Spotlight on new faculty — an interview with Kyle Kattelman

Interview by Kaidi Ilves

Fairleigh Dickinson University welcomes Kyle Kattelman, an avid researcher of international security issues and terrorism, as assistant professor of political science for the School of Criminal Justice, Political Science and International Studies in University College. Kattelman holds a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

kylekattelmanFDU: Tell us about your new position…

Kyle Kattelman: FDU is unique in many ways. It holds NGO (non-governmental organization) status with the United Nations, and is located in an area that is historically tied into the study of terrorism. Throughout my own studies, I have taught a number of classes that were mostly introductions to the fields of American government and international relations, but some that dug a little deeper, such as the dynamic between global hunger and global security. I’ve always taken an interest in understanding what drives international conflicts and political responses. FDU is an excellent place for me to both further my research agenda, and enrich the minds of students.

 

FDU: How did you become interested in this field?

KK: I was a senior in high school when 9/11 happened… Some of my classmates joined the army and took off in the fight against terrorism. It was a huge moment in history, and personally as well. Next year, I went off to college, majoring in biology, but I simply could not stop thinking about the war. I kept reading about current events and started getting into the history of wars and political conflicts – that’s when I decided to switch my major to political science. I’ve been engulfed in the studies of international security ever since.

FDU: Tell us more about your research…

KK: I have published quite a bit on international security. The majority of my current research is on closing the war on terror. I am looking into why states participate in the war on terror, including possible issues arising from alliance commitments, unwillingness to engage in mass coalitions, collective action problems… It’s quite fascinating!

FDU: What is something you would like to contribute to FDU?

KK: During my time here, I would love to see enrollment go up and for the department to expand. I want to get students involved, not only with the college but in the area as well, and for some of them to continue their studies on the graduate level as well.

FDU: What is something you hope your students will take away from your classes?

KK: I want my students to grasp an inquisitive and analytical mindset without jumping to conclusions. I envision them becoming skeptical of what they hear in the media and taking an objective approach to politics.

FDU: What is one piece of advice you can give your new students?

KK: Come to class! Ask questions! You’ll be surprised by some of the answers you’ll get when you’re inquisitive enough.