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Grad student to use double major at the intersection of politics, planning


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May 07, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Arizona State University student Johnathan Gates said he was inspired to pursue a degree in political science because he has always had an interest in politics. 

This May, he will receive his bachelor’s degree in political science on top of his completed degree in urban planning all while studying for his master’s degree to be fulfilled next spring in urban and environmental planning

I learned from an early age that if you want to get anything done anywhere, you better make sure you understand the politics of the situation. Truly comprehending political science at ASU has challenged me to be a better student, person and citizen,” Gates said. 

Gates hopes to utilize his education to work at the intersection of planning and politics as he aspires to serve in the public sector with the USDOT, HUD or the EPA. 

“Our land is shaped by the environment, designed by the people, and influenced by policy. When we can bring these together, we are able to build a sustainable home today that will be here tomorrow,” Gates said. 

The connections at the School of Politics and Global Studies allowed Gates to receive hands-on experience in his desired field. 

Gates is currently a Travel Reduction Program intern at Maricopa County Air Quality Department, which involves site monitoring, survey options and travel plan implementation. 

“The opportunities that have come out of this internship have been the ability to network with other agencies and collaborate with professionals in the field I someday hope to be in,” Gates said. 

ASU made it possible for Gates to maximize the education that gives him a competitive advantage in gaining specialized knowledge. In doing so, Gates is able to obtain professional experience to take with him in his future endeavors. 

One piece of advice he could give to students coming to ASU in the fall is to get involved in clubs, get to know professors and have fun. 

“I want first years and all students to find ways to live in the moment because I now realize that college is more than being in the classroom. This is the time to explore everything under the sun,” Gates said. 

Question: What was your favorite class at the School of Politics and Global Studies and why? 

Answer: Taking Professional Career Development with Dr. Pout was one of the best courses a student can take. The class went the extra step to combine education with experience which is what I imagine most students are looking for. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

A: Politics affects our lives, so if you have the slightest interest in the discipline, seek someone out. This could be a professional, teacher or student who can show you how much of an impact you can make with this degree.

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