Political Science

Berkeley Connect in Political Science and Yardi Scholars

The Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the University to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you make the most of your time at the University as you learn more about the study of biology. We are excited to get to know you!

Message from the Director

Photo of Amy Gurowitz

Berkeley Connect in Political Science provides students with a cohort of peers interested in democracy, social change, and technology, and with a mentor to facilitate discussions and provide support for navigating UC Berkeley and Political Science. If you are interested in meeting others with similar intellectual interests in a setting that does not involve grades and homework, this is the class for you! In this course you will have the opportunity to connect not only with peers and a mentor, but with others in the department and across campus. Join us!

Amy Gurowitz

Lecturer, Political Science

Faculty Directory, Berkeley Connect in Political Science 

Program Description

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with an experienced mentor in Integrative Biology. The mentor leads small groups of students (not more than 20) in regular meetings and also meets with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. Berkeley Connect is offered as a one-credit, pass-not pass course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills related to Integrative Biology as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.

The only requirement for joining Berkeley Connect in Biology is that you have an interest in this field of study. 

Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students. They include:

  • small-group meetings facilitated by your mentor;
  • one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
  • special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
  • and visits to Berkeley resources.

At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentor is an advanced graduate student in Integrative Biology, chosen both for demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for scholarly achievement. The mentor is dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of the small groups of participants in Biology. Your small group sessions will be facilitated by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long discussion. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within biology as well as key skills you need to succeed in the biological sciences. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.

You will meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, to talk about anything you choose related to your academic life—questions you have, challenges you are facing, resources you are seeking, goals you are seeking to achieve. Your mentor also has open mentoring hours throughout the semester, during which you are free to show up and continue these conversations, or just check in.

Berkeley Connect Mentors 

Photo of Graduate Mentor

 Jonathan Guy is a PhD candidate in Political Science.

Where did you grow up? 

Verona, Wisconsin—about 20 minutes outside of Madison.

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

I majored in Political Science at the University of Chicago.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

I study the politics of energy transitions, with a focus on low and middle-income countries. My dissertation project attempts to understand why some countries are transitioning to low-carbon electricity sooner and faster than others.

Jennie Lynn Barker

Jennie Lynn Barker is a PhD candidate in Political Science. 

Where did you grow up? 

Bloomington-Normal, Illinois

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Tulane University, Political Science and German Studies

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

My research focuses on international support for democratic governance, particularly the politics of democracy promotion in promoting and receiving states amid challenges to democracy in international politics.

Semester Activities

During a semester in Berkeley Connect in Political Science, you will participate in one-on-one conversations with your mentor, small-group discussions, special events and field trips. Berkeley Connect discussion sessions are informal and interactive, with time allowed for students to check in, talk about their experiences on campus, and reflect on current events that create the context for their academic studies.

Since this is the a brand new Berkeley Connect program, special events and field trips are still being developed.

How to Sign Up

To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens. For regular Berkeley Connect in Political Science, students will enroll in POLISCI 198BC which is open to all undergrads (students who are new to Cal are strongly encouraged to enroll). Students who are participating in the Yardi Scholarship program will enroll in POLSCI 198. Both are offered for one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.

You may enroll in Berkeley Connect more than once (some students choose to participate for a full year by enrolling in both the fall and spring semesters), and you may enroll through more than one department. You may NOT enroll in more than two sections of Berkeley Connect in one semester, or enroll in more than one section in the same department in the same semester.

Contact Us

Please see our FAQ's.  If you have additional questions about Berkeley Connect in Political Science, please contact:

Amy Gurowitz, Faculty Director, Berkeley Connect in Political Science, at gurowitz@berkeley.edu (link sends e-mail).

You can also contact the central Berkeley Connect office at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu (link sends e-mail).

Links & Resources