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Making Sense of American Poltics

July 24, 2015



Let Julie Strauss guide you through the muddle


“We’re partners engaged in the learning process,” said Julie Strauss, Ph.D., Lifelong Learning lecturer on American politics. She has found her niche in sharing her expertise and interacting with adult learners, in particular audiences at retirement communities, academic centers for older adults, and senior center programs like Lifelong Learning.

Right after college, Julie worked on Capitol Hill and enjoyed seeing how Congress works up close. That experience sparked her interest in politics, so she went on to do graduate work in American politics (Northwestern University). Her doctoral studies culminated in her research and dissertation about women in Congress (1985–1994)—for example, the bills they introduced, their writings and speeches, the votes they cast, and committee assignments. “I loved analyzing what they did differently from men,” said Julie, “and how they have an impact on Congress.”

As the 2016 presidential race heats up and legislators begin to jockey for visibility in their campaigns for reelection, Julie is scouring the headlines and using her academic and practical experience to figure out what’s going on. She is distilling that information into stimulating and engaging presentations that are adding an intriguing dimension to our understanding of politics. Just take a look at a couple of her recent course titles: “Political Television Advertising: Does It Really Work?” and “Unlimited Terms and Gerrymandering: How They Affect Our Democracy.” And, her upcoming class “Recent Supreme Court Decisions” in September is sure to generate a lively discussion.

The Q&A portion of her lecture time is her favorite part. Julie commented, “The questions are perfect. Someone inevitably brings out a point that I couldn’t bring up because of time or that I hadn’t included. [Lifelong Learning audiences] are very knowledgeable about the issues, so the interaction can provide for a deeper experience.”

“I’m enthusiastic about American politics and endeavor to make it interesting to others,” said Julie. That includes being receptive to suggestions for new topics that people want to explore. For example, in response to requests, she put together a lecture about the Electoral College and one about the Federal Reserve. 


Perhaps you too are intrigued by a political topic that you don’t see listed among Julie’s presentations in the Lifelong Learning catalog. You’re probably not alone in your curiosity, so let us know your thoughts. Email: LifelongLearning@nssc.org, and we’ll pass along the idea to Julie.