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June Member of the Month




DR. LORRIE FRASURE-YOKLEY
JUNE MEMBER OF THE MONTH

University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Political Science
Member since 2002


 



WHY DID YOU BECOME A POLITICAL SCIENTIST?
I was first inspired to become a political scientist while an undergraduate at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC), where I received outstanding mentorship from Professors Dianne Pinderhughes (*Notre Dame), Louis Desipio (*University of California, Irvine) and Todd Shaw (*University of South Carolina). Over twenty years since first meeting these scholars who changing my life, I still pinch myself that I now call them colleagues in our discipline. Prior to pursuing a doctorate, I completed a Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and interned at the United States Government Accountability Office (formerly the U.S. General Accounting Office) in Washington, D.C. However, I decided to become a political scientist to have the autonomy to conduct research and teach others about the socio-economic and political issues affecting the lives of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. 

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

I joined APSA because it serves as our professional network to present our work and connect with scholars in our discipline. However, I continue to take leadership roles within the association because I want to help our diverse association continue to evolve and inclusively confront the challenges and opportunities facing political scientists.  I have served in leadership positions such as co-organizer of the APSA Working Group on Immigration and U.S. Politics, the Executive Council’s Racial and Ethnic Politics Section, Best Dissertation Committee, and more recently, the Inaugural Chair of APSA’s new standing Committee on the Status of First Generation Higher Education Scholars in the Profession. I am so excited about the work of this new APSA standing committee, which serves parallel and in collaboration with the existing status committees on Asian-Pacific Americans, Blacks, Latinos y Latinas, LGBTQs and Women in the Profession. The goal is to bring focused attention to the ways in which class, economic inequality, and mobility can affect political scientists’ ability to thrive educationally and professionally.

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF BEING A POLITICAL SCIENTIST? HOW?
In 2015, I became the first woman of color to earn tenure and promotion in the Political Science Department at UCLA. The academic pipeline for people of color in our profession continues to be one of the most challenging aspects of being a political scientist.  This is because for many departments, diversity and inclusion still equals one or perhaps a few faculty of color. This challenges scholars of color to proactively balance their research and teaching goals with broad service demands and intense mentorship of graduate and undergraduates, both inside and outside of their discipline. I work collaboratively to provide opportunities for the next generation of scholars to enter academia, to thrive and to successfully earn tenure. At the undergraduate level, I co-founded The Dianne M. Pinderhughes Foundation , (DMPF, Inc.), a non-profit organization named after APSA’s first African American female President. The nonprofit provides multiple scholarships for undergraduate students, of all backgrounds, to attend and present their research at the Annual Meeting of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS). We hope to inspire a new generation of undergraduates to consider a career of teaching and research at the College/University level. In addition to working with our outstanding students at UCLA, I work with a team of researchers to build the academic pipeline of scholars in political science, and the social sciences more broadly through bringing together a multidisciplinary group of researchers at varying stages of their academic careers as part of a research cooperative. The 2016 Collaborative Multi-Racial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) was the first cooperative, 100% user content driven, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, post-election online survey in race, ethnicity and politics (REP) in the United States. We queried more than 10,000 people in five languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. To include the most comprehensive list of over 350 electoral, civic and policy-related survey questions, a team of 86 contributors from 55 colleges and universities contributed question content. Participating cooperative scholars include junior and senior faculty from small and large research institutions, HBCUs and HSIs, as well as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Building the pipeline is more than just talk about diversity and inclusion. It is a commitment of time, resources and outreach.

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

I encourage graduate students to develop a sense of your professional research agenda and goals early on. When a colleague approaches you to join a project or otherwise collaborate, chances are they have established a sense of their goals and considered how you fit into them.  Ask yourself, “how does this opportunity enhance or take away from my long-term professional goals and current responsibilities.”  The worst advice  received as a woman of color in the discipline was, “just say no.” This advice lacked tools regarding how or when to say no to a senior colleague or administrator when you are a graduate student or junior faculty member--particularly if you are first generation, female, or a person of color.  To start, I suggest avoid saying yes prior to 24 hours. You might say, “this sounds like an exciting opportunity; give me day or so to think about how this request fits with my current responsibilities for (advancing to candidacy/completing my dissertation).” While you may agree to the request/opportunity, at least you give yourself time to think it through, discuss the best approach/conditions with a mentor to accept, defer or decline. The goal is to try to make the decision that aligns with your priorities/agenda.  For undergraduates, I suggest engagement in research with a faculty member via independent study or volunteering their skill set towards an ongoing research project. Do not be afraid to step up and ask for research opportunities. 

 

OUTSIDE OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOURSELF. 

I am a first generation college graduate, born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. I attended Chicago Public Schools (K-12). Chicago has a rich socio-political and cultural history as well as a lasting legacy of racial segregation and discrimination. In my interviews, focus groups, or survey research, I draw on my community’s narratives of migration, racial change and integration in Chicago.  My upbringing and hometown instilled a pioneering spirit, an ability to overcome challenges, and the knowledge of the importance of paying it forward.

*Indicates current institutional affiliation 


 

American Political Science Association
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