Brian Shoup (Faculty)

Brian Shoup

Brian Shoup always has possessed a deep interest in politics and international affairs. Now in his sixth year with Mississippi State’s political science and public administration department, the associate professor said his primary goal is to instill that same passion in his students.

“My dad was in the Air Force, and he and my mom didn’t shy away from politics and discussion; they worked really hard to instill in me an interest in learning,” said the Omaha, Nebraska, native who was the first in his family to graduate from college. In addition to a political science bachelor’s degree from Creighton University in his native Omaha, he holds a comparative politics/public policy doctorate from Indiana University.

“I remember as a kid, every time the president was on [television] and there was an address, we watched it,” he said. “It was felt to be something that was an obligation that you do as a citizen. You should know what’s happening in the world.”

Courses on comparative politics, civil wars and revolutions, nationalism, ethnic conflicts, African politics and research methods are among classes Shoup has taught since coming to the university in 2009. He also serves as faculty adviser for the department’s popular Mississippi Model Security Council (

Looking back over his time on campus, Shoup said he is “really impressed with how tightly linked Starkville and MSU are.” He added: “I know people in almost every department; we mostly tend to know what everybody else is doing, not in an invasive way, but in a way that promotes a very vibrant, intellectual community.”

A two-time selection for his department’s outstanding professor recognition, Shoup said he especially enjoys helping undergraduates understand how to “make knowledge their own” through research.

“The ability to make meaningful, critically self-examined judgments about yourself and the society you live in is probably the single most important thing I want students to take away from my classes,” he said.

Outside of campus duties, Shoup enjoys spending time with his “better half,” assistant communication professor Melanie Loehwing and the couple’s three cats. In addition to playing guitar and video games, he regularly attends campus volleyball, football, basketball and baseball games, and track-and-field competitions.

“I saw the Bulldogs play many a College World Series actually before I even worked here, and I saw Will ‘The Thrill’ Clark play in 1985,” he said. “I love a lot of sports, but I think the baseball environment is the coolest thing we have here. It’s just great.”