Careers and Graduate Success in Government

Our graduates have great success getting into top graduate programs and securing high-profile internships and jobs in government, local businesses, national organizations and the nonprofit sector.

The combination of a liberal arts education with a political science degree can result in a well educated generalist able to be attractive to a wide range of employers and positioned to take advantage of rapidly evolving and constantly changing career environments.

Some graduates choose to enter the job market right after graduation in such fields as business and banking, public administration, public policy, political campaign management, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, aid organizations, public relations, media studies, journalism and communications, and teaching. Some intend to take a breather from school and accumulate practical experience before entering a post-graduate education program or law school at a later date. Frequently, internships become avenues of employment.

For majors in political science, it is worth remembering that at all levels — local, state and federal — government remains one of the country’s main employers.

Some graduates decide to continue their education in law schools and graduate programs. Augustana has an excellent reputation with law and graduate schools, and a successful admission record to match. 

Augustana University, for its size, ranks among the top schools in the country in the number of students who have been awarded the prestigious Truman Scholarship, designed for those who intend to pursue a career in governmental and non-governmental public service.

The law schools Augustana graduates have attended include Harvard, Duke, Michigan, New York University, the University of Virginia, Washington University in St. Louis, as well as regionally prominent law schools such as the Universities of South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Creighton University. Dr. Schotten serves as the advisor for pre-law students, devoting significant time to helping students determine what law schools are best for them.

Getting You There

As you prepare to leave Augustana, you will go out into the world with a new set of skills learned from the government and international affairs department.

Interested in law school? See Dr. Schotten's helpful Tips on Applying to Law School.

Seeking letters of recommendation from faculty members?  Use this Letter of Recommendation Request Form.

To assist students in forming their post-graduation plans, the department’s faculty members use their own experience and contacts, in addition to resources such as the American Political Science Association’s “Careers and the Study of Political Science” and the excellent “Careers in International Affairs,” published by the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

Our Graduates

The following small sample of alumni provides an indication of the careers pursued and positions achieved by our graduates. It is a mere snapshot in time, as well-educated, capable and successful professionals sometimes change jobs and even careers. In fact, it is often their liberal arts education that gives them that flexibility and versatility.

  • Luke Niedringhaus '15
    Sioux Falls
    Maverick Air Center (local aerial survey), pilot
  • Eric Herst '15
    Czech Republic
    English Language Teacher, Americka Jazykovka
  • Peter Kline '14
    Iowa City, Iowa
    University of Iowa College of Law
  • Khaled Mnassri '14
    Senior Program Analyst, National Democratic Institute (NDI)
  • Mallory Schulte '14
    University of South Dakota School of Law
  • Molly Kokesh '13
    University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Intern for Judge Arguello at the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • Tricia Halling ’02
    London, U.K.
    Attorney, Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Dr. Jarret M. Brachman ’00
    West Point, N.Y.
    Former Director of Research Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy at West Point
  • Wendy Underwood ’98
    St. Paul, Minn.
    Coordinator of Federal Relations of the State of Minnesota
  • Per Pharo ’94
    Oslo, Norway
    Deputy Director of the Government of Norway's International Climate and Forestry Initiative
  • Dr. Nadya Nedelsky ’93
    St. Paul, Minn.
    Assistant Professor of International Studies, Macalester College
  • Loren Cass ’91
    Auburn, Mass.
    Assistant Professor of Political Science, College of Holy Cross
  • Douglas B. Loon ’86
    Eden Prairie, Minn.
    Vice President, Regional Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Nancy Erickson ’84
    Washington , D.C.
    Secretary of the U.S. Senate
  • Thomas J. Erickson ’84
    Washington, D.C.
    Chairperson, Commodity Futures Training Commission
  • Bill Hughes ’81
    Washington, D.C.
    Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
  • Jim Johnson ’80
    White Bear Lake, Minn.
    Assistant General Council, Xcel Energy
  • Wade Fauth ’80
    Grand Rapids, Minn.
    Senior Program Officer, Blandin Foundation
  • Matthew C. Moen ’80
    Vermillion, S.D.
    Dean, USD School of Liberal Arts
  • Scott Van Hove ’79
    Washington, D.C.
    Vice President of Global Operations for Business Software Alliance
  • David L. Lillehaug ’76
    Minneapolis, Minn.
    Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court
    Former U.S. Attorney General for the State of Minnesota