Jessica Kimpell: Class of 2002
Involve me and I will learn. Encourage me to question and I will reflect. Inspire me and I will achieve. Such is the legacy of my CLA professors. They fostered my love of all things political and permitted me to wonder about the relationship between an individual and her community. They invited me to discover what theorists of the past had contributed on the enduring questions of citizenship and political obligation.
Professor Mary Dietz, in thought-provoking lectures, introduced me to Greek and Roman political thought, including the ancients’ views on themes that continue to form the backdrop of current political debates—democracy and empire, power and justice—and their beliefs on the interdependent relationship between human happiness and political life. Professor Jeffrey Lomanoco, whose intellectual flexibility would make Socrates take note, encouraged me to ponder the meaning of citizenship in American political thought and guided me to explore how the ideals of the Declaration of Independence have been used by groups excluded from enjoying the rights of citizenship to justify their place within American life. This notion was given poignant context in my classes with Professor Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, who vibrantly engaged with the rhetoric of the woman’s suffrage movement and the struggle for the passkey to political inclusion. With Professor William Flannigan I examined what citizens united in self-government know and think about politics, why they might hold certain views, and how public opinion might affect public policy. Professor James Druckman, whose attention to methodological questions and precision in research helped me to define and organize my approach to scholarship, continues to guide how I read the works of others and frame my own graduate research so that I may contribute to the field.
My interest in civic and political life remains entwined with the mastery of professors who showed me that there are no days so fulfilling, no moments so sublime, as those spent in engaging the intellect.
Ms. Kimpell is a Truman Scholar studying political theory at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. She holds a B.A. in Political Science (’02) from the U of M.