Assistant Professor of Political Science and Pre-Law Advisor, Dr. Jeanine Kraybill, says her father was always passionate about politics and history. Discussing politics was one of the ways she bonded with him when she was younger. Dr. Kraybill even recalls waking up early on Sunday mornings to watch “Meet the Press” as a father, daughter duo.
She had plans to attend law school; took the LSAT and even interned for a member of Congress on Capitol Hill. While Dr. Kraybill thought that law was the track for her, she always had a natural calling to teach and enjoyed being in the classroom. Her curious mind wanted to make a contribution to society in some way through research and figuring things out. While Dr. Kraybill considered teaching at a high school level, she possessed a hunger to be in a university setting.
She had already completed graduate school and received two master’s degrees, before she graduated with her Ph.D. in Political Science from Clairmont Graduate University in 2015. When she got a call to interview at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB), she said she “immediately felt very comfortable”, as Bakersfield reminded her of the area she grew up in Chino. “There was a sense of community and hospitality.” Having grown up in a working class family herself, Dr. Kraybill felt at home in Kern County and on CSUB’s campus.
“It was a no brainer to accept the position, and I feel like I’ve been very blessed to be a part of this community,” she said.
Dr. Kraybill could be considered the modern day Superwoman. She teaches, she advises, she researches… and most importantly, she knows how to make the most of her day.
As Assistant Professor of Political Science and Pre-Law Advisor, Dr. Kraybill has a great deal to juggle in her everyday schedule. She is responsible for teaching courses within the department, which include many pre-law courses such as Judicial Politics and Legal Reasoning. Her other role as a Pre-Law Advisor means guiding students through the law school admissions process and reviewing the details they need to consider when making career and graduate school decisions. The advisory position provides Dr. Kraybill the opportunity play a role in many on and off-campus efforts such as the annual CSUB Speed Mentoring event held in September and working with Bakersfield College (BC)’s pre-law program to connect students to cross-campus programs and initiatives.
“I don’t need much sleep. I think when you’re passionate about what you do and feel like you are working with a community of like-minded people, it is easy to find energy and juggle it all,” says Dr. Kraybill.
Going to bed early and waking up early between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. is a routine for Dr. Kraybill. She also tries to keep all of her tasks scheduled. The first couple hours of her day are blocked just for writing, then she will take a run outside before getting the day officially started. Dr. Kraybill has 13 animals, which require love and attention before she leaves her home everyday, which include: five hens, three dogs, two pigs, two goats and one mule.
Kraybill is currently working on several projects regarding the intersection of religion and politics, including an article that will be released soon in the Journal of Communication and Religion. In the article, she evaluates the gendered nature of public policy statements and the roles of leaders in the church. In addition, she not only conducts her own research, but also assists students with their research projects on an ongoing basis.
Near the end of the interview, an alarm goes off on her phone to write a letter of recommendation for a student. “I already did that, so I beat the clock,” she says with a laugh. It’s safe to say that Dr. Kraybill is always one step ahead of the game.
In between her busy schedule, Dr. Kraybill also makes many appearances on local news and offers insight as a political analysist for other news entities such as BBC, the Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press and The Christian Science Monitor. With the recent election coverage, The Bakersfield Californian also invited her to be their guest host the night of election as they streamed the live results. Students have seen her on the news and think it is cool that what they are learning in class is applied to real community matters.
Dr. Kraybill says students were engaged with the recent election. Her only difficulty was “feeling out their level of enthusiasm.” She believes the department did a good job of hosting events on campus and even bringing some of the candidates to classes; making the election relevant for students.
“A professor’s life is a busy life. It’s a full life – it’s a good one, but it is a very busy life,” says Dr. Kraybill.
So, does she ever get tired of politics? “That’s a great question –I just think I’m a junkie. I don’t know if I’ll ever tire of it.” Dr. Kraybill watches the debates, reads journals and still finds herself downloading a new political podcast at the end of each week. “I find it fascinating,” she adds. “That’s why you get up at 3 a.m. and go to bed at 9 p.m., because you’re doing what you love.”