Dr. Renee Scherlen’s first experience with international affairs came when she was 13 years old.
“My father, a Marine, was assigned to work as a military advisor to the Columbia Marine Corps,” Scherlen said. “My whole family moved to Bogota, Columbia. While we were there, I went to an international school that had people from all over the world. This experience led to a fascination with international relations and Latin America that continues to this day.”
Scherlen said she chose to join the faculty at Appalachian State University in 1992 because she wanted to work in an environment where she could really get to know the undergraduate students she teaches and continue her research. She teaches in the Department of Government and Justice Studies.
Scherlen has published research on the Mexican counter-narcotics policy, the drug war policy, drug war statistics, and Fidel Castro’s discourse on Cuban foreign policy.
“Appalachian offers a great balance between teaching and research for faculty members,” Scherlen said.
“What I enjoy most about teaching is the opportunity to share new ideas as well as develop critical thinking skills. As a teacher, I am constantly learning as well.”
Scherlen said that she tries to keep her classes interactive, but the most interaction with students comes when she travels with them through either a study abroad opportunity or regionally as a part of the International Relations Association, which she advises.
The International Relations Association both participates in and hosts Model United Nations conferences. And, as the faculty advisor to the International Relations Association, Scherlen offers advice to the organization’s members, provides assistance with activities and acts as a sounding board for new ideas.
“It offers me a chance to get to know students better, as well as to help create opportunities for global learning for middle school, high school and university students via Model United Nations participation,” Scherlen said.