Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Melinda A. Mueller


Research both asserts that there is a particular path through careers in either business or law that many political candidates take to Congress and that female candidates do not always follow this standard path. Female candidates have been found to emerge from a wider array of experiences outside of business and law. Differences in pathways male and female candidates take to public office have been widely studied, yet little attention has been focused on whether or not female candidates having experience serving on the board of a non-profit organizations can be a part of a viable alternate pathway to public office. Variables including the educations, occupations, and organizational membership, including whether or not representatives sat on the board for any non-profit organizations, are examined for the male and female members of the 112th U.S. House of Representatives in order to determine if there are differences for the men and women in their experiences before serving in Congress.