Erica Edwards is a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. She teaches classes about comparative politics, such as PS 398: Politics and Policies of the European Union and PS 433 Global Problems and Policies. Her research also focuses on comparative politics, specifically topics related to political parties, public opinion, and the European Union. This is her first semester at NC State. We talked to her about what she likes about NC State and her students.
Why does the study of political science matter?
I ask this very question to my introductory students. Specifically, I ask whether political science should be more about the politics or about the science—or perhaps both? My answer is a definitive both! Political science is about rigorous testing of various theories and hypotheses. But, our questions and findings should help to inform real world politics. Our work in political science should help to influence policy, positions of various political actors, etc.. For me, that’s what the discipline is all about.
What led you to a career as a professor of political science?
My interest in political science actually began with my interest in language. My grandmother and grandfather were first generation migrants to Louisiana and spoke fluent French and Italian. As a result, I was intrigued by other languages at an early age. My family hosted exchange students and I studied abroad. This led to my early interest in Europe and later my interest in European politics. All of this came to a culmination when I completed my Master’s in European Politics at the College of Europe, in Belgium, where I was a Fulbright Scholar.
What is your favorite thing about NC State?
Well, I am still new to NC State. So far the students—their eagerness to engage and their diversity.
What is one thing your students would be surprised to know about you?
I am a nomad! I have lived in four U.S. states and five European countries.
What is the next thing you hope to accomplish on your wish list?
Top on my wish list now is to be able to travel. I typically spend a good portion of the summer in Europe visiting friends and conducting research. COVID-19 has put a damper on that.