:: Spotlight: Shannon Bow O’Brien

Posted: September 10, 2012


Exploring the American Presidency

As a young child growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Shannon Bow O’Brien’s fascination with the American presidency began while hearing stories told by one of her neighbors—a retired Secret Service agent. She was fascinated by his job of protecting the president, and his stories sparked an interest in learning more about our nation’s presidents. “I have always been very interested in how one person can impact the direction and path of government,” she says.

With the presidential election less than two months away, the entire world is focusing in on the role and expectations of an American president. Students interested in exploring the role of our executive branch can do so in GOV 312L - Issues and Policies in American Government: The American Presidency, which meets on The University of Texas at Austin campus this fall.

Taught by Dr. O’Brien, this course offers students a better understanding of the Office of the President in U.S. political order and provides them with analytical tools with which to make sense of the modern presidency. Dr. O’Brien explains, “We start with the founding and move into modern day, paying attention to just changes within the executive branch. This class focuses upon how we created the current system we have by casting a look back over the previous administrations. It gives students the ability to become more mindful citizens about the United States and understand the responsibilities given to this branch of government.”

Dr. O’Brien received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida, and she has been teaching government courses for The University of Texas at Austin for nearly 10 years.

GOV 312L - Issues and Policies in American Government: The American Presidency can be used to partially fulfill the core curriculum requirement for U.S. and Texas Government at colleges and universities in Texas.


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