FAQ
Photo of Leanne Leanne C. Powner Ph.D., Political Science

Personal

Walking 'round the Mall on a gorgeous March Saturday

The boring stuff: I got my BA in international studies from American University in Washington, DC, and my PhD from the University of Michigan (2008). I taught at the College of Wooster (AY 2008-09), American University (2009-10), SAIS (2011), and Christopher Newport University (2015-16). Iíve got a book on how to write empirical research papers from CQ Press.

The fun stuff: Iím a rabid Steelers fan and only slightly less rabid Wolverines fan. Iím pretty obsessed with football; itís on the TV all day Saturday and Sunday, Monday nights, and most Thursday nights as well, plus most of the week between Christmas and New Yearís. I was born near Pittsburgh, so itís not surprising that I bleed black and gold. (Think about it: all the steel mills and brownfields along the Ohio River, municipal water sources, I dunno, maybe?) And after 7 years in a Big 10 (oh, sorry, B1G) town, you drink enough of the Kool-Aid there too.

Tulum, Mexico

Some people, including students, have founds it unnatural that a woman likes football this much. Myself, I don't really understand what's unnatural about it, especially not for someone who studies strategic interaction. Football is a lot like world politics, except that the anarchy is gone. Honestly, what fascinates me the most about football, I think, and which will definitely confirm my übernerd status to anyone who doubted it, is the statistical operation. The nerd in me is just amazed by the size and structure of the database the NFL must have to track some of those stats: player level, game level, team level, coach-level (which might cross teams), league level, bilateral (inter-team), etc. I have no idea what use some of these statistics have ("The Steelers are 1-and-2 all-time against left-handed quarterbacks in away games in the rain" - meanwhile all three games were against the same southpaw whose team no longer exists and who personally died 20 years ago, so what exactly does that stat tell us?), but it's fascinating all the same to think about what they must have to do to calculate these things.

This is mildly amusing when you consider that I married a military guy from Charlotte, NC. He went to the Air Force Academy, where school spirit is enforced and football attendance is mandatory. He grew up mostly without an NFL team and doesnít have strong ties to the Panthers. So weíve got this weird contra-stereotype household where the woman wants to watch football all the time and the guy would prefer to watch home improvement and cooking shows. I still do all the cooking, though, and thatís (mostly) OK because it turns out that I rather enjoy it.

With Jay

Yes, we took our wedding party on the Metro

The whole marrying-into-the-military thing is totally not where I would have seen my life going when I was in grad school. I was going to get a tenure-track job, like everyone else, and settle down for life in whatever small town I got hired in. Boy, was I wrong. My husbandís job requires us to move every 2-4 years, roughly, at unpredictable intervals and with unpredictable notice (if any), to destinations that we have no influence over. I went from thinking about the cute little home Iíd buy once I got tenure to thinking about whether Iíll be able to mix and match my new furniture with the old when we get to our next home. Itís a totally different mind-set and itís required me to find new ways to deploy the skills Iíve got.

To the extent that academics can be said to have spare time, my other spare time activities involve being a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USA and extensive crocheting. I crank out probably 3-4 full-size crocheted afghans and at least that many baby blankets in a given year (I have perfected watching football and crocheting at the same time, and can even often crochet and read at the same time if it's not too complex a pattern or book). I am obsessed with Harry Potter and have read all of the books in English and in French. My rationale was, if you need to get your language skills back to a functional level (and I did), you need to use something fun or you won't be motivated to keep up with it. Harry did the trick for me, though I'll admit that the first chapter of the first book is a bit of a doozy with all that description. I picked up a young adult series in French when I was at the EUSA conference in Montreal a few years ago; I'm now reading at the proficiency of a 13 year old (woohoo!!). I'm on book 10 of the series and looking forward to finishing the last two volumes because frankly, the writing sucks. This series should have ended 5 books ago.

Finally, just because I can, here are some pictures of us and our fur babies, Max and Lady, the rottenest beagles around.

Hard at "work"

Aren't we cute?


Last updated on Wednesday, 15-Mar-2017 18:01:56 PDT