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WSP Professor Publishes Research on Interest Groups

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Professor Laila Sorurbakhsh

An American University professional lecturer for the Washington Semester Program (WSP) took on a challenge with her recent research. Professor Laila Sorurbakhsh recently published her third article on interest groups.

Sorurbakhsh, who earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Houston, wrote her dissertation on the effects of European expansion on interest group populations. Through this initial research, she became curious about how interest groups work with each other and individually.

“I took a course on interest groups and realized that many scholars shy away from studying them because their definition is somewhat nebulous,” said Professor Sorurbakhsh. “As a result, the area suffers from being ‘theory rich and data poor.’ I've never been one to back away from a challenge, so I was intrigued with finding new ways to study interest groups and finding new ways of quantifying data in the area.” Sorurbakhsh hopes her continued research on interest groups will contribute to the policymaking process.

Currently in her second year of teaching for the WSP, Professor Sorurbakhsh uses her experience as a researcher to spark her students’ interests. This semester, she is teaching two sections of Introduction to College Inquiry and one section of Mentoring Field Practicum. By teaching an introductory course, Sorurbakhsh is able to translate her personal interest on the topic of interest groups to her curriculum for the WSP students. She focuses on teaching her students quantitative and qualitative approaches and theoretical frameworks that can stimulate future research.

“My research has made me a better teacher since I am confident that I have contributed to their field of knowledge with my own work,” commented Sorurbakhsh. “I hope my work also sparks a lifelong interest in my students to continuously ask questions and seek knowledge for themselves.”

Here most recent publication is available online.