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Michael Miner

Mr. Michael Miner (Class of 2008)

Biography:

Mr. Michael Miner is a 2008 Alumna of Fitchburg State University where he earned a BS in Political Science and a BS in Communications Media. While at Fitchburg State, I began a career at an international consultancy based in Washington and Boston where I continued following graduation. After several years I left the firm to attend graduate school at Dartmouth College, culminating with my Master’s Thesis entitled “Systematic Governance in the Iranian State,” based on my Fitchburg State’s Senior Thesis. Presently, I teach government and writing at Harvard University and am working on my doctoral dissertation in London. My research interests include twentieth century diplomatic history, organizational theory, and area studies in East Asia and the Persian Gulf.

As a high school student I had been initially been attracted to the Fitchburg State University’s outstanding Communications Media Program. Yet, I also had a keen interest in learning how effectively to apply that skillset in a changing world and understanding that world led me to enroll in Political Science classes as a freshman. Like my colleagues I was excited by my early class experiences with the faculty and, soon thereafter, realized I wanted Political Science to play just as strong a role in my studies as Communication Media studies. One discipline explains how the world works and the other trained me how to operate as a professional within an increasingly complex information environment. These two interests collided at Fitchburg State University and helped lay the foundation of my professional career.

Impact the University had on my career path:

From freshman year to my senior thesis, I went through a series of experiences that helped shape my own professional aspirations. The New England liberal arts campus environment was essential, but so, too, was the practical application of Political Science theory. Our Model United Nations team regularly competed at Harvard, Yale, and other institutions inside and outside of the country. Classroom simulations and exercises trained me to think as a policymaker before I would go to advise them as a consultant. The undergraduate senior thesis process prepared me for the highest level professionally to research. Studying abroad in Scotland as an undergraduate also led down roads to Washington, London, Brussels, and the wider European Union, opening doors and networks rife with possibilities.

The university provided this wonderful environment for personal and professional growth, and I strongly believe you cannot have one without the other. Indeed, the collegiate experience is a personal journey of self-discovery as much as it is unlocking unrealized potential. Learning the skillsets and tools for future careers is first and foremost one of the best elements of the curriculum, but putting those lessons into motion is what sets Fitchburg State apart. Whether it was our formative years as founders of the Model United Nations Club, crisis simulation scenarios in our upper-level Political Science Course in Conduct on American Foreign Policy, or casual afterhours meetings of the Political Science club and “Shiraz Institute,” there was never a dull moment nor opportunity lost for camaraderie and friendships that would last a lifetime.

I offer the following advice for current and prospective Political Science students:

  • Get out of the country and travel. Study abroad or go on faculty-led trips.
  • Join the Model United Nations team. It’s a great way to start a global network.
  • Be daring and go outside your comfort zone. That’s how you get comfortable.
  • Do not run away from mathematics or languages. Start early, drill often.
  • Learn to write well, and write frequently. You should master this early.
  • Plan. Think of what you want to do and what you need to do to get there.
  • Stay active, stay current, and stay involved on campus and outside it.
  • Listening to a person is often more important than speaking to them.
  • Don’t avoid a challenge – seize the opportunity to strengthen your skillset.
  • Embrace diversity, learn new cultures, try new foods. It’s a beautiful world.