Why did you choose to study your field of scholarship? Dr. Kotlarczyk Since I was a little boy, fiction and literature have spoken to me and helped me understand our world in a way that nothing else does. Making a job out of it was a big risk, and one I resisted for a long time (I did not, initially out of college, think I would ever become a teacher or scholar). But for me, sharing my passion for reading and writing has been rewarding, at least so far. Dr. Cross From childhood I have had a curiosity about ancient civilizations. I was fortunate to have a family that encouraged this. Because of my father’s work we traveled often, and wherever we happened to live we always sought out historical landmarks. In this way I gained an education in historical narratives. But it was not until college that I recognized the cognitive value of history. It cultivates critical thinking skills. My freshman year I had a professor who showed me how to collect, evaluate, and arrange a variety of sources into persuasive arguments. I learned that history teaches not what to think but rather how to think. This was an important revelation and I determined to devote my career to it. Throughout my graduate experience, I earned high grades and plaudits from professors and colleagues, all of which reinforced history as the correct path for me. I was fortunate to land a full-time position as a Classicist straight out of graduate school, just as I was to come to IMSA as an Ancient World historian. Mr. Kearney My path to Social Science is an interesting one. I was a theater major in undergrad, but I simply was not a good enough actor to make it big. So I became a history teacher and was lucky enough to be offered a job at the high school that I attended. While there, I began to travel more and began to read a lot about international politics. I was blessed that I had some talent with regard to academics, so I decided to apply to graduate school. But I must admit that I had no idea what the academic field of political science actually looked like. I was accepted to a graduate program at Purdue based on my test scores alone. I had never taken a political science course in college nor any math courses since high school. I quickly found out that political science was indeed scientific and that a mere interest in global politics was not enough to be successful. I learned on the fly and realized that if I wanted to pursue the field, I would need to go to a school that focused even more strongly on the scientific and mathematic aspects of the field. I retook the GRE with a focus on my math scores and was accepted at the University of Wisconsin. There, I focused on those math and science aspects of political science; on research design, statistics, methodology and game theory. I never would have imagined that is where my career would have taken me 20 years ago, but I am happy that it has. PAGE 22