Royal Bandurka '18

Major: Political Science
Hometown: Minerva, Ohio

Minor: Gender Studies
Member of the Communter Student Organization

Future UN Member

Choosing Mount Union
Of course, being 15 minutes away from Alliance, I often passed by Mount Union when I made trips, and I was always mesmerized by the beautiful landscape of the campus. My initial reason for choosing Mount Union was so I could transfer from the University of Pittsburgh, an hour and a half away, to a university that was much closer to home. I started doing research on all my options, and realized Mount Union’s reputation was incredible compared to my other options – and a lot closer! I visited the campus shortly before my application was accepted, and everything fell perfectly into place.

Affordability in Transferring
When I first applied to Mount Union, I was seriously worried about my ability to pay. I had just transferred from the University of Pittsburgh, which had required out-of-state tuition, so my financial situation was not the greatest. However, once I got my financial aid information back, I was astonished at the help Mount Union offered me. The Academy Scholarship was especially important to me because it was offered on the basis of my success in class, which meant a lot to me because my I have worked so hard to have the GPA that I do. It felt great to be recognized for that work, and that really set in stone that I would find my place at Mount Union.

Personal Attention from Faculty
My first semester here, I had some of the most interesting professors I have had in all my college career so far, and that really helped me ease into things. I love talking to professionals who have dedicated their lives to teaching others about the things they are passionate about, and that is what I experienced in even my first few classes. I realized I could become just as passionate when I discovered my calling in life, and that initial realization has helped me work as hard as I have. As a plus, my professors shared my sense of humor, and that made me feel a lot more comfortable to talk in class and to other students. In addition, the professors Mount Union has are incredible – I have never met a team of such dedicated people, and the experience that they have makes me, as a student, feel like every class is being taught by the right person. Professors at Mount Union have the ability to express their lived experiences of what they talk about, and that makes the material really come to life; they also have an endless list of connections to other professionals and opportunities for internships or even careers, so long as one takes the initiative to network.

Beautiful Campus
One thing I picked up on in my first few weeks is how much work goes into keeping the campus so clean and lush. I immediately noticed how spotless every building is, and for someone that appreciates a clean working space, that meant a lot to me. I am a huge fan of flowers and cultivating the natural beauty of a space, which Mount Union absolutely does and does very well. My mother is a huge gardening fan, and I love to share with her all the plants I spot on campus.

Advice for Future Raiders
For prospective students coming in from another university or from a small town like me, the best advice I can give is to not be afraid to speak up in class! Sometimes it can be daunting moving from a situation where either no one really knows you or everybody knows you, and it can be difficult adjusting to new surroundings, new people, and new expectations; I think the best way to combat this is to try to engage, even through small steps, with the class and all the new potential lifelong friends. 

Major Switching
When I first started my college career, I was planning on going into the legal field as a paralegal. Once I took a few classes, I realized that I may have to refocus on what really interests me about the field because I felt like I had forced myself into a career path that did not align with me. I did my research about all the majors I was interested in, and after reading about the classes I would be taking, I realized political science satisfied my curiosity about the workings of the world while providing an avenue to change it as well. I have always been fascinated with culture and the differences between countries, which is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in political science. 

Favorite Class
If I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would have to be Post-Soviet Politics. While I admit it was a pretty difficult class, the enormous amount of information I learned really changed the way I think about one of the most important countries in today’s political world. A lot of Americans have misconceptions about Russia, and I was one of them, but that class changed how I see Russia and the Post-Soviet countries entirely. As someone with Ukrainian roots, it was eye-opening to learn about the struggle of modern Ukrainians, and because of this I think taking a class covering one’s heritage is so incredibly helpful.

Integrative Core Benefits
The most dreaded but also most useful part of the Integrative Core curriculum, in my opinion is the focus on oral presentations. A vast majority of people have difficulty speaking in public and, like me, often avoid it as much as possible and slack on presentations just enough to get by. However, my view of public speaking has completely changed after requiring it for so many classes. Instead of dreading presentations, I have gotten so used to them that I am able to relax, focus, and speak clearly, sometimes even without note cards. As someone with very little presentational skills before Mount Union, I am very grateful to have the ability to create, conduct, and conclude presentations in a calm way without trying to rush through.

Career Goals
Ultimately, I think my dream is the same as anyone else’s – to have a job that does not feel like a job. I want to be able to help people both like me and unlike me, and I want to bridge the gaps between differences so that the world does not feel so hostile anymore. I believe everyone has a place in this world, and that it is a matter of understanding one another’s place that leads to the success of a society. Mount Union has been invaluable to this goal. The vast networks of connections through my professors, the school, and even through students have really opened my eyes to all the possibilities I have. The classes at Mount Union are so much more engaging and rewarding, and feel as though I have grown a lot even in the few semesters I have been here.



Royal Bandurka

Professors at Mount Union have the ability to express their lived experiences of what they talk about, and that makes the material really come to life

Fun Facts

Do you prefer Macs or PCs?
PCs, but to be fair that’s only because I haven’t really used Macs!
Where would you like to travel?
I have only traveled a little bit, but I would love to travel to the United Kingdom and Russia.
What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween! My mother is a huge Halloween fan, so I always had the best costumes.
What is your favorite quote/motto?
“Don’t dream it. Be it.”
What did you want to be as a kid?
A zoologist because I have always loved animals, and I still do – I just think I’m more suited to helping people (at least for now).
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