Upon graduation, Gershon began teaching at Georgia State University. Having already taught a few classes at ASU, learning how to structure them and how to communicate with students, helped Gershon feel more prepared.

“That level of engagement as a graduate student was critically important in helping me do my best with this job and also gave me the confidence to feel like I can do it well,” Gershon said. “It impacted not only my career but affects the way I mentor my own graduate students.”

Although she was no longer a student at ASU, Gershon’s relationship with her mentors was as strong as ever. Kenney and Fridkin would continue to offer support and professional advice in the coming years. In 2016, Gershon was excited to be able to work with Fridkin again on a debate study funded by an NSF grant.

"Sarah and I are working together on exciting research exploring how people’s emotional reactions influence their understanding of political communication," Fridkin said. "It is extremely rewarding to have witnessed Sarah’s transformation from a first-year graduate student in my research methods seminar to a first-rate scholar with an impressive record in scholarship, teaching and administration."

While back in Tempe, Gershon gave a colloquium to faculty and students titled “Shared Identities: The Intersection of Race and Gender and Support for Political Candidates”. This project was a collaboration with three other political scientists and looks at how voters feel about candidates who share their racial, ethnic and gender identities.

Being back on campus to present her work was a surreal experience for Gershon.

“More than anything I’m grateful that I’m a part of this community and I’m grateful that I get to come back and see all of them. It’s a wonderful thing to be here.”

Matt Oxford

Assistant Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, College of Global Futures