About Joshua

Joshua Swank is a graduate student in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics (PPE) at UC Irvine. He also attended UCI for his undergraduate degree, where he graduated summa cum laude and completed an honors thesis in Political Science. In 2019, he studied abroad in Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories which furthered his interest in diplomacy and law. He remains committed to community engagement and local politics. He served on Congresswoman Katie Porter’s Youth Advisory Board, worked for the OC Board of Supervisors, and worked as a legislative intern for US Senator Dianne Feinstein during his time with the UCDC program in 2022. Currently, Joshua is working as a Legal Aide at the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

As an undergraduate, Joshua participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and completed a 30-page paper analyzing American national identity. In his fourth year, he was recognized as Outstanding Undergraduate of the Year by the UCI Alumni Association. Recently, he studied abroad at Oxford University and remains a hopeful applicant for the Rhodes, Fulbright, and Marshall Scholarships. He plans to join the Peace Corps, attend law school, and serve his country in the US State Department as a diplomat.


Statement of Encouragement

Phi Beta Kappa has opened so many doors for me, professionally and personally. It’s a supportive community of scholars and friends who are committed to discovering the truth and bettering society at large. For anyone considering following a path like mine, I would say that you have the potential to bring your best self into the world, and that PBK and UC Irvine will provide you the resources to succeed on your journey of self-discovery and service.



1)  If we ask one of your friends to describe you, what would they say?

They’d say that while I’m rather open with competitive and tenacious side, I also have a private passion for artistic pursuits like painting and songwriting. My sense of humor is more on the witty or goofy side of things, and that being around others brings out the spontaneity in me.

2)  What life events or personal mentorships, if any, directed you to the field of study you have chosen for your future endeavors?

My parents instilled my sister and I with a deep respect for civics and intercultural engagement. I remember attending a US naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles when I was 7 years old, which directed me towards political science. At UC Irvine, travelling abroad to the Middle East deepened my passion for diplomacy. My Senate internship in Washington DC with the UCDC program only solidified my commitment to public service. My academic interest in political theory was furthered by Professor Keith Topper, who has been a great personal mentor and who has been an important influence regarding my intellectual development.

3)  Did you ever seek information and advice from the SOP advising team? If so, what type of advice were you seeking and what was your experience with them?

Yes, I’ve been working with SOP for the better part of two years as I’ve worked on my abroad scholarship applications for Fulbright, Marshall, and Rhodes. They’ve been incredibly helpful not only in guiding me through that process, but also in assisting me with my larger career goals.

To learn more about SOP and the resources available to high-achieving students visit our website.