Undergraduate Spotlight- Deanna Kolberg

Author: Alicia LeRoy

Deanna Kolberg is a Junior Political Science major. She is a member of the Kellogg Institute International Scholars Program and recently won a grant to study in Vietnam for the summer.


1. What initially attracted you to declare a Political Science major?
-"When I was a kid my family watched a lot of "The West Wing" on TV and I wanted to be just like Leo (minus the drug addiction problems). When I came to Notre Dame I took an IR class with Professor Susan Rosato and thought it was the coolest thing, and I've never looked back!"

2. What do you enjoy about studying Political Science?
-"I love how political science is an intersection between governments, the public, and whatever topic you're interested in, be it education, economics, or religion."

3. What Political Science classes have you taken that have been of particular interest to you?
-"I like the intersection of politics and economics in development, so I really enjoyed my intro to comparative politics class with Professor Hui and my African Politics class with Professor Singh. I'm taking Chinese Politics and International Political Economy right now, both of which complement my senior thesis topic really well, but I haven't taken their finals yet so the jury is still out on those."

4. Which classes do you hope to take in the future?
-"I'm looking to take a graduate-level class next year just to test the waters a little bit before I commit to graduate school in Political Science. After that, I'll have fulfilled the major requirements, but I still want to take a US foreign policy class, so maybe I'll just have to squeeze that one in."

5. Where do you hope to go with this major?
-"I had the opportunity to intern at the State Department in DC through the Washington program, which cemented my interest in a career in the federal government. I'm currently going through the application process to be a Foreign Service officer, so wish me luck!"

6. Can you talk a little about the grant you received to travel to Vietnam?
-"I've been lucky to be able to work with really supportive professors and institutions on the beginnings of a senior thesis. This summer, through a grant from the Kellogg Institute, I'll be doing surveys of Vietnamese textile workers to decipher the effects of multinational corporations on home countries' soft power. Working as a research assistant for Dr. Jensen for the past two years got me interested in China's current soft power initiatives, so I'm hoping that by doing surveys this summer, I'll be able to see if China successfully uses MNCs to gain soft power among its neighbors. Professor Guisinger has been incredibly gracious with her time spent helping me refine the project, for which I'm especially grateful. I'm looking forward to it!"