Emily Elia, Rice University graduate student in Political Science

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Originally from Massachusetts, Emily Elia (she/her/hers) is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in political science. She graduated from The University of Alabama in 2018 where she double-majored in political science and Spanish. At Rice, Emily currently studies comparative politics with a focus on Latin America. Her research focuses on political corruption and electoral accountability with a specific interest in how political elites interact with the issue of corruption. Her research also examines the role gender plays in how elites engage with the issue of corruption and how that engagement is perceived by voters. Emily also currently serves as the Political Science Graduate Student Liaison for the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice.

Fun Fact:

In college, I was a student athlete on my university's equestrian team!

Favorite thing about Rice:

My favorite thing about Rice is the collaborative community. In my experience, graduate students work together and help each other through tough classes and research problems rather than act competitive and cutthroat. Grad school is a challenging time, and being in a supportive community makes a big difference!

Favorite thing about Houston:

My favorite thing about Houston is the food scene! Houston has amazing restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, and nearly every graduate student will probably tell you the same. Apart from the very popular food scene, Houston also has great museums, and many of them offer student discounts or special free entry days so you can enjoy them at no cost!

Why did you decide to go to grad school?

I had always loved learning and building knowledge, but I did not decide to go to grad school until the fall of my senior year of undergrad. Until then, I had totally different career plans, but by the end of my junior year I started to realize that the career that felt most appealing to me was the career my professors had. I became interested in teaching at the college level, and getting a PhD became the clear path to that goal. Additionally, I often found myself leaving my political science classes with more questions than I had at the beginning of each semester, and there were areas of study within the field that I wanted to know more about. I started to feel that research would be something I would enjoy, too. I met with a few professors who knew me well and discussed the possibility of getting a PhD. After meeting with them, I felt more confident that a PhD was the right path for me, and I also felt that it made the most sense for my career goals to apply to PhD programs directly from undergrad.