Skip to Main Content

Dr. Eric Stokan

 

I joined the Political Science Department at UMBC in 2018 as an assistant professor. I grew up in metropolitan-Detroit and attended Wayne State University for my B.A. and M.A. in political science. When I am not teaching or conducting research, there is a good chance I am running.

What led you to become a political scientist?

My interests in politics started when a political candidate for a Michigan state house seat arrived at my door and sought to convince me to vote for him. After many hours campaigning with him, I served as his legislative intern and later worked as a policy fellow for Governor Jennifer Granholm. While I enjoyed working in politics, I came to enjoy the academic study of it even more. Growing up in metropolitan-Detroit during a period of post-industrialization and the continued decline of the automobile industry led me to seek answers involving how to use policies to improve the local economy.

What kinds of research questions are most interesting to you?

I am interested in understanding why local and state governments pursue certain economic development policies and what impact those policies have on the economic viability of the area. This has led me to consider why state and local governments will try to attract major companies like Amazon, but also to study the economic and fiscal effects of various policies and programs like business incubator policies, state-level Earned Income Tax Credits, and HUD’s Community Development Block Grant.

What ideas, skills, or experiences do you hope students will come away with after having taken a class with you?

What is most important to me is that students become critical consumers of information. Developing and honing this skill is important in one’s career as well as in one’s personal life. Beyond that, I want students to become more comfortable with communicating their ideas and arguments in writing and orally.

What can POLI majors do with their degrees?

I believe that UMBC political science majors will be amazed at the versatility of their degree. As my first political science professor asked, in what realm of life is politics not in some way involved? Whether a student wants to work directly for a governmental entity or for a private, non-profit, philanthropic, or academic entity, the skills and substance of this degree will uniquely qualify them for many roles. This degree can also prepare them for a range of post-graduate degrees.