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A Firm Foundation: History & Political Science

American flags on a lawn

Imagine being a politician, gearing up to begin canvassing door-to-door to meet and engage with voters, when the COVID-19 pandemic freezes the entire campaign mid-stride. Cameron West (Political Science; Pre-Law ’18), who has been a self-employed, independent political contractor since graduating from Pensacola Christian College, faced that challenge earlier this year.

Cameron West

Specializing in campaign management, grassroots organization, and public relations, Cameron recently held a contract position with the Maine House Republicans as the field director, spearheading recruitment efforts for many of the 151 State House districts. The pandemic proved to be a worthy—and unexpected—opponent this year. To continue promoting their campaigns, Cameron and his candidates switched methods and used social media, drive-in events, and small in-home group meetings instead.

This fall, Cameron began pursuing a Juris doctorate at Regent University School of Law. Leading up to attending Regent, he has leaned on his training in writing, time and stress management, public speaking, as well as building his understanding of policy issues with a biblical foundation.

“Having a biblical foundation for your beliefs provides a sense of security that you won’t find anywhere else. This is increasingly evident in the world around us, where political and social positions seem to be changing on what seems like a daily basis,” Cameron explained. “When you base your beliefs on biblical foundations, you don’t have to worry about what the social norm or what the majority think and change accordingly with the news cycle; you can stand firm knowing that your position will never have to change. Obviously, that isn’t true for all policy decisions, but generally speaking, the principle stands true.”

Both PCC’s history degree and political science concentration emphasize America’s unique founding and biblical foundation, as well as show history from a Christian perspective while promoting service to others. Students studying history are prepared to enter fields of law, politics, journalism, education, religion, and social sciences. Those studying political science are trained to become informed citizens who make a difference for their country and influence the world with their understanding of government.

Esther McDonald

Esther Slater McDonald (History; English ’00) earned her Juris doctorate from Notre Dame Law School in 2003 and has been a lawyer partnering with Seyfarth Shaw LLP for the last 12 years. Usually, she manages anywhere from 100–150 cases at a time and oversees attorneys working those cases. Her work focuses on counseling and defending companies that prepare credit or background screening reports. Since the pandemic first began, Esther now works remotely full-time, attending hearings, mediations, trial courts, and appellate courts by teleconference or videoconference. “I think the changes are positive, and I hope that courts will continue to provide remote options,” she explained. “Litigation is expensive, and permitting litigants to attend proceedings remotely will reduce costs and increase access to justice.”

Esther appreciated the push to strive for excellence that she received while at PCC, helping her to defend her own views while being open to learn from others. “[My teachers] challenged me to think critically. They allowed me to question ideas and engaged with me, challenging my points while allowing me to defend them,” Esther explained. “Those experiences taught me that challenges ensure a firm foundation. Today, in my practice, I challenge legal positions, and I ask those who work with me to challenge mine—if my position withstands the challenges, I know it’s a good one. If it doesn’t, I know I need to discard the argument or revise it to strengthen it.”

Marie Thompson

“The advantage to PCC’s programs is their emphasis on United States History and our insistence on basing our courses on the Bible’s principles when it comes to society’s institutions of the family, church, and government,” said Marie Thompson, chair of humanities. “From working at United States Central Command in counterterrorism analysis to serving as an aide to a member of Congress, or as a press secretary to a sitting United States senator, our history and political science majors are serious students with a desire to change the world for Christ. They want to serve the Lord and their country. They are critical thinkers with a passion for what is right.”