JOHN BECK (BA ’71; MS ‘74) started at the University of Illinois in 1967 as a student in what is now known as the Division of General Studies. He transferred into the Department of Political Science during his freshman year. As an undergraduate he took classes on a variety of topics throughout the department, but really remembers his time in International Relations. It was this class along with his Constitutional Law class that made him want to become a political science major. For Beck, “these classes were both challenging and interesting and really trained you think comprehensively.” After earning his bachelors in Political Science, Mr. Beck took a year off to decide what profession he wanted to move into, taking that time to talk to advisors and his past professors. The next year Beck returned to the University of Illinois to pursue his Masters in Journalism which was the start of a long career.
Beck believes a degree in Political Science allows you to do more in your profession than just be involved in the government. The coursework in the department allows students to “read and digest material on complex issues and then analyze it and transfer it to any profession.” For students that do not quite know what they want to do post-graduation, political science helps develop critical thinking skills they will use throughout the rest of their lives. Beck recommends taking advantage of the resources that the department has to offer, to network with alumni, and get internship experience early in your academic career. Beck says the most important skill he learned in school is how to communicate in the world, stating that whatever path you pursue you will always need to communicate with someone.
Mr. Beck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.