Interview with Fanny Lauby, Ph.D. in Political Science at the Graduate Center, 2014, assistant professor of Political Science at William Peterson University
By Andre Guzzi
A: You got a tenure track position at William Peterson University while still working on your dissertation. How was the job market process?
F: I started applying to many different universities in the fall 2013. In that semester I also attended the APSA job placement program. I got an offer from William Peterson University, New Jersey, in March 2014. I defended my dissertation in June, and started working in the following fall.
A: What is your dissertation about and how did you get to the topic?
F: My dissertation is about immigrant political incorporation and I compare immigrant youth movements in New York and New Jersey looking at different policies on access to higher education. I became interested in working with this issues when I came from France, where I am originally from, and did one year of study abroad in Arizona in 2007/2008. During that year, I became aware of the issues surrounding immigrant access to education and variation between states. During my Ph.D., I refined the scope of my analysis and decided to focus on policies in New York and New Jersey.
A: What were your main findings?
F: Unexpectedly, many of the results led me to realize the importance of the place in shaping policies. For example, public transportation was a great factor in determining the organization of the youth movements. In New York, the greater accessibility of public transportation allowed a broader involvement of the youth in the movements and demonstrations. In New Jersey, the less accessibility to public transportation made it harder for the youth’s involvement. During the strategy meetings that I could attend in New Jersey, a great amount of time was spent to discuss ways to make it easier for people to go to the next meetings and demonstrations. During my research, I interviewed 60 undocumented Latino youth.
A: Where does your research stand right now?
F: I am expanding the research from my dissertation. Since I graduated I have interviewed 72 more people, including elected officials, community organizers, and non-Latino youth. Now I am in the process of transcribing and analyzing the data. I plan to write an article to present my initial findings, and later I plan to transform this expanded research into a book.
A: Do you have any advice for the Ph.D. candidates at the GC?
F: I would say that students should start going to conferences as early as they can to build up confidence on their work. Also, students should be focused on finishing their dissertation. Living in New York can be distracting, and the GC requirement to teach in other CUNY schools can consume a great amount of your time and students may lose their focus on the dissertation. Lastly, students should give themselves a lot of time for the market. I would say that they should start applying for jobs when they are in the initial stage of writing their dissertation. This way, they can gain experience applying for jobs and, if they do not get any offer, they are still affiliated to the program.