1st Student's Major

Gender and Women's Studies

1st Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Students' Professional Biography

Chelsea Barr was born on December 4, 1989 in Niagara Falls, NY. She moved to Minnesota in 2001 due to her mother’s career location. After graduating high school, she attended college at Minnesota State University, Mankato in Mankato, MN. She graduated in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and an Art History minor. Chelsea plans to attend graduate school for International Leadership. She plans to use her education working abroad and locally with marginalized populations. Ina Pae was born on April 1, 1988 in Tübingen, Germany while her father was studying abroad earning his Ph.D in Theology and her mother was working as a nurse. She was educated in South Korea after her family moved back. Since August 2011, Ina has attended Minnesota State University, Mankato in Mankato, MN. She is working on a degree in International Relations with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. After college, she is hoping to work for international organizations that advocate for women and children.

Mentor's Name

Shannon Miller

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

Gender and Women's Studies

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Numerous studies have found that people of color, women, and those with physical challenges are significantly under-represented in political careers due to societal barriers. For example, women’s participation in politics shows some improvement while women occupy only 12% of the political careers. To explore whether students and professors interested in political careers have experienced under-representation of minorities, a mixed-method approach with both surveys and interviews of Minnesota State University, Mankato, students and professors from the departments of Government and Gender and Women’s Studies were utilized. These students were selected because both fields study political institutions, and are likely to seek political careers. According to previous literature and similar to our own research findings, minorities experience obstacles in the process of obtaining political careers. In addition, professors who work in academic careers and feel in touch with various political topics, described a lack of support to maintain their careers. This study has implications for raising awareness about the obstacles that people of color, women, and those with physical challenges face obtaining and maintaining political careers. Building upon a wealth of research, our findings will challenge our society to lay prejudicial barriers to rest and provide greater equality for all those seeking political careers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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