Political Science Newsletter - September 2021




Here is a list of Political Science, Sociology, and Criminal Justice courses that we intend to offer at Penn State Behrend in Spring 2022.

Spring 2022 Courses

  • PL SC 001 - American Politics (GS, US)
  • PL SC 003 - Comparing Politics around the Globe (GS, IL)
  • PL SC 007N - Contemporary Political Ideologies (GS/GH)
  • PL SC 014 - International Relations (GS, IL)
  • PL SC 017N - Introduction to Political Theory (GS/GH)
  • PL SC 155 - Understanding Tyranny
  • PLSC 200N - Government and Politics of Europe (GS/GH, IL)
  • PL SC 202 - American Public Policy (GS, US)
  • PL SC 433 - Political Foundations of the Early American Republic
  • PL SC 473 - American Judicial Behavior
  • PL SC 480 - Congress and the Presidency (W)
  • SOC 001 - Introductory Sociology (GS)
  • SOC 005 - Social Problems (GS)
  • SOC 451 - Health, Disease, and Society (GS)
  • CRIMJ 100 - Introduction to Criminal Justice (GS)

Please note that all students in the International Relations option of the POLSC major should be taking PLSC 200N next semester (if they have not taken it already). All students in the Public Policy option of the POLSC major should be taking PLSC 202 next semester (if they have not taken it already). Students who have not yet completed the requirements for the Crime and Law option in the POLSC major should consider taking SOC 005 and/or CRIMJ 100 next semester.


Students who are eligible to enroll in a major (usually completion of 30 or more credits, with a GPA of 2.0 or above) are strongly encouraged to do so. Enrollment in the POLSC major provides at least four benefits:

  1. The ability for academic advisers to make needed degree substitutions, including proper placement of transfer credits on degree audits
  2. Eligibility to be invited to certain events, such as dinners with alumni and community leaders
  3. Eligibility for certain awards open only to POLSC majors
  4. Notifications about certain jobs or internships for POLSC majors

The Penn State Behrend POLSC major currently has 4 options:

  1. Politics and Government (General Option) - This option allows students to choose their own concentrations of coursework within political science and helps to prepare students for a variety of careers, including government employment, social studies secondary education, activist politics, and graduate school in political science.
  2. Crime and Law - This option requires coursework in criminology and law and helps to prepare students for careers in law or criminal justice, including students planning on law school.
  3. International Relations - This option requires coursework in international politics and comparative politics, and prepares students for careers with international institutions or in business in other countries, and for graduate school work in international affairs.
  4. Public Policy - This option requires coursework related to how to make government and policy decisions effectively and prepares students for careers with government offices, businesses, interest groups, or think tanks related to public policy, or in public administration, or for graduate degree programs in public policy or public administration.

Each option requires completion of 36 credits of PL SC courses and 6 credits of general education courses from other relevant fields. To learn the requirements of the options, see the Bulletin listing.

Students are allowed to complete more than one option within the POLSC major if the requirements of each option are met.


A Jefferson Internship provides an opportunity for undergraduate, recent grads, graduate students, and early-career professionals to hone professional skills and develop new ones while having impact on real-life, real-time policy issues, and policy discussion.

The mission of this internship program is to provide Jefferson Interns with meaningful work experience related to the intern’s field of study or career interest. Interns will receive in-house mentorship and work with Jefferson staff and Scholars-in-Residence across its various divisions, including but not limited to Membership, Programming, Publications, Research, Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy, and the Global Summit. The Jefferson offers interns exposure to the Erie community, experience working in policy on local, state, and national levels, and the chance to work with experts in varying focuses across a number of fields.

Interns will have the opportunity to review Jefferson publications, participate in team meetings, work alongside other interns, attend Jefferson Events, including the Global Summit and Metro 100 events.

  • Location: 3207 State Street, Erie, PA 16508; there is free parking at the Jefferson
  • Commitment Period: 10-15 hours per week—Fall internship, August–December; Spring internship January–May; Summer internships May–August.
  • Deadlines: Applications are accepted on a rolling-admission basis. To secure a semester internship, please plan to apply at least six weeks in advance. If chosen for an interview, applicants will be contacted at the email address featured on your cover letter and résumé.
  • To Apply: Send résumé, cover letter, and a writing sample addressing a local, state, or federal issue to [email protected]. The subject line of the email should say JEFFERSON INTERNSHIP APPLICATION. Please indicate availability in your cover letter.

About the Jefferson: As a nonprofit think tank, the Jefferson Educational Society of Erie was founded in 2008 to promote civic enlightenment and drive community progress for the Erie Region through the study, research, and discussion of ideas and events that have influenced the human condition. The Jefferson ensures the preservation of the past for study and examines key lessons to better build the future of our region, and through the exploration of contemporary issues facing our region and nation, the Jefferson serves as a platform of discussion and a vehicle for progress to enhance the civic future of the Erie Region.


Dr. Lena Surzhko-Harned, assistant teaching professor of political science, had a busy summer. Her article titled “A Full Agenda When U.S., Ukraine Presidents Meet” appeared on the website for U.S. News & World Report, and her article about “How Putin Uses Gas to Win Allies and Punish Enemies” appeared on the website for the Asia Times. She also spoke twice for the Jefferson Educational Society, about the Biden-Putin Summit in Geneva and about the Geopolitics of Pipelines: Nord Stream 2.


  • College Republicans meet every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in 102 Burke. Erie County Executive candidate Brenton Davis visited a meeting earlier this month, and the group plans to campaign for him before Election Day. To get involved, contact President Garrett Watson.
  • College Democrats have been working for Erie County Executive Candidate Tyler Titus. To get involved with the group, contact President Mallory Flesik.
  • The Behrend Political Society is organizing for the year. To get involved, contact President Madison Kwiecinski.
  • Behrend Model United Nations is planning for the upcoming year. To get involved, contact President Lily Rasmussen.


All students and alumni are invited to like the Penn State Behrend Political Science Facebook page and get updated news and find out about events.