Department Representatives

Questions for the department? Contact us at

Political Science Representatives

Zachary Handlin


Political Science

Zach Handlin

I decided to become a political science major because we have a great department and really interesting classes. Please feel free to approach me if you have any questions about getting involved in the major or the International Relations Organization/Model United Nations team, which I help run!
Matthew Good
Political ScienceDepartment Representative Matt Good
My interest is primarily the U.S. Government, in terms of its operation and institutions. I am also interested in public policy as it relates to social issues and governmental ethics/accountability. I chose this major because it lines up with interests I have had my entire life. I have always been fascinated with politics and government, so it’s really right down my alley.
Andrew Sharpe
Political ScienceDepartment Representative Andrew Sharpe
I chose to be a Political Science major to think more independently about how the world functions around me. I believe a major in Political Science opens many opportunities to grow as a person and quickly find work upon graduation. Within this major, I am mainly interested in public policy surrounding education and the election process. Upon graduation, I hope to either continue working on campaigns or in a legislative office to help draft meaningful legislation regarding education policy. I have experience as an intern on Jeremy McPike’s State Senate campaign and as a fellow in the past Presidential election for Hillary Clinton. More recently, I was an intern in the Office of Gerry Connolly on Capitol Hill. All of these have provided me with valuable experience that I hope to continue to use in my time here at Mary Washington and beyond.
John Cronin
Political ScienceDepartment Representative John Cronin
I decided to become a political science major because I am interested in the reasons that systems of government form and how governments act. I like to focus more on domestic policy and how politicians/political groups talk about the issues at hand. However, a recent study abroad trip to Cuba this past summer has also grown my interest in international relations, specifically toward Latin America. I work as a fellow on a local delegate campaign race up in Virginia’s 42nd district, and I am currently still helping them by organizing phone calling on campus to voters in the district.
Gabriel Lewis
Political ScienceDepartment Representative Gabriel Lewis
 I have always been interested politics and international affairs so the Political Science major has been a perfect fit for me. Through the courses in the major, I have learned about various aspects of public policy and lawmaking that hadn’t crossed my mind prior to attending UMW. Women and Public Policy, Women and Politics, History of Political Thought, and the Federal Judiciary have been among the most interesting classes I have taken at UMW. The professors in the department do an excellent job of facilitating discussion and incorporating students’ thoughts and ideas into the material. This makes difficult concepts easier to understand while also making the material more interesting and relevant to students. After graduating I would like to work in an advocacy group or a think tank. I am passionate about environmental sustainability, closing the gender pay gap, increasing access to healthcare, and expanding rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. Additionally, I am very interested in lawmaking and the impact interest groups have on legislation. I feel prepared to enter the workforce in a few years because of the speaking, writing, and critical thinking skills this major has taught me.
 Jeremy Engel
Political ScienceDepartment Representative Jeremy Engel
Growing up in the shadow of the District of Columbia, I have long been fascinated by our nation’s political process. The 2016 Presidential election only heightened this interest, and with the excellent professors I had in the Political Science department my freshman year, I couldn’t see any path for my education other than pursuing a degree in politics. I’m not a natural politician in the slightest, so I don’t ever see myself running for office, but I do hope to work on Capitol Hill in some capacity after graduation. It is the constituency service and legislative aspects of D.C. that most interest me. This past summer I had the privilege of being a political operative of sorts, working in conjunction with my Representative to the Maryland House of Delegates. At his request I made a voters guide for my local Town Council elections, which in the end was widely credited with dramatically increasing voter turnout. I also interned with my former Mayor in his bid for a seat on the County Council, staffing numerous campaign events, organizing volunteers, and canvassing. It all proved to be wonderful experience, and this upcoming summer I hope to intern with my Congressman!
Zareen Emdad
Political ScienceDepartment Representative Zareen Emdad
I hope to work with interest groups or advocacy groups in the future with my political science degree. I chose this major because I saw that not many people of my ethnic background (Muslim-Bengali-American) are interested in politics even though it affects their daily lives. I want to be more knowledgeable about politics so that I may be able to spread the knowledge amongst my community and help them know their rights. I am also minoring is Social Justice, have volunteered with ADAMS civic engagement, and interned with Virginia Tree Farm Foundation. ADAMS civic engagement is a group establish in the ADAMS mosque community to educate the Muslim voters of their rights and encourage them to perform their civic duty as citizens.

International Affairs Representatives

Julia Gibbons
International AffairsDepartment Representative Julia GibbonsDepartment Student Aide
The International Affairs major was the perfect major for me. I have always been interested in history and economics, and my father’s career in the State Department involved my family moving to new and interesting posts around the world. I was lucky to receive an education in Denmark, Australia, and Vietnam, and those experiences had a profound impact on my values and interests. During my time at Mary Washington, I have been an active member of International Relations Organization, a group that participates in Model United Nations conferences around the country.
Kyle R. Lehmann
International AffairsDepartment Representative Kyle Lehman
Hello prospective International Affairs Majors, my name is Kyle Lehmann. My interests in the major have been examining the dynamic politics and geopolitical situation of East Asia. In addition, the economics classes offered by UMW as well as those in the Security and Conflict Studies minor have interested me as well. At the moment of writing this, I have not declared a minor, but I will most likely pursue a minor in Economics and/or Security and Conflict Studies. With my degree, I would like to further pursue a path towards becoming a part of the U.S. Foreign Service.