Kioni Shropshire-Maina '23

Kioni Shropshire-Maina pictured outside Capitol building

Kioni Shropshire-Maina
Major: History
Minors: Political Science & Dance
Next Step: Graduate School or Policy Research

Research has played an integral role in bringing history to life for Kioni Shropshire-Maina. One of the most memorable courses she took in the LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts was a seminar in Indigenous Histories. Her eyes were opened to how history could be taught in such a way that uplifts historically misrepresented people and she also realized how deeply history impacts our present. A research proposal from the course evolved into a Summer Undergraduate Research Program project, supervised by Nicolas Rosenthal.

“My summer Undergraduate Research Program project, which eventually turned into my thesis, was probably one of the most impactful research experiences because it was my first real opportunity to do a deep dive into a topic that really interested me,” said Shropshire-Maina.

Beyond the bluff, Shropshire-Maina put her research skills to the test interning for Karen Bass and Chuck Schumer over the past two summers on Capitol Hill. “The most transferrable part of my academic background was research skills – knowing how to gather and distill information properly and efficiently was really helpful, especially in such a fast-paced environment,” she said. “Also, having familiarity with a wide range of domestic and international history and issues was helpful because it made it easier to contextualize policy decisions and current events, as well as to give tours of the Capitol.”

Shropshire-Maina’s ultimate career goal is to do foreign policy research that provides historical context for current issues, so that the policy developed can be as historically informed as possible. In the short-term, she is considering whether to begin Georgetown’s MA program in Global, International, and Comparative History, or to defer admission for a year and gain more experience in policy research. “Taking classes like African States from 1500-Present, Modern Middle East, and Politics of the Middle East, as well as interning at the Capitol, were central to getting me interested in international history and politics,” she said. “I chose to apply to graduate programs with an international history focus because I wanted to combine my interests in history and politics with research opportunities.”

Shropshire-Maina’s advice to current students is to really take advantage of the Core Curriculum and the opportunity to take a wide range of classes. “Having to take courses outside of your major through the Core is helpful in expanding your analytical and critical thinking skills, but also just interesting and fun,” said Shropshire-Maina. “I also think that this style of interdisciplinary learning has made me more open-minded, and more willing to try things that are outside of my immediate comfort zone.”