Model UN & Research in the Social Sciences

Model UN & Research in the Social Sciences

I came to Barnard with an interest in politics. I’ve always found the dynamics of political power fascinating, and I’ve always liked keeping up with the news. When I chose Barnard, I had heard of the activist culture on campus - from environmentalists to political activists, the dedication and awareness of the student body is incredible. However, this wasn’t exactly the path I had envisioned for myself. My goal was to learn the theories and fundamentals behind politics and to find a way to apply those principles to my own life as much as possible. By my sophomore year, I had found exactly what I was looking for: a combination of declaring a political science major, conducting research for the poli sci department and joining the Model UN team.

I completely fell in love with political science during my first semester here. I took “Intro to American Politics” and immediately knew that I was going to major in that field. This class by Professor Miller taught me so much; I still use all of that knowledge in my upper level courses. Professor Miller also made political science fun by filling his powerpoints with memes! I enjoyed this class so much that I decided to take a class with him next semester, regardless of the topic. This landed me in a rather difficult class about research methods, but it was worth it. In fact, taking this research methods class was the reason that Prof. Miller offered me a position to be a research assistant later that semester! I’ve been doing research for the past year and I love seeing how political science knowledge is developing.

During my sophomore year, I also decided to join the Columbia Model UN team. I can safely say that I found a second family in this group. Our team is great in every possible way. We all have a similar passion for politics, diplomacy, history and international relations. We get caught up in discussions that would sound positively mad to anyone else, like how a wedding would happen in feudal Japan. Last year, we even finished practice early to watch the State of the Union speech together as a team! We are also a “no-cut” team, so everyone is welcome to join and learn together - no prior experience needed. My first year on the team, I got to compete at Georgetown, Harvard and UChicago. I enjoyed the opportunity to travel, network, and make new friends.  

As a rising junior,  I could not be more excited about the two years ahead of me. I’ll start taking the seminars for my political science major next fall. My first seminar is called “American Elections” and it is taught by - you guessed it - Professor Miller! I’m looking forward to writing in depth about the topics I’ve been researching. I’ll continue to be involved in the Model UN team, and hopefully I will travel to more fun places (I’m hoping for a California school this time!).

Looking back at where I was when I came to Barnard, I didn’t know how many diverse experiences you could have here. I now see how every student carves their own path by exploring their interests and their options. We are a student body comprised of researchers, activists, campus representatives, party members and journalists. I’m so glad I found my corner at Barnard and I’m looking forward to new adventures over the next two years.

- Pilar Ferreira '20

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