In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Yamil Velez, a new member of Wesleyan’s Government Department.
Q: Welcome to Wesleyan! Please tell us about your background—where did you grow up, go to school, etc?
A: I grew up in Miami, Florida as the only son of two immigrant parents. My parents divorced at an early age and since my mother had to work and go to school to support us, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. It was my grandmother who instilled a passion for politics in me, as I would spend every afternoon listening to talk radio and discussing contemporary politics with her. When it was time to go to college, I opted for a university in the capital of Florida with a great political science department – Florida State University – and there I began my journey as a political scientist. Political science appealed to me because it reminded me of the long conversations I would have with my grandmother about local and global politics, and I was excited to contribute to the discussion.
Q: As an undergrad, you double majored in political science and psychology. How did this inform your graduate work and scholarly interests today?
A: I appreciated political science for its focus on understanding how different political actors interact and its emphasis on institutions. However, I always felt like these courses did not place enough importance on the individual so I sought out psychology