Meadow Fortier ‘22

Political Science and International Affairs Majors


Gorham, Maine

What made you choose UNH?

I chose UNH for its academic flexibility, large student population and its aesthetically pleasing campus (I don't like to admit how much the appearance of the campus affected my decision to attend here – it really is so beautiful). To give a better sense, I was transferring from a small business school as an international business major. While the school I came from worked for many, I was not one of them. UNH offered the flexible course path and student culture I did not have at my original school. And while these are vague descriptions, UNH proved its value and then some once I actually attended. I will dive into how much I love the academic part of UNH in the later questions, but here I would like to add how much I love the culture of UNH. There are many people here who truly balance school and fun social lives, creating an environment that makes you want to work hard but also have a good time with friends.

How did you choose your major and why?

Throughout my life I have always enjoyed analyzing people because I honestly find them interesting (both the good and the bad). I chose to study political science and international affairs because it meant I could analyze people and systems with power. The hope is that analysis translates into understanding. I hope to then use my understandings to find commonalities between conflicting political parties, international organizations and/or national governments in an attempt to keep or find peace.

What do you enjoy most about being in the College of Liberal Arts?

The best part about being in the College of Liberal Arts is the professors. In the College of Liberal Arts, you will find all walks of life in the faculty department. Not only do these people have interesting, and sometimes bizarre, experiences. They also have a sincere willingness to share those experiences and help you find your path. I have met with many professors who have gladly listened to course-related questions, random questions about life and even interesting (sometimes nonsensical) theories I dreamt the night before. To give an example, one professor met me for coffee to share her knowledge on a country I was representing for UNH's Model Unite Nations org. She then directed me to another professor for more information. This professor did not know me, but he still gladly met with me and shared tons of helpful information as well.

Have you undertaken any experiential learning (internships, study abroad, research, etc.)?

Through involvement in the Planned Parenthood Generation Action student org., I took part in the Get Out the Vote campaign happening all throughout New Hampshire. This was my first time with real-life political experience, so it was intimidating and exciting all at once. I learned how to "phone bank," or talk to New Hampshire voters about their voting plans and "vote triple," or stand at polls and be that campaign advocate everyone loves to see (sarcasm) and ask them to text three friends to vote. I also am a research assistant for one of my professors for a Middle East research projects called "TIME" or Targeted Infrastructure in the Middle East, looking at why actors involved in war destroy different types of infrastructure. This has not only promoted great practical skill development, such as Excel skills, but also provided experience to see real-life events unfolding in the Middle East on a microscopic level.

Are you involved in any groups, clubs or organizations?         

Yes! I have been involved in Planned Parenthood Generation Action and Model United Nations. I have also recently joined UNH College Democrats and UNH College Republicans. I am also a community educator for the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) center on campus.

How is COLA preparing you for career and professional success?

COLA is preparing me for my career in several ways. The obvious preparation it provides can be found in the classes; by taking COLA classes, one will automatically gain useful knowledge for their field. Equally important is the faculty in COLA's academic advising offices. My academic advisor has helped me accomplish what I thought would be the impossible. With her help, I have been able to double major and minor as a transfer student and still graduate on time. I mention this here because it means she has helped me expand my range of knowledge in the political field, thus inherently preparing me for my future. As I mentioned above, COLA professors have also been a huge help in preparing me for my career because of their sincere willingness to help one figure out the right career path.

What are your post-graduation plans at this point?

As a junior I should probably have some plan, but I am really not sure. The goal is to travel, gain some international experience and meet some interesting people. I am thinking of applying for a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research in a foreign country in the fall after I graduate.

What is one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

While I often appear as the rigid political science person, if you can't tell by my strawberry earrings, I definitely have a wonky side. I collect gnomes, read plant books and have an addictive tendency to binge Netflix with my best friend/grandmother. People often call me a "young old lady." I also consume large amounts of cheese fries when stressed or doing well – so  really all the time!