SUNY Oneonta

Dept. of Political Science
SUNY College at Oneonta
Oneonta, NY 13820
Schumacher Hall 10





The Political Science Department is proud of the untold number of its alumni who have pursued extremely successful professional careers in all levels and branches of government, law, the corporate world, not-for-profit organizations, and journalism.

Alumni Profiles & Photos

Esther Spindler '07
After returning from 3 years in Guatemala with the U.S. Peace Corps, Esther Spindler (class of 2007 and recipient of the Department's annual Hoyt Jackson award) graduated with a M.S. in Development Management from the School of International Service (SIS) at American University.  She currently focuses her work on the intersection of international development, health and research in the Americas.  She is currently working as a consultant with a public-private initiative with a factory in Haiti aimed at improving the health services for workers, in addition to conducting monitoring and evaluation (M&E) research for the Education Development Center (EDC) in Washington D.C.  She has also worked on a number of research projects examining the risk of LGBTQ Latino immigrant and African-American youth populations to HIV/AIDS in Washington DC.   Esther will be moving to Brazil in September, where she will be working with local NGOs to improve their access to research for gender and health initiatives.  She ultimately hopes to develop her own research on the state of Brazilian NGOs and their role within South-South development.  



Joan Rolf, originally from Massapequa, Long Island, graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science, and received her Master's Degree in International Relations in
1978 from Georgetown University. Joan's professional career took her to the U.S. Department of Commerce where she worked in the Trade Administration in the Electronics Division; she then worked at NASA for six years as Japan Team Lead,
Asia Team Lead and Acting Division Director for Science in the Office of International and InterAgency Relations. From NASA, Joan joined the Executive Office of the President in 2006, in the Office of Science and Technology Policy
(known as OSTP), where she serves as Assistant Director for International Relations. In between her work, Joan lived in Japan and Italy with her husband, a military officer; she also worked in the private sector in the area of technology.


Edward Hyde Clarke - Inauguration Day 2011!


Alumni - Matt Summers Visits Oneonta

Matt Summers, class of 2005, returned to campus in early September 2010 to talk to students in Prof. Richard Barberio’s U.S. Congress course about his ongoing experiences as a member of Sen. John Kerry’s staff. Summers, a political science major and alumnus of the Washington Semester internship program, spoke to the class about the politics of life on Capitol Hill and the role of congressional staff.


Recent Alumni News


Alumni - Jay Jacobs '77 Visits Oneonta

Alumnus Jay Jacobs visited SUNY-Oneonta on March 25. Jay spoke to Professor Gina Keel’s Introduction to U.S. Government class and enjoyed lunch with Department faculty and a group of political science majors.

Jay graduated from the College at Oneonta in 1977 with a degree in Economics and Political Science. He attended Northwestern Law School where he received his law degree three years later. Currently, Jay is Chief Executive Officer of Timberlake Corporation Family of Camps based on Long Island.

While at Oneonta, Jay was very active in politics and served as Student Government President in his senior year. Jay has taken that love of politics forward to this day. He has been active in Democratic Politics for many years, including Chairing the Nassau County Democratic Party. Currently, Jay is Chair of the New York State Democratic Party.

An Invitation to Alumni


Alumni of the Political Science Department are cordially invited to communicate with us. The faculty of the Department are very interested to learn of both your educational and professional accomplishments since obtaining your baccalaureate degree. Furthermore, we encourage alumni to return to campus to meet with current undergraduates. You may communicate with the Department by calling the Departmental office at 607-436-3522, or by Fax at 607-436-3525.

Statements by Alumni


"The problem solving, analytical, and writing skills I acquired as a Political Science major at Oneonta State have proved to be invaluable to me in graduate school. The Political Science faculty played a quintessential role in my development, both academically and professionally, by constantly offering encouragement, constructive criticism, and new challenges." Jacqueline M. Gombach (‘98) Master of Public Administration, College of William and Mary.

"The College at Oneonta opens doors. . . thought-provoking professors and a thorough curriculum provide an excellent grounding in the working of law and government for students considering a career in public service." Jack Smith (‘91) J.D., Harvard University, School of Law, Assistant District Attorney, Manhattan.

"One-on-one interaction with my professors and good internship opportunities gave me an exceptional educational experience." Virginia Lynch Landy (90) Legislative Associate, Albany.

"Many faculty invited my curiosity and took a personal interest in my growth and learning. . ." Tiffany Michel (‘89), J.D., Attorney, Smith, Barney, Shearson, Inc., Manhattan.

"What is exemplary about the Oneonta State Political Science Department is that, in addition to offering a variety of interesting courses, its faculty teaches the analytic skills that are vital to success in any profession." Patricio Jimenez (‘91), J.D., Hofstra School of Law.

The Political Science Department at "Oneonta State provides a faculty dedicated to its craft, a learning environment that extends beyond the classroom. I came away from the program with valuable research and reading skills and, perhaps most importantly, an enduring love of learning." Chris Grill (‘87) Ph.D., SUNY Albany

"If your interest lies in public policy, a Political Science major at SUNY Oneonta can give you the opportunity to excel in this dynamic and ever-changing field." Christopher Fish (‘91) Executive Assistant to a U.S. Senator.

"What stands out the most for me about the Political Science Department at SUNY Oneonta are the exceptional professors and staff. They were very committed to maintaining a strong learning and educational environment. I always felt that they genuinely cared about helping me reach my academic goals and have continued to be an asset to me in my post-graduate life." Jeramie Barber ('00) Staff Assistant, SUNY Oneonta's Center for Economic & Community Development

"The best aspect of Oneonta’s Political Science Department is the individual attention provided by the professors. By the time I completed my B.A., my professors had become more like good friends. This probably helped tremendously when it came time to apply to graduate school. They knew me not just as a student, but as a person. . ." James Scotland (‘95) Market Analyst, major California commercial real estate brokerage.

"I was continually challenged and encouraged, both by my wonderful professors and interesting courses at Oneonta State." Elizabeth Hall (‘90) Legislative Assistant to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.