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August Member of the Month



DR. JOSEPH WEINBERG
AUGUST MEMBER OF THE MONTH

University of Southern Mississippi
Department of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs
Member since 2005


 



WHY DID YOU BECOME A POLITICAL SCIENTIST?
My grandfather was a State Senator and a US Representative, so my interest in politics goes back quite a way. When he was sworn in as a member of the 99th Congress, he took me (age 6) down to the floor with him and I took the oath of office from Tip O’Neill as well. When it came time for college, there were no other real options for my undergraduate major. I went to work on Capitol Hill soon after graduating. Of course, my career in politics was quite different than my career as a political scientist. For that I would have to credit those professors who influenced my decision to pursue a teaching career. Dr. Jim Thurber at American University and Dr. Bill Sabo at UNC-Asheville were particularly influential as political scientists and mentors.

WHY DID YOU JOIN APSA AND WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO STAY INVOLVED?

Like everyone else, I came to the website for the job ads and I stayed for the rest. As my career has progressed, I am finding the utility of all the useful information that the website and organization can provide—especially as my administrative obligations increase. The annual conference is one of the few that I never miss. I am always sure to get good feedback on my papers, learn about interesting new research and see old friends. 

 

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF BEING A POLITICAL SCIENTIST? HOW?
I have had many different jobs over the years—enough to know that I shouldn’t complain too much about this one. Beyond the usual challenges of any academic career, I think political scientists face the additional challenge of a constantly changing landscape. In order to keep our teaching and research relevant, we must be able to keep up with a great deal of real-time information and adapt for our students very quickly. That and I think we can all agree that it’s never a good idea to tell people on an airplane what you do for a living. Recently, I’ve been claiming to be an Economist. Works every time. 

IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE IN THEIR GRADUATE/UNDERGRADUATE YEARS, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

I had a difficult time in graduate school—trying to figure out if the journey was worth it; if this is what I really wanted to do. No one can make that decision for you, but it is perfectly normal and if you’ve been writing a dissertation for two years and the thought of quitting has never crossed your mind, then you don’t need any advice. The best quick tips I can give beyond that are:  1) Become proficient in methods—it is the gift that keeps on giving. 2) If you are demoralized by rejection letters and want to know what a “publishable” article looks like—look at a published article. Then make yours look like that. (Thanks to Dr. Ryan Bakker for teaching me that one) and 3) Always be polite, always be professional, it’s a VERY small world.

OUTSIDE OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOURSELF. 
I have a very useless superpower in which I am constantly meeting famous people. I don’t seek these people out, but I always seem to wind up running into them. Living in both DC and Los Angeles certainly put me in the right areas, but no matter where I am—if there’s a celebrity—they will find me. I could make a list, but it would be too long and besides: “Nobody likes a name dropper”. Robert DeNiro told me that. 

back-motm

American Political Science Association
1527 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036-1206
(202) 483-2512 • Fax: +1 (202) 483-2657

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