"Throw yourself into creating a positive college experience for yourself. You’ll be thankful you did."

Austin Skiera
Major: History & Political Science
Minors: International Studies & Philosophy

Austin Skiera is a history and political science major from Illinois. He enjoys being involved on campus as a Dean's Ambassador, a Senator in the Student Government Senate, and as part of the University's Model United Nations Team. He has also had the amazing opportunity to study abroad through the UPrague program.


What’s the best part of being in your major?          

By far it has been the courses with world-class professors. Dr. Hermann Beck, Dr. Karl Gunther, and Dr. Bradford McGuinn are at the top of their field and impart real knowledge on their students. I have never learned so much in a sixteen week span than when taking several courses with each of the three mentioned above.


What is it like to be a Dean’s Ambassador?

It is an honor to serve as a representative of not only the students but also the academic departments of history and political science.


What accomplishments or activities while at the UM College of Arts & Sciences are you most proud of?

My biggest achievements have definitely come while traveling on behalf of the University’s Model United Nations Team. I am quite proud of the individual awards I have won at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania and of the team’s success, winning Best Small Delegation at Harvard and at the University of Pennsylvania.


What is your favorite A&S memory? University of Miami memory?

It has been my distinct pleasure to represent the College of Arts and Sciences in 2 separate terms as a Senator in the Student Government Senate. My best college-specific memories have been my classes with Dr. Hermann Beck. His spellbinding lectures engage even the most apathetic students and attract several auditors each semester. I have been part of the informal Front Row Crew for the football games these last few seasons and the culmination has definitely been seeing myself featured on several promotional items of the football team, including banners at the stadium.


Who or what influenced your A&S education the most? How or why?

Professors Beck and Gunther in the history department are undoubtedly two of the brightest minds the University has, and Dr. McGuinn in the political science department is unparalleled in his deep knowledge of seemingly every nation’s political history and landscape.


What is your main UM extracurricular activity – why is it important to you?

The Model UN Team has provided me with my closest friends at the University and with a level of professional development few students have the opportunity of receiving. Now in a position of leadership of the team as president I have the wonderful experience of providing mentorship to the younger members – the same kind of mentorship that was provided to me my freshman year.


Have you studied abroad?

I studied abroad through the UPrague program and loved it. I took up writing while I was there and that has really impacted my life for the better. Traveling to a new country each week was liberating and exhausting, and it truly was an experience of a lifetime. I started running and changed my diet and am much healthier now as a result. Studying abroad changed my life in several ways, and I’ll be forever thankful I had the opportunity to do it (I can write much more on this if you need me to).


What is your favorite place on campus?

I love to sit on the banks of Lake Osceola at night.


If you were to offer advice to a future ‘Cane, what would you say?

Get involved in 2-3 extracurricular activities (try out for Model UN!) and really throw yourself into creating a positive college experience for yourself. You’ll be thankful you did.



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February 13, 2017