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Inset Photo: Steven Cleppe stands next to the ski jump venue used during the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, in Bosnia.

Contact & Location


Political Science Department

Physical Address:
Administration Bldg. #205
PHONE: (208) 885-6328
FAX: (208) 885-5102

Mailing Address:
Political Science Department
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 5102
Moscow, ID 83844-3165

The James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research
McClure Center Website

Steven Cleppe | Sophomore Spends Summer Immersed in Bosnian Culture and Politics

Steven Cleppe in Bosnia

By Lisa Laughlin

Steven Cleppe is fascinated with what makes the political system tick. Originally from Shoreline, WA, the sophomore at University of Idaho has taken that interest to the next level by pursuing a major in Political Science with a minor in Military Science.

“I chose Political Science because I became very interested in the political process during the 2008 election and felt that getting a major in the subject would be something that I would enjoy.”

Cleppe said Idaho was a good fit because it was a small division 1 school that had athletics and the atmosphere of a bigger college without all of the people. He strongly recommends Idaho’s Political Science program to others.

“The classes and professors are very good,” he said. “The courses are made to be interesting and engaging.”

Also involved in Idaho’s Army ROTC program, Cleppe had the unique experience to travel to Bosnia this summer for a Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program and found a political system rich for study:

“I didn’t know that the Bosnian government is so complex and confusing. We received briefings prior to leaving and that only began to scratch the surface. They have three presidents—one Bosnian, one Croat, and one Serb—and they rotate power every four months. The Bosnians and the Serbs are not on friendly terms due to the war in the mid 1990’s. Not a lot gets done and there is still a big divide.”

Cleppe says the experience definitely enhanced his Political Science studies at the University.

“We read about third world governments and all their short fall online and in class, but actually being able to immerse myself for three weeks in a country that is considered third world was very interesting. I saw it more from a military standpoint, but that ties back into the government and their inability to fund programs that help support the country,” he said. “Being a PoliSci major made me more interested in trying to find out how the government works and why it was set up the way it was.”

While Cleppe has plans with the military post-graduation—hopefully flying helicopter—his passion for politics will always play a role in his interests.

“After graduating, I am committed to serve in the Army. I would like to ultimately do something in politics down the road—whether that be staying in the military or if I leave and try to pursue something in the private sector . . . There comes a point where you start dealing more with the political side of the military,” he said. “If I choose to leave, I would like to work on campaigns and help people run for office.”

Whatever career path he chooses, he believes his combination of a Political Science major and involvement in AROTC will be helpful regardless.