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Student Spotlight – Kimberly Van Maren

Where are you from and why did you choose Boise State?
I am from Park City, Utah and I graduated from Park City High School in Spring of 2018. I chose Boise State because upon touring colleges with my dad, I started to fall in love with Boise State University and the beautiful campus. I loved how friendly everyone was here. It was like home, but I knew that I would have some autonomy as well while at school. Once I found out that I got the WUE scholarship and was a part of the honors college, Boise State was set in stone. I wanted to come here and be a part of the community.

What makes Boise State a great place to study Political Science?
I actually came to Boise State undeclared, and did not choose to study political science right away. I was going back and forth on what my major should be. However, I loved learning more about our government since my AP Government in high school. Freshman year at Boise State I changed my major to Political Science and I have never regretted it. Boise State University is a great place to study Political Science because of the professors and the opportunities right in our back door.

Every professor that I have had in my Political Science courses have been amazing. They each have their own fields of study, but are equally knowledgeable on political interactions. I am amazed in every class that I have taken about how well my professors know the material and are able to articulate ideas. In addition, Boise State University is right next to Idaho’s Capitol! We are a 5 minute drive away, and there are many opportunities that Political Science students can take up depending on what they would like to do after college. Students are able to intern at the capitol, work with Idaho’s Senators, the parties, and more.

How has your internship helped you prepare for your future career?
This semester, I have had the opportunity to work under a House Representative at the Idaho Legislature. It has been a great experience, and I have loved seeing the interactions at the Capitol in person. This has all helped prepare me for my future career because I want to continue working in politics after I graduate. Having an experience at a state Capitol is not common, and I am thankful for the experience and being in Boise. In addition to an internship, I have also had the experience of working with the Service-Learning program here at Boise State since Freshman year. Working with the Service-Learning program has enabled me with many skill sets that I did not have before, and I hope to exercise these skills later on for my future career.

What has been your favorite Political Science course?
It’s hard for me to choose my favorite Political Science course, I have enjoyed many of them each semester. In Fall 2020, I was able to take POLS 401 Parties and Interest Groups and POLS 402 Campaigns and Elections. I enjoyed both of these courses, and loved learning about the interactions between the parties and interest groups, as well as how campaigning influences elections up and down the ballot. I have thought about working with the party or in campaign management in the future, so both of these classes were very relevant to me. In addition, for POLS 401 I was able to collaborate with Professor Kettler on an extra paper to make this course an Honors designation. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot about Idaho’s political network in the 2018 election.

This semester I am taking POLS 447 Civil Liberties, and I am loving learning about different Supreme Court cases and the civil liberties American citizens enjoy in the United States.

How has receiving a scholarship helped with your college experience?
After applying to come to Boise State University, I was awarded the Western University Exchange (WUE) Scholarship for 4 years. Since I am an out of state student, tuition is very expensive and I am largely paying college on my own. Having this scholarship means that almost half of my tuition is paid for. While I am continuously working while taking classes full time, having this scholarship means that I don’t have to take out as many loans and instead enjoy my college experience. This has helped me with college because I am able to spend more time with friends, in clubs like Phi Sigma Alpha (the political science honors society), and working on my classes. Junior year, I was also awarded the Stephanie Witt Scholarship which helped with my financials as well.

What are you planning on using your Political Science degree after graduation?
After graduation, I definitely want to be involved in politics. I have thought about being a campaign manager, or either being or working with a lawyer as a paralegal. I am not planning on going to law school right after graduating with my bachelors, but we will see where life takes me.