Political Science Program

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Alumni Profiles

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Erin Hynes, Class of 1998

Erin Hynes is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh's political science program. She received her Masters of Public Administration degree at the University of Vermont and is now Director of Public Policy for the Minority Conference of the New York State Assembly.

Preparation for the "Real World"

"The guidance of the Political Science Department prepared me well for the M.P.A. program and my current position. The professors' lectures depicted how things might work in the "real world" rather than rote teaching of theories from a textbook. These practical skills have proven invaluable to me. They have aided me when I must make split-second policy decisions."

Diverse Course Offerings and Supportive Professors

"I liked the diversity of course work. I specialized in Policy/Law/Administration. This allowed me to gain specialized knowledge in three areas that I liked very much, and helped me decide that I wanted to pursue policy and administration as a career.

"Dr. Konda was definitely the professor that influenced me the most. He was one of the first professors to encourage me to pursue administration and policy. His knowledge of the field really comes through in the class room, and he is a great benefit to the program and to all who take his courses."

Erin's Advice for Students

"The legacy of the Political Science Department at Plattsburgh is its alumni's public service employment at the state and federal levels. Some alumni are in very high-powered positions. Pursuing a political science degree was a smart choice and good investment, as the program offers great courses taught by competent professors. If you have interest in public service, the Political Science Program is the right choice for you."

Timothy Cox, Class of 1991

Timothy Cox is a 1991 graduate of the political science and criminal justice programs at SUNY Plattsburgh. He received his Juris Doctorate and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace Law School in 1995. Tim is Corporate Counsel at the Catskill Watershed Corporation and an elected Town Justice in the Town of Olive, Ulster County. He is also presently chair of Pace Environmental Law Alumni Advisory Council. Once a year, he gives a talk to political science students at SUNY Plattsburgh on "Getting Into and Succeeding in Law School".

A Foundation for the Future

"The classes taught me how to critically examine issues and provided a foundation for law school as well as my career as an environmental attorney. In addition, the public speaking and writing skills I gained while at SUNY Plattsburgh are still valuable to me."

What He Liked about the Political Science Program

"The professors, the classes and my internship. All the professors are very approachable and are happy to sit down with a student to talk about classes, career goals or other issues."

A Valuable Internship

"During my junior year at SUNY Plattsburgh, I interned for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. I worked directly under the Regional Attorney and my workload by the end of the internship was close to that of a starting attorney at the agency. On the basis of that internship, I decided to go into the field of environmental law and was accepted at one of the top law schools for environmental law in the country."

Tim's Advice for Students

"In whatever field students decide to go into, two skills are vital for success and continued advancement in their career path: effective writing and ability to speak in public. The political science curriculum at SUNY Plattsburgh provides the opportunity to acquire and hone both skills."

Contact Timothy Cox: timothycox@cwconline.org

Robert Schofield, Class of 1993

Robert is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh's political science program. He is a partner in the Albany law firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP.

Access to Political Science Faculty

In the political science program, Robert enjoyed "great access to faculty and the flexibility to look into the topics he found interesting."

"Plattsburgh and the political science program prepared me for a demanding graduate program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and for law school. I often felt that I was better prepared for those two experiences than some of my colleagues in those programs who came from other schools--even ivy-league universities."

Internship Experience

"I interned in the attorney general's regional office and was later employed there. It was a great experience."

Robert's Advice for Students

"While the substance of the material you are exposed to in the political science department is both valuable and interesting, the two most important things you can take from the program are critical thinking skills and the ability to communicate concisely and compellingly in writing. Take every opportunity you can to work with your professors to develop those skills."

Contact Robert Schofield: RSchofield@woh.com

Charles W. Doller, III

Charles W. Doller, III is a graduate of the Political Science program at SUNY Plattsburgh. He lives in Yorktown Heights, New York, and is the Managing Director for Kimball & Cross Investment Management.

Political Science classes offer a breadth of perspective

"I think the poli sci classes gave me a breadth of perspective--from a social view--that I might not have had otherwise. Additionally, many of the classes forced me to consider the circumstances of other people when an issue is being debated."

"I like the broad topics and points of study covered in the program. I had a preconceived notion that we would study mainly the minutiae of US government, and that was not the case."

Charles' advice for students

"My advice would be to remain open-minded when choosing classes and take a few that you wouldn't normally be drawn to. I think you are forced to learn more when you are out of your comfort zone and it may provide a different perspective to other classes as well. View your education as a puzzle. Some pieces are obvious and can be placed easily; some require viewing the puzzle in its entirety to place while others make the puzzle completion easier to accomplish. You never know which class will represent what piece of the puzzle."

Contact Charles W. Doller, III: doller@kimballcross.com

Sean Dermody, Class of 2002

Chancellor's Award Recipient for Student Excellence

When Sean Dermody received word that he was the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, he was pleased with the honor but his hat was tipped to his alma mater.

"I think it's a tremendous honor; it reflects what I have done, but it is also a reflection of this institution," Dermody said. "I think it's almost a new foundation. It gives me a springboard to go on to graduate school. So in some ways, it's the top layer of an undergraduate career and the bottom layers of a graduate student foundation."

A December 2002 graduate who served as student speaker during the winter commencement exercises, Dermody has always had a lot of praise for Plattsburgh State.

"My experiences at Plattsburgh have made me into the person I am today and prepared me for the rest of my life."

Part of that preparation came from taking advantage of opportunities that Plattsburgh State had to offer, he said.

"At Plattsburgh, we were surrounded by opportunities. Our professors were always there ready to offer their guidance and assistance. There were opportunities to be involved in activities beyond the academic," he said. This message was one he imparted on his fellow graduates in the Field House during commencement.

But Dermody practiced what he preached. He was a member of the Honors Program, served as a student ambassador, was a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and received the Phi Kappa Phi Award for Academic Excellence.

He said he hopes to continue his commitment to academic excellence and involvement when he goes to on to graduate school. A political science major while at Plattsburgh, Dermody said he plans to work a year before going to grad school to study law. He's considering Cornell University.

"I'm leaning toward the fall of 2004," He said. "I want to take my time, developing my plan as to where I want to go."

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about political science at SUNY Plattsburgh please contact

Harvey Schantz, Chairperson
Office: Hawkins 149, 101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-5830
Fax: (518) 564-4124 or 564-3842
Email: schanthl@plattsburgh.edu