In keeping with BlackVoices' back-to-school theme this month, we decided to take a look at the college backgrounds of some rising political stars.

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  • Kamala Harris

    Many people think that Harris, California's popular attorney general, will run for governor -- and maybe even national office. Harris, the daughter of a Tamil Indian doctor and a Jamaican-American economist, Harris attended Howard University for undergrad and earned her law degree from U.C.-Hastings.

  • Hakeem Jeffries

    After Edolphus Towns, a longtime U.S. Congressman from Brooklyn, announced he wouldn't be running for re-election, Hakeem Jeffries, a rising Democratic star, won the primary for his vacated seat. Jeffries earned his bachelor's in political science from Binghamton University, his law degree from New York University, and his masters in public policy from Georgetown.

  • Allen West

    The ex-Marine and Tea Party hero earned his bachelor's from the University of Tennessee and his masters Kansas State. (Both were in political science.) He also earned a master in military arts from United States Army Command and General Staff College.

  • Patrick Gaspard

    Gaspard had a long career in political organizing before joining President Obama's White House team. Now he's the executive director of the Democratic National Committee. The artistically inclined Gaspard -- he a spoken-word poet in his younger days -- attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and then Columbia, before leaving school early to get into politics.

  • Kasim Reed

    Kasim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, has been one of President Obama's most active surrogates during this election campaign. While he was an undergrad at Howard -- where he also earned his J.D. -- Reed <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/14/us/in-a-year-of-adversity-good-turns-on-campus.html?pagewanted=2&src=pm" target="_hplink">helped impose an additional student fee of $15 per semester</a> that added millions of dollars to the historically black university's endowment.

  • Tim Scott

    Tim Scott was first black Republican to win elected office in South Carolina since Reconstruction. The Tea Party darling attended Charleston Southern University and earned a degree in political science.

  • Mia Love

    The first black mayor in Utah history, the conservative Republican is running for Congress. Love, a Mormon, attended the University of Hartford.

  • Anthony Foxx

    Charlotte's young mayor is hosting this year's Democratic National Convention. He was the first black student body president at Davidson c College, the small, selective liberal arts in Mecklenburg County, NC. Foxx went on to earn his law degree from NYU.

  • Cory Booker

    The mayor of Newark has a reputation for being always on the move -- tweeting, chasing down crooks, and saving people from burning buildings. Bookeer was a football standout at Stanford in the early 1990s, before heading to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.