Nicholas Carnes

Nicholas Carnes

Nicholas Carnes

Class of 2006

As a young professor, Nicholas Carnes (BA ’06) can relate to the devoted TU educators who mentored him in college. TU’s effective teaching model and its faculty left an impression on him, and he’s discovered a new appreciation for their work.

“I try my best to live up to the high standards my professors had here,” Carnes said. “They took the time to really invest in me, and it paid off in my career.”

After receiving a TU bachelor’s degree in political science, the Pittsburg, Kan., native enrolled at Princeton University where he earned a master’s degree in politics in 2008 and a doctorate in politics and social policy in 2011. His research as a doctoral student specifically focused on economic and social class inequality in American government and politics and led to the inspiration for his new book, White-collar Government: How Class-imbalanced Legislatures Distort Economic Policy-making in the United States.

“People from the working class make up just a tiny fraction of those in politics,” Carnes said. “There’s a big gap between the economic and social class makeup of our country and the makeup of our politicians, and that has real consequences for economic policy.”

Today as an assistant professor of public policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, Carnes is still studying the reasons why so few people from the middle and working class serve in political office. His research continues, and he hopes to make a difference in the lives of his students, just like his TU professors.

“They knew my name and knew what I wanted to do with my life,” Carnes said. “They were willing to work with me and help me improve my writing, communication and critical thinking skills. You get a world-class education at TU.”