“Congratulations on your acceptance to the full time program at the Charleston School of Law.” The foregoing sentence is something I never would have read had it not been for Mars Hill University and its political science program. From the very beginning, the political science professors were immensely supportive and helpful. For instance, Dr. Heather Hawn took it upon herself to not only schedule a tour of one of the law schools I applied to, but also drove myself, along with two fellow classmates, to the law school for the tour.
It did not take long after attending my classes at law school to realize how fortunate I was to have been part of a political science program that had a challenging curriculum and extensive workload, both of which prepared me for the demanding courses at the Charleston School of Law. I am forever grateful for the experience I had at Mars Hill University and would highly recommend Mars Hill to anyone interested in pursuing a political science degree.
—Heather Lynn Huckabee ’13, Assistant Solicitor for the First Judicial Circuit in South Carolina
“Hello, I’m looking for a Mr. Arsidez León. We are reaching out because we would like you to join us as a Steering Committee Member with The Human Rights Campaign in North Carolina.” That was a voicemail left to me back in February of 2018. It is interesting to think only a few short years ago I was listening for my name to be called so that I could receive my undergraduate degree in Political Science from Mars Hill. May of 2016 I was leaving Mars Hill University as the last class to enter as Mars Hill College students. The opportunities in service learning as a Bonner Scholar, the rigorous intersectional learning in the Political Science Department, and the access to a multitude of networking opportunities with Dr. Heather Hawn prepared me well for the roles I fill today. I have directly translated my work ethic from MHU into my work in 2016, post graduation, as a Campus Organizer with the NC Coordinated Campaign. A campaign in which I had the opportunity to lead a volunteer recruitment and voter activation program; and as a result formed a team directly responsible for over 3,000 East Carolina University students becoming first time voters in 2016. Post election 2017 I joined the ranks of The League of Conservation Voters as a National Field Organizer based in Raleigh. While at LCV I launched an initiative to highlight the work of LGBTQ persons, people of color, and students within the Climate Action NC program — collecting over 4,000 petition signatories. As the chapter President of the College Democrats at MHU I would have never had known that, a year post graduation, the College Democrats of North Carolina would request me to come and train on personal networking at their Fall Leadership Conference in High Point. Now, I’m currently coordinating with the Young Democrats and College Democrats to present at the 2018 State Convention on Auxiliary Outreach to students preparing for upcoming elections — as the VP of University and College Outreach for the LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina. The close knit and personal attention I received at Mars Hill afforded me the means to truly refine my own brand and hone my professional skills–while receiving an extremely competitive liberal arts education. This is merely a snippet of my journey since graduating from MHU and I’ll continue on always remembering my MHU experience.
The mere ability to wake up overlooking the mountains was enough to stay; however, the sense of community present in the political science department and dedication of our faculty in ensuring every student is equipped with tools to enter their careers post graduation is why I would not have ever traded my experience as a Political Science Major at Mars Hill University.
–Arsidez R. León ’16, VP of University and College Outreach, LGBTQ Democrats of NC and Steering Committee Member, Human Rights Campaign (NC Triangle)
When I came to Mars Hill, I was a quiet and introspective freshman interested in pursuing degree in fashion design. I left Mars Hill with an International Relations degree, a Fashion Degree, minors in French, Political Science, and History, and confidence. At Mars Hill, I was challenged in my political studies everyday, but I only truly appreciated the effect all of the work I put into presentations, long readings, class discussions, and papers after I got into law school. Dr. Heather Hawn transforms her students into qualified, capable, and well-spoken young adults ready for anything they choose to pursue.
Mars Hill’s International Relations and Political Science Programs prepared me for law school and for life after graduation in ways I did not even notice until I was sitting in class at Penn State Law. Mars Hill prepared me for everything from writing papers and preparing for daily readings to answering cold calls with ease. I attended a “Law Day” Dr. Hawn organized and she asked about my interests in law school and encouraged me to pursue it. I’m not sure I’d be a 2L at Penn State Law if she had not taken the time to talk to me that day. Dr. Hawn helped me grow as a person during my four years at Mars Hill and well past my graduation day. Mars Hill’s Political Science and International Relations programs are incredible educational opportunities, and anyone in these stimulating programs is exceptionally fortunate to be here.
—Rachel Louviaux ’15
The Political Science Department at MHU is amazing! The faculty really pushed me to improve myself and explore topics that were interesting to me! One of my favorite classes was Model UN. When demand for this class exceeded expectations, Dr. Hawn decided to start offering it every year. Our class prepared for several weeks to attend the SRMUN event in Charlotte. At the conference, we put to use our new knowledge of UN procedures and policies while learning hands-on skills such as debate, cooperation, and professionalism.
After graduation, I applied to the Appalachian Studies Masters program at Appalachian State University. I am now using the skills I learned at MHU to research socio-political issues that affect the mountain communities of Appalachia. Through my research, I hope to bring awareness to these issues, such as resource sustainability and cultural preservation programs. I still maintain the connections I made at MHU and visit Madison County often.
—Ian Kirkpatrick ’17
The Political Science program at Mars Hill opened doors for me that I did not think were possible. Most importantly, the program taught me to think critically and independently. Through the one on one support from the professors, I gained the confidence in my abilities that I needed to apply to law school. The program provided me with a strong foundation to not only be successful during my time at Mars Hill, but to also be a successful graduate and law student.
—Skyler Assif ’14, student at West Virginia University College of Law
Dr. Heather Hawn
Associate Professor of Political Science and Program Director
Office: 110 Founders Hall
Education: B.A. University of North Carolina
J.D., Campbell University
Ph.D., University of South Carolina