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New professor John McMahon talks coming to Beloit

Terese Lydon/The Round Table

Therese Lydon/The Round Table

From the Big Apple to Beloit College, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science John McMahon has made quite the leap to join campus. However, It is hardly the first major move of his young life.

McMahon grew up in Castle Rock, a suburb of Denver, Colo. He soon made the leap across the country to New York, where he studied and ultimately received his Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York.

Previously, McMahon taught at Hunter College in New York City, before he decided to come to Beloit. “I wanted the chance to teach at a liberal arts school where I would have the chance to get close relationships with students and smaller class sizes, and a more cohesive academic community than I was used to,” he said. Along with the appeal of a small liberal arts campus, McMahon has been enjoying the “different pace of life” here; trees everywhere and squirrels within five feet at all times.

He is currently teaching two classes this semester: “Introduction to Political Thinking” and “U.S. Federal Government and Politics.” He’s looking forward to “getting settled into and starting to build an academic community of students and faculty”.

Life in Beloit has already proven to have some significant differences from his time in New York. He lives just a five-minute bike ride away from Beloit, which he greatly prefers over his fifteen minute subway ride. Another part of Beloit that McMahon has enjoyed is the school’s affinity for turtles. He says he is ”in favor of the turtles, very strongly.”

It’s not all about what Beloit brings to him, as McMahon has several key ideas he hopes to bring to Beloit. He possesses a unique perspective to political science that, in his words, “is grounded in the foundational questions and authors [of the field]” but also brings a “critical approach, often from other disciplines, to shed light on those basic questions of political science.”

He became interested in this field after two inspirational classes: a gender and international relations class as an undergrad and a class on Marx as a graduate student. He hopes to challenge his students, so that once they finish his class they will “be able to approach any kind of political question from a new and critical perspective.”

When he’s not spending his days in the classroom, McMahon likes to get out and challenge his own perspectives. When McMahon finished his dissertation, he went skydiving to conquer his fear of heights. He also enjoys collecting postcards from friends, family, and places around the world. He’ll likely be adding a turtle postcard to that collection soon.

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