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How can I get involved in economics and political science? Especially with research. How can I be a leader with these interests?

I’d like to become involved in economics and poli sci and really stand out as a high school student. Are there any recommendations for research or extracurriculars I can start. I have seen people publish books and start organizations and I don’t really have any ideas so far. I am really interested in creating representation for minorities and females in these fields. #college #college-major #political-science #politics #high-school #economics #international #international-relations

Hi Isabeth, I am a college student (NOT a professional), but I definitely wouldn't be worried about having an idea to start an organization or publish a book right now! I know it's difficult, and I struggle with it as well, but try not to compare yourself to others! Focus on growing as a person and a student, and the big idea will naturally come with time. You're already a leader because of your initiative and forethought, but don't be scared if the big break doesn't come right away (at least, this is what I have learned!). Best, Lucas Lucas Geremia

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Sharon’s Answer

There are ways to become involved as a youth in political science. You can volunteer for candidate in the upcoming election. You can volunteer in the office of a local representative. You can canvas the public on a social issue. You can create a platform of ideas for improvement and run for a HS class office position.

It is more difficult to be involved in economic research. Your value as a research assistant depends upon how well you understand principles of economics. That requires that you have knowledge of Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics which are offered in some high schools and pretty much every community college. Economic research also depends upon Statistics and managing data in a spreadsheet.

If you think Economics is a field you may want to get into, then it’s advisable to understand the variations within economics. There are both disciplines or fields in Economics and in Economic Philosophy.

Given your interest in political science and economics, Public Economics might be of interest to you. That’s one of the fields in economics.

You can probably check out a book at the library that will help with philosophy in Economics, by searching for “history of economic thought.” If the library does not have anything , there are websites that you can find with this keyword search.

Sharon recommends the following next steps:

Learn about the many different types of Economics (fields)
Learn about different philosophies in Econ (schools of thought)
Take or audit Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomic at a community college
Read the news
Find volunteer opportunities in offices of public officials

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Jack’s Answer

It's great that you're thinking about this and asking questions about extra-curriculars in high-school. It's ok if you don't write a book or change the world right away, just look for one or two things, work hard at them, volunteer for the tough assignments, and find people there you can use as references. Being a leader in a field often means going to grad school, so let me tell you about the path I took.

Your path will depend on the opportunities around you. I took the first step in my career as an economist many years ago by joining a high-school club called the Future Business Leaders of America. I entered the club's economics test competition. Since the school only offered an intro econ class, I went to the local university book store and bought the books required for the intro college-level microeconomics and macroeconomics courses. Those books were very helpful, as was my high-school econ teacher, and I did well in the competition.

If you don't have a similar club, you can always volunteer for a political campaign as others suggested. Work hard, be energetic and enthusiastic, and always ready to take on something new.

Success in the competition and good SAT scores got me into college. I worked hard and took the most challenging econ classes available. It would be very unusual in college to understand everything immediately, so don't be afraid to go to a professor's office hours when you need help (that's true in high-school too). I went to a small-ish college where the professors get to know all their students. When I decided to go to grad school, my professors gave me guidance and recommendations that got me in. Grad school took more hard work, creativity, and a certain amount of stubbornness that I wouldn't leave until I got my Ph.D.

So there it is. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I've been reasonably successful through a combination of hard work and determination. Those create opportunities, though not always quickly, that lead to the next step. Good luck!

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Daniel P.’s Answer

Have you ever heard of the Model UN program? Its a great organization and will definitely open up new worlds for you. Also, if you can get a student subscription to the Economist magazine.

Your on the right track, both PoiSci and Economics are fascinating subjects. I'd also recommend checking out a lecture from a geopolitical strategist I recently saw speak at a conference. Peter Zeihan. Political science, geography, demographics and economics all wraped up in one lecture.

Daniel P. recommends the following next steps:


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Tenaea A.’s Answer

You can read about local politics. Get to know your city, county and state representatives. Start a club in your high school and/or community to discuss politics and economics. Study the economics of your city, county and state.

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Antoinette’s Answer

There are great programs for young women who are interested in politics. Running Start and Ignite National both have internships that place girls in positions across the country to get first hand experience in this field. Their goal is to encourage more women and minorities to get involved politically. There are also some local ambassador programs. You can find more info and applications on their web sites and Instagram pages.

Antoinette recommends the following next steps:

Check out runningstart.org
Check out ignitenational.org

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Estelle’s Answer

I have 3 recommendations:

1. Volunteer for a political campaign
2. Create interest groups at your school for these areas or become an officer if they already exist
3. Attend a university summer program that focuses on one or both of these subjects

Good luck!