  After graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics, I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.  I deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Fallujah, Al Anbar Province, Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  In Iraq, I worked with local civilian contractors to transfer Marine battle positions to the Iraqi Police as part of the U.S. withdrawal.  While in Afghanistan, I coordinated the deployment of a battalion of soldiers from the Republic of Georgia as part of the NATO mission as well as supported a Food Zone Program tasked with reducing narcotics production.  After returning from Afghanistan, I was transferred to a Marine Corps Reserve unit in New Jersey where I currently serve.  Inspired by my sister graduating from Penn last summer, I decided to experience the liberal arts degree that I wish I had pursued as an undergraduate.  The opportunity to study at Villanova has not only made me more competitive for promotion but also has provided insight on the processes that lead to the deployment of the U.S. military throughout the world.  The faculty and fellow students here at Villanova have been nothing but supportive and their diverse opinions have expanded my outlook on a variety of issues.  It has been a rewarding experience that undoubtedly has made me a better Marine Officer.


Shishav Parajuli

I am completing my first year as a master’s student in the Political Science department. Driven by a “desire to question the definitions, the “taken-for-granteds” and everything in between,” I left my home country of Nepal to attend the Great Books Program as an undergraduate at St. John's College in New Mexico. At Villanova my current areas of study include (but are not limited to): Marxism, feminism and specifically the role of female combatants in Nepali Maoist revolutions, cultural hegemony and political consciousness, the Washington consensus, trade liberalization and its impact on the caste system and identity politics. My research lies at the intersection between economic determinism and cultural identities across gender-based, caste-based, and region-based divisions, particularly within Nepal.  My time here at Villanova, so far, has challenged my understanding and in doing, liberated my pursuit of understanding society, its constituents and its apparent problems; I believe my time in Villanova to be the continuation of my pursuit of education with an aim to free myself from induced and self-imposed ignorance. I am also the recipient of a Graduate Summer Research Fellowship to work with Professor Maria Toyoda on the mechanisms of Aid Effectiveness Indicators.


Jessica Wamala

I am a student in the Five-Year Political Science Graduate program here at Villanova. As an undergraduate, I majored in Political Science, Arab and Islamic Studies, and Global Interdisciplinary Studies and I am a student in the Honors Program. My undergraduate thesis research focused on women’s political participation in Egypt and Tunisia before and after the 2011 revolutions, under the advisement of Villanova Professors Dr. Abugideiri and Dr. Warrick. Outside of the classroom, I play Division I women’s basketball for Villanova University. I have benefited from enrichment programs, past internships with the federal government, and was recently awarded the 2012 Harry S. Truman Scholarship for a commitment to public service. During the summer of 2012, I received the chance to broaden my knowledge of US foreign relations through a Department of State internship at the US Embassy Belgrade. This summer, I have the opportunity to work as an intern in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in Washington, DC. After graduation, I hope to translate my passion into a career in the Foreign Service as a political officer. I am excited to continue my education in the Villanova community that has become my home, studying under the leadership of amazing faculty and staff to broaden my knowledge of foreign affairs.


William D'Aquila

I came to Villanova after completing my undergraduate studies at Indiana University. Villanova's wide course selection, as well as the ability to take classes outside of my discipline were all attractive factors. After visiting the University and meeting with the faculty, it was clear this would be the institution that would allow me to grow academically and as a person. I am currently finishing my first year in the Political Science Graduate Program, with a concentration in International Relations and Comparative Politics, with research interests in dark networks, corruption, the Middle East, and rentier states.


Colleen Dougherty

I am a graduate student and Tuition Scholar in the Political Science Department’s M.A. program.  I began my studies at Villanova in 2011 after receiving a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame (2004), where my interest in social science research was sparked while working at ND’s Institute for Latino Studies, and an M.L.A from the University of Pennsylvania (2010), where I am employed as an analyst in the University Office of Budget and Management Analysis.   In Fall 2013, I will enter the Political Science PhD program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and I credit my experience at Villanova with enabling me to take this next step towards becoming a political science scholar.  At Villanova, I have focused my studies on comparative political economy and social welfare.  Through challenging coursework and mentorship of the political science faculty, my experience in VU's M.A. program has helped me to refine my research interests and has prepared me to perform the disciplined research that will be required at the doctoral level.  In my PhD program, I hope to continue researching cross-national differences in political and economic institutions and the ways in which these impact the daily lives and well-being of individuals. I thank Villanova for affording me an invaluable opportunity to successfully pursue my academic and professional goals.

Abigail Minor
Senior Administrative Assistant
Department of Political Science
Villanova University
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
Phone: 610.519.4710
Fax: 610.519.7487

Academics: Villanova University Liberal Arts and Sciences