FOCUS ON THE FACULTY
PROFESSOR GIVES A CLOSER LOOK TO MONEY IN POLITICS
By Justin Ross
Like many college students heading into
their final semester, Marian Currinder had no clue what she wanted to
do after she graduated from Penn State University. Looking for an elective
course to fill the necessary hours in her course load for the spring
semester, Currinder, a communications major, enrolled in a political
science course. She was intrigued by the course, and felt that she had
finally found a subject she loved. She knew that she wanted to have
a career in political science.
Like many professors at the College of Charleston, Currinder’s work extends far beyond the classroom walls. Currinder has been one of a select few political scientists chosen to participate in the American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional fellowship program. The program, which started in 1953, is, “the nation’s oldest and most prestigious congressional fellowship…devoted to its original objective of expanding knowledge and awareness of Congress,” according to the APSA website. It is a nine month long program designed to give the selected fellows hands-on experience in understanding the legislative process by serving on Congressional staffs. Currinder served on the Congressional staff of U.S. Rep. David Price of North Carolina, where her focus was on foreign policy and defense. As a legislative assistant to Price, she drafted legislation, participated in Congressional hearings, and wrote speeches and floor statements.
Currinder’s ascent to the elite of the political science profession
has been a very interesting journey. After graduating from Penn State,
she applied for jobs in Washington D.C. She was looking for a position
as a legislative analyst. She received a job offer to work government
relations in Washington D.C.
Before beginning graduate school at the University of Florida, Currinder
spent several months traveling around western and eastern Europe. While
in graduate school, Currinder worked as a consultant and writer for
the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington. She says the Center
was where “I really got my feet wet."
In addition to her Congressional fellowship, Dr. Currinder is doing
many exciting projects in the field of political science. She is a
contributing author in the book, “The Elections of 2004”
edited by Michael Nelson, which came out in March 2005. The books’
publisher, CQ Press, describes the book as, “An insightful and
incredibly current look at the recent elections, this highly anticipated
volume offers students a road map for teasing out the tension and
competition of particular races while giving perspective to the larger
trends and implications of the election results.” It covers
“the intensity of political polarization, the impact of money
and fundraising, and the interplay of economic, cultural, and security
issues” that were in effect in the 2004 elections.
Since finishing he book, Currinder has been studying the institutional reforms Republicans
have put into place since taking over in 1994. It is a continuation
of her constant research on the effects money and fundraising can
have in shaping public policy.