“What’s your ideal politician?” When Ally Wong, a sophomore double majoring in Philosophy and History, asked people this question, most described a white male. Wong, a Dammon Dean’s Scholar, works with Political Science Professor Nadia Brown to research the politics of appearance. Specifically, Wong addresses how hairstyle, dress, and other visual identifiers influence perceptions of Black female politicians.
Wong began researching during her first-year at Purdue. Moreover, Wong says that Purdue’s emphasis on research convinced her to come here. She says, “I felt that faculty at other schools weren’t giving research the emphasis it deserved. Purdue made research one of its selling points.” And while doing research has helped prepare Wong for future careers, she has benefited in other ways too.
“I’ve been very lucky to make such great connections with professors and other students; I’ve even worked with some Ph.D. students. They’ve given so much guidance on courses to take and post-graduate work, internships, and other opportunities I wouldn’t have known about.” Wong credits her success in large part to the mentoring of Professor Nadia Brown, and says, “I’ve never felt hesitant to contact people and ask for help.”