UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES  |  Meet our Alums

Willard Johnson '10
Political Science & Management Science

Willard Johnson

I never expected that my passions for basketball and political science would become so closely entwined in my academic and professional career. They were ignited my freshman year as a member of the MIT Men's Basketball team when we were invited to participate in an international basketball tournament in Taiwan hosted by Kainan University. My experience there sparked a deep passion for international studies fueled by the invigorating curriculum in the MIT Political Science Department.


It was here that my Political Science professors challenged me to explore the social and political issues of the world within the rigor of a qualitative and quantitative framework based on science and data. It was here I learned to analyze policy and the complexities of real world events that drive it, always with an eye to the people that policies impact.


After four years of developing these skills - four years after that final buzzer sounded in Taiwan - I completed my undergraduate thesis analyzing the social and economic ties between China and Taiwan. Since graduation, I've continued to follow my passions, playing basketball internationally and exploring the social network of our world. My basketball passion has taken me to professional and semi-professional teams in Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia providing me with a unique opportunity to immerse myself in international relations and live a global political experience.

These opportunities are part of the unique experience of MIT. The rigor of academic analysis and the international reputation of MIT came together for me on that Taiwan basketball court. They have given me opportunities to experience social and political events all over the world. I’m eager to see what opportunities the future will bring.

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