ASU senior found passion for democracy after taking political sciences courses for enjoyment

David Lowdermilk


David Lowdermilk made his decision to come to Arizona State University as a freshman without political science in mind. 

After taking a handful of introduction-level political science courses, Lowdermilk applied to the School of Politics and Global Studies with a newfound passion for democracy and civil liberties. 

Upon his admittance into the program, Lowdermilk worked to redefine his academic trajectory by becoming involved in the school, collaborating with peers and gaining mentorship from professors. 

Lowdermilk’s time as a Junior Research Fellow was spent assisting Margaret Hanson in her ongoing research project that focuses on judicial corruption in post-Soviet nations. 

During this process, Lowdermilk was tasked with analyzing and summarizing intensive research papers regarding the concept and occurrences of neopatrimonialism and personalism in governing authorities. 

"DJ and his partner, Hannah Mangold, helped me with the challenging task of organizing and synthesizing articles on a topic relevant to my research. They did an excellent job, and I enjoyed working with them,” said Hanson, an assistant professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies. 

Capitalizing on collaboration, Lowdermilk and his partner developed a comprehensive literature review detailing the findings between the relations of these variations of social-political hierarchy and the degree of corruption within their judicial system. 

“Alongside exercising my research and writing abilities as a Junior Fellow, I also gained an enhanced global awareness involving a profession I aspire to participate in,” Lowdermilk said. 

Hanson provided Lowdermilk not only with ongoing guidance and expertise, but acted as an inspiration for him to pursue his passions. 

“Dr. Hanson was an inspirational and caring professor to work with,” Lowdermilk said. “I am extremely thankful for my time with her.” 

During his time at ASU, Lowdermilk has been able to gain experiences in the workplace that help sharpen his skillset as he prepares for graduation. 

As he looks to expand his knowledge in the legal field, Lowdermilk works as a litigation file clerk and receptionist at May, Potenza, Baran and Gillepsie, P.C.

This experience has given Lowdermilk a perspective of the legal system from a law firm point of view. His role within the company has challenged his problem-solving abilities by working directly with urgent and sensitive legal matters. 

“I believe that my time at MPBG has helped me immensely in preparing me for my future endeavors as I know when I join the legal profession one day, I will already understand how important it is to be attentive, personable and confident to succeed,” Lowdermilk said. 

Lowdermilk also took advantage of on-campus opportunities, including acting as president of the Undergraduate Law Association, where he initiated academic developmental workshops, provided members with networking and LSAT opportunities and helped develop bylaws. 

According to Lowdermilk, the most important role in this position was being able to contribute to maintaining a club culture of high ambition. 

Lowdermilk says he credits the School of Politics and Global Studies for its array of opportunities and its ability to connect students with fellow peers, staff and potential employers.

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