Bachelor of Arts, Political Science ’18—expected
“I watched my sister graduate and receive her PhD from Johns Hopkins. I thought, ‘If she can do it, I can do it too.’ She inspired me to go back to school,” shares Phoebe Henninger, a Political Science major in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies’ (LPS) Bachelor of Arts program. Phoebe’s interest in politics, particularly in polling and election data started while she was taking classes at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). “I took four political science courses with Professor Gary Mullin at CCP. He went to Penn, and he had such a huge impact on me and motivated me to pursue my studies at LPS.”
Since starting her academic career at Penn, Phoebe has taken full advantage of the many opportunities and resources that Penn has to offer. In the summer of 2016, Phoebe was part of a Fox Fellowship-supported research project with PORES that looked into the voting patterns of ex-convicts. Today she is continuing that work with Professor Marc Meredith on a study of how driver’s license suspension impacts voting.
One of the most exciting experiences Phoebe had at Penn was an internship with NBC News for the Democratic National Convention. “I got a behind-the-scenes look at how news organizations function at these huge events,” she continues, “It gave me a newfound respect for the media. These people work incredibly hard.” And though Phoebe herself worked 15-hour days she said it felt like “Christmas for politics nerds.”
Phoebe spent a week supporting Andrea Mitchell Reports where she helped correspondents navigate the convention and was on-hand during filming. Looking back, Phoebe found that, “The most important thing that the media does is, in my opinion, keep the government in check. They’re also our source for information. It’s vital for them to report accurately and in an unbiased way.”
With her senior thesis and graduation on the horizon, Phoebe already has more plans for her future in politics and academia. “Some of my interests are polarization and within that, how the electorate feels about compromise in the political system.” She adds, “I would love to get into a PhD program, especially at Penn. I’m a Philadelphia native, I have my family nearby and I love it here so much.”
“This has been an incredible opportunity to learn from the brightest scholars in my field,” she smiles, “If you want to open doors to research and work in your field—this is the place to do it.”