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Current Graduate Students

Adam Abelkop

Name: Abelkop, Adam (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: abelkop at

Maryum Alam

Name: Alam, Maryum
Subfield: IR, Methodology

Email: maalam at

BA in Political Science and Biology, Hofstra University

Maryum Alam was born on Long Island, NY, where she received her BA with honors in Political Science and Biology from Hofstra University in 2016. Fascinated by small wars and political violence, she completed a BA thesis entitled "When Does Counteringurgency Work? An Analysis of Counterinsurgency Work? An Analysis of Counterinsurgency Campaigns After 1945," which won Hofstra's Undergraduate Library Research Award for Social Sciences. Her primary research interests revolve around international security with an emphasis on the organization, tactics, and strategy of non-state armed groups (e.g. insurgent and terrorist movements) and the interaction and dynamics of these groups with state actors in the international system. She is also interested in the efficacy of state counterinsurgency and counterterrorism policies in asymmetrical warfare, with a regional focus on armed conflicts in Central and South Asia (particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan), as well as the greater Middle East.

In her free time she enjoys biking, travelling, experimenting with new recipies, and watching documentaries.

Alex Antony

Name: Antony, Alex
Subfield: IR, Methodology


Email: akantony at


MA in Political Science, Indiana University
MS in Applied Statistics, Indiana University
BA in German and International Studies, University of Dayton

Alex is a doctoral candidate in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Quantitative Methods. His research focuses on explaining regional variation in trends toward conflict and peace. For more information, see his website at

Alex Badas

Name: Badas, Alex
Subfield: American, Methodology


Email: abadas at

Alex Badas is a Ph.D student studying political science. He has passed qualifying exams in American politics and quantitative research methods and completed an eclectic minor in law and social psychology.

He researches questions related to judicial politics. He is interested in both how the public responds to legal institutions and how legal institutions function. Alex's dissertation research investigates how ideological disagreement with the Supreme Court influences perceptions of the Supreme Court's legitimacy. He argues that the public engages in motivated reasoning when responding to Supreme Court decisions. When confronted with decisions with which they disagree, individuals are motivated to delegitimize the Court's decision. They do this by viewing the Court as politically motivated rather than legally motivated. By viewing the Court as politically motivated, individuals come to perceive the Court as less legitimate. 

Samuel Bestvater

Name: Bestvater, Samuel
Subfield: Comparative, Methodology

Email: sbestvat at

Samuel E. Bestvater is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science, studying Comparative Politics and Political Methodology. His research interests center around contentious politics and political participation, with a specific focus on social movements, their outcomes, and their downstream effects on political behavior. Sam has a methodological specialization in quantitative and computational research methods, with a particular interest in big data and social media applications for social science research. For the 2017-2018 academic year, he serves as co-president of the Political Science Graduate Student Association. 


Sean Byrne

Name: Byrne, Sean
Subfield: American, Policy

Email: sjbyrne at

Sean's focus is on American Politics, specifically engaging in the study of presidential leadership and decisionmaking and congressional politics and issues. During his military career and subsequent service as a senior civilian executive with the Department of Homeland Security he served in numerous locations around the world as well as an extended tour at the White House and multiple tours at the Pentagon.

Alison Carden

Name: Carden, Alison
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: aecarden at

Alison Carden has a BA in Political Science and a BA in German from Middle Tennessee State University and an MA in Germanic Studies from the University of Texas – Austin. Her research interests include political violence, issues of human rights, and the roles of NGOs in peacekeeping efforts and humanitarian aid.

Name: Carpenter, Stefan (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: stefcarp at

Janice Duchene Clark

Name: Clark, Janice
Subfield: IR, Comparative


Email: jduchene at

Janice Lygia Duchene Clark has a BA in International Studies from Brown University and an MA in International Studies from the University of Denver. Prior to returning to graduate school, Ms. Duchene's global experience includes Peace Corps work in Turkmenistan, diplomatic work for the U.S. embassy in Stockholm, genocide witness analysis for the ICTR, and a UNESCO internship in Northern Ireland. Her research interests include EU expansion, political violence and civil instability in Europe and Central Asia, and issues of human rights and human security.

Christopher Colley

Name: Colley, Christopher
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: ckcolley at

Chris is a fourth year PhD student studying international relations and comparative politics. He is primarily interested in international security with a strong emphasis on naval modernization and power projection. His current research examines the drivers behind the emerging Chinese and Indian blue water fleets. Prior to joining IU in 2012, Chris lived in Beijing and Shanghai for 10 years where he earned a Master's degree in Chinese politics from Renmin University. Upon graduating he was a lecturer in Renmin's School of International Studies where he taught courses on on Chinese foreign policy and security from 2008 until 2012. In his free time Chris enjoys running, mountain climbing and hard core adventure travel. 

Megan Darnley

Name: Darnley, Megan (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Public Policy

Email: mdarnley at

Megan Darnley is a first year joint Ph.D. student in Public Policy. Her area of interest in political science is in political philosophy and in public management and education in public policy. She is originally from Massachusettes and moved to Indiana for her MPA at SPEA in 2015. Before coming to IU, she studied math and philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford. In her spare time, she enjoys running, swimming, any outdoor activities, and whipping up baked goods. 

Renzo de la Riva Augero

Name: de la Riva Agüero, Renzo (Joint Ph. D.)
Subfield: Public Policy

Email: rdelariv at

Renzo is a Public Policy Ph.D. student, which is a joint program of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and the Department of Political Science.  His fields of concentration are Public Policy, Comparative Politics, and Public Management and his substantive research area is the political economy of service delivery in developing countries (mainly Latin America).  He focuses particularly on bureaucratic performance and how the internal processes within bureaucracies affect the quality and timeliness of final delivery.  Prior to the Ph.D. program, he worked for more than 8 years in various areas of public sector development, including governance and rural poverty reduction through his work in the Peruvian government and the World Bank, with field experience in rural areas.  He has advised and led projects in senior management positions in government, from the highest decision-making body (Prime Minister’s Office) and ministries to the local government level.  Renzo was also a Manager in the Public Sector Consulting Division in Deloitte Peru and held a leadership position in a presidential campaign during the Peruvian 2016 elections.

He has a Master of Public Policy with a specialization in international development from Georgetown University (Washington, DC), and a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis on development from St. Olaf College (MN).

Anthony DeMattee

Name: DeMattee, Anthony (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: demattee at

BA in Finance and Economics, Illinois Wesleyan University
MBA in Analytical Consulting, Decision Sciences, International Business, Management & Strategy, Managerial Economics, and Marketing, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Anthony DeMattee studies the interactions of the state and civil society in developing countries. Specifically, his research focuses on the politics of civil-society-state interactions and how they affect democratic processes and distributive politics, with a regional focus on Africa and the Caribbean. DeMattee' tentative dissertation research question is: Under what conditions do states choose formal versus informal means to manage relationships with civil society, and what effects do the resulting state-civil society dynamics have on individual citizens?    

Before beginning the Joint PhD doctoral program here at Indiana University, DeMattee worked as a NGO consultant in Haiti and Afghanistan with engagements with the World Food Programme, the International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, UNICEF, the Clinton Foundation, and the U.S. Government. Prior to his work overseas, DeMattee worked at Morgan Stanley before, during, and after the 2008 financial crisis.

David Endicott

Name: Endicott, David
Subfield: Comparative, IR


Email: daendico at

MA in Political Science, University of Akron
BA in Economics and Political Science, University of Memphis

David focuses on comparative politics and research methods. He is interested in political economy issues and public opinion. His regional specialty is South Asia. David’s hobbies include walking, astronomy, and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. For more information please visit David’s website.

Vivian Ferrillo

Name: Ferrillo, Vivian
Subfield: American, Methodology

Email: vferrill at

Vivian Ferrillo is a first-year student in the political science Ph.D. program. She is interested in exploring American political and economic topics using quantitative methods. Her papers have explored Indiana tax structure's relationship with the health of local communitites as well as the history of trade liberalization in the global economy. Vivian worked in the Indiana Senate during the 2014 legislative sesssion, and this experience has heavily influenced her research. A native of Boston, Massachusettes, she studied music performance and political science at Indiana University during her undergraduate career.

Colin Fisk

Name: Fisk, Colin
Subfield: American, Methodology

Email: cafisk at

B.A. in Political Science, University of La Verne

Colin Fisk is a third year student in the doctoral program. In 2015, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of La Verne in Southern California, where he majored in political science and minored in philosophy.

His research is related to the causes and effects of party identification. He is interested in how partisanship shapes voting behavior. In a working paper concerning the effects of the top-two primary, he finds that among those who vote in the national November elections, political orphans, or voters without a copartisan candidate on the ballot are more likely to undervote, opting out of voting in their House race. He argues ideological perceptions best explain these phenomena, where orphaned voters abstain when they perceive a great ideological distance between themselves and the ideologically closest candidate. His other work includes analyzing and interpreting trends in Latino party identification and understanding polarization in the electorate.

Zachary Goldsmith

Name: Goldsmith, Zachary
Subfield: Philosophy, Comparative


Email: zgoldsmi at

BA in Political Science, University of Michigan
MA in Political Science, Indiana University

Zach's main interests lie in political and social theory. More specifically, he is interested in left-wing political theory and intellectual history from Marx onward, critical theory, cosmopolitanism, and democratic theory. In addition, Zach is interested in politics in the extremes—when politics and political thinking turn dark, to violence, cruelty, and barbarity. To borrow a phrase from Zeev Sternhell, Zach believes that such perversions are “neither right nor left” but extreme, that they occur at the extremes of all political thinking.

In his dissertation, Zach tries to formulate a new, concise, and comprehensive conceptualization of “fanaticism.” He attempts to explore the major contours of this unique political, social, and religious phenomenon and uncover its essential features, which, he maintains, transcend space and time. Finally, this concept is explored within the writings of a select group of influential political thinkers.

Zach graduated from the University of Michigan (political science, 2011) with high distinction and was thereafter a Fulbright Fellow in the Republic of Armenia (2011-2012). He earned a MA in political science from Indiana University in 2016. Outside of academia, Zach is interested in (vintage) watches and is a great fan of music, from classical, and especially German Lieder, to Leonard Cohen.

Paul Hoffman

Name: Hoffman, Paul
Subfield: IR

Email: pjhoffma at

BS US Air Force Academy, MPA University of Oklahoma
MA Air Command and Staff College

Paul Hoffman is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force. He has been stationed throughout the United States and overseas, with deployments to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iraq. From 2009-2010 he was stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he served as advisor to the Afghan National Army Air Corps. He comes to Indiana from Montgomery, Alabama, where he taught in the Air Command and Staff College’s Department of Leadership and Strategy for three years. His research interests include foreign military assistance, international development, and weapons proliferation. He is married and has two children.

Prashant S. Hosur

Name: Hosur Suhas, Prashant
Subfield: IR, Comparative

Email: phosur at

BA Graceland College
MA Seton Hall

Prashant's research interests include the study of international conflicts in the context of how strategic rivalries evolve. This encompasses studying escalation,  maintenance  and termination of strategic rivalries. Some of the questions that are of interest include:  Why are some resistant to termination while others are not? What role do structural factors such as alliances and inter-connected rivalries in the international system play in prolonging rivalries, especially in the presence of asymmetric power capacity between states. How do spatial disputes contribute to the chances of rivalry duration, termination and conflicts? Do structural factors affect spatial rivalries differently than other rivalries? If so why? Additionally, Prashant has a strong interest in Asian rivalries with a specific interest in the role of US involvement in South Asia and the Asian region. 

Belkisa Hrstanovic

Name: Hrustanovic, Belkisa
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: bhrustan at

BA in Political Science and Philosophy, Ball State University
MA Ball State University

Belkisa attended Ball State University and received her B.A. in Political Science and and Philosophy with a minor in French. She stayed at Ball State and received recevied an M.A. in Political Science with a focus on International Relations. As a graduate student she became interested in the relationship between gender and political conflict as well as using quantitative methods in order to conduct research. Her paper, "The Role of Gender Diversity on the Choice of Nonviolent Tactics among Organizations" was presented at the 73rd annual Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting in Chicago, IL.

Shelli Powell Israelsen

Name: Israelsen, Shelli
Subfield: IR, Comparative


Email: shjpowel at

B.A. - Brigham Young University 
M.A. - University of Georgia

Shelli, who originally comes from Jamaica, specializes in international relations and research methods. Shelli's primary research interest lies at the intersection of insurgent recruitment, conflict dynamics and gender analysis. Her dissertation explores the conditions under which insurgent groups recruit female combatants. Her other research interests include gender relations in post-conflict societies and the role of enduring internal rivalries in bringing about conflict escalation. At the University of Georgia, she assisted in the collection and coding of data on the strategic behavior of state and non-state actors in Southeast Asia as part of the Violent Intranational Political Conflict and Terrorism Laboratory: Project Civil Strife program (VIPCAT). Shelli credits her time at VIPCAT in helping to develop her interest in ethnic conflict.

Cathryn Johnson

Name: Johnson, Cathryn
Subfield: Comparative, Policy

Email: catejohn at

BA International Studies and French, Whitworth University
MSc in Development Studies, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies

Cathyrn E. Johnson is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. Prior to beginning her studies at IU, Cathryn worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs where she supported programs to strengthen political participation and democratic institutions in West Africa. Cathryn’s research interests are rooted in the democratization process. Specifically, she is interested in how formal and informal institutions influence citizen engagement in democratic processes and shape the outcomes of policies to improve citizen welfare. Cathryn earned an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and a BA in International Studies and French from Whitworth University.

Name: Jones, Defne
Subfield: IR

Email: defjones at

Wynand Kastart

Name: Kastart, Wynand
Subfield: Comparative, Methodology

Email: wkastart at

Wynand is no Aristotle, but not for lack of trying. Before coming to IU, he spent ten years studying Political Science and Classics at Leiden University and the Ohio State University, and, since leaving academia in 2010, has been employed as a high school tutor in the Netherlands (perhaps not fully realizing that he might have been mentoring the next Alexander the Great). Wynand is interested in (ancient and modern) political history, authoritarian legacies, political regimes, public opinion, (dissident and non-dissident) mass political behavior, and individual rights violations in Europe and Latin America, his two regions of interest.

Tonya Kenny

Name: Kenny, Tonya
Subfield: Comparative

Email: tonkenny at

BA Political Science, minor in French - Louisiana State University
MA Political Science - Louisiana State University

Tonya Kenny is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her research interests primarily focus on electoral institutions, democratic consolidation, state repression, political survival, clientelism, and election fraud. Her interests mainly pertain to the region of sub-saharan Africa, but she has conducted several cross-national analyses and case studies outside the region as well. Her current research seeks to understand the electoral consequences of repressive behavior from the state as well as the influence of clientelism on electoral outcomes and democratic consolidation, with a particular focus on the region of sub-saharan Africa. Additionally, she is currently working on a project that investigates the cross-national determinants of election fraud using new measurements and multiple regression analysis. 

Tonya presented at the 74th annual Midwest political science conference in Chicago. The title of the paper is "Electoral Determinants of State Repression in Democracies."

Min-Hyeok Kim

Name: Kim, Min-Hyeok
Subfield: Philosophy

Email: mk84 at

Min-Hyeok Kim’s major subfield is Political Philosophy and he intends to develop his academic interest in democratic governance. Specifically, his research focuses on political development and the quality of democracy in East Asian countries.

After earning a Master's degree at Seoul National University (2011), he served in the Korean Air Force as a military officer and worked in the National Assembly of Korea as a policy assistant.

Taking charge of environmental policy in the Congress of Korea, he was able to gain useful policy experiences and knowledge on various environmental issues, like air pollution regulation system, toxic chemical safety control, and waste management. Hence, he also plans to study public safety issues and effective safety control system, which are closely related to the ordinary citizens’ quality of life. 

Aidan Klein

Name: Klein, Aidan
Subfield: IR, Comparative

Email: afklein at

Originally from Florida, Aidan is a first year student in IU's Department of Political Science, and plans to study International Relations and Comparative Politics, especially ethnic politics and representation, as well as electoral design. He received his BA from the University of Florida in 2016. 

Monica Komer

Name: Komer, Monica
Subfield: Comparative

Email: mckomer at

Monica graduated summa cum laude from Miami University in 2016 with bachelor's degrees in International Studies and Journalism and minors in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. She was previously a National Security Language Initiative scholar in Morocco, William Jefferson Clinton Scholar at the American University in Dubai, and Critical Language Scholor in Morocco. She served as an intern at the Middle East Institute and the U.S. Embassy in Manama, Bahrain.

Her research interests include female political participation, new media technologies, and formal and informal modes of political engagement in the Middle East.

Dima Kortukov

Name: Kortukov, Dima
Subfield: Comparative

Email: dimakort at

Before coming to Indiana University in 2016, Dima Kortukov acquired a B.A (2010) and M.A (2012) degrees in  Political Science from Tel-Aviv University, Israel and also studied in Hebrew University, Israel and Masaryk University, Czech Republic.  In IU, his research foci include authoritarian politics (especially parties, elections and electoral systems) and post-Communist politics (especially Russia and Ukraine). 

Mike Kovanda

Name: Kovanda, Mike
Subfield: Philosophy

Email: mkovanda at

Mike's areas of interest include modern political theory, socialist political thought, and democratic theory.  His dissertation research centers on Sheldon Wolin's metatheory and the way in which it marked a critical response to the intellectual and political context in which the late theorist was working.

Matthew Kuchem

Name: Kuchem, Matthew
Subfield: American, Philosophy

Email: mkuchem at

BS Political Science and Broadcast Journalism, Union University
MA in Political Science, Indiana University

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Matthew pursued a couple of internships on Capitol Hill before beginning his graduate studies in political theory and American politics. Having completed his MA, he is currently a PhD candidate working to complete his dissertation on liberalism, pluralism, and polycentric socio-political structures. His other research interests include democratic theory, representation, American political thought, the political thought of St. Augustine, and the relationship between politics and religion. Matthew has also taught various undergraduate courses on political thought and American politics. He was granted a dissertation completion fellowship by the College of Arts and Sciences for the 2017-2018 academic year, during which he plans to finish and defend his dissertation.

Matthew Lucky

Name: Lucky, Matthew
Subfield: Philosophy

Email: mclucky at

Matthew Lucky aquired a B.S. in Political Science, a B.A. in History, and a M.A. in Political Theory while studying at Arizona State University. His major field of interest for his continuing academic career at IU Bloomington is political philosophy.

Matt is specifically interested in studying how politics is impacted by technological progress. For example, he is curious about how political philosophy will respond in coming years to the integration of emerging innovations such as machine learning algorithms into existing and future governance structures. His broader interests include a fondness for studying history and the hisoty of political thought.

Simon Luo

Name: Luo, Sihang (Simon)
Subfield: Philosophy, Comparative

Email: luos at

Simon holds a B.A. in Philosophy (Tsinghua University, 2013) and an M.A. in Politics (NYU, 2015). His major field of research at IU is political philosophy. His research interests include Marxism, critical theory, theories of nationality, and symbolic politics. His current research examines the liberal-nationalist conceptualization of national identity.

Yehuda Magid

Name: Magid, Yehuda
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: ymagid at

BA Indiana University, Political Science
MA Interdisciplinary Center, Israel, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies

Yehuda Magid is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science. He has completed his qualifying exams in international relations and comparative politics and has completed a minor in Israel/Jewish Studies. Yehuda's research interests focus on political violence within ethnically divided societies. His current dissertation research examines the causes and dynamics of political violence perpetrated by dominant ethnic groups against ethnic minorities. He argues that dominant group violence within strong states occurs when states attempt to simultaneously adopt both democratic forms of government and maintain the dominant position of the dominant ethnic group. Once this violence occurs, changes in the level and form of violence are determined by shifting dominant group perceptions of physical and social threats. Evidence for the theoretical arguments include a case study of Israeli settler violence in the West Bank, regression analysis of a unique daily dataset of contentious events in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (2010-2016), and fieldwork conducted in the West Bank during the summers of 2016 and 2017.

Rashid Marcano-Rivera

Name: Marcano-Rivera, Rashid
Subfield: Comparative, Methodology

Email: rmarcano at

Rashid holds a M.A. in Political Economy from New York University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (UPR) campus. He also studied Applied Econometrics while at NYU, and Economics, French, and Music at UPR. During his years at UPR he also participated as one of the leaders of the Student Council and the Academic Senate and collaborated with the Foundation for Puerto Rico in its program on urbanism.

His research interests include income inequality, economic development, institutional reforms, the political economy of Latin America, colonialism and electoral behavior in Puerto Rico, varieties of capitalism, and public policy analysis.

Brandon Miliate

Name: Miliate, Brandon
Subfield: Comparative

Email: bmiliate at

BA, University of Southern California
MA, University of British Columbia

Brandon J. Miliate’s primary research interests are the study of nationalism, ethno-national conflict, and indigenous self-determination in South and Southeast Asia. He received his B.A. with Honors in International Relations from the University of Southern California and his M.A. in Asia Pacific Policy Studies from The University of British Columbia. His dissertation will look at the use of territorial autonomy and ethno-federalism in Northeast India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Brandon is particularly passionate about area studies and ethnographic approaches to social science as a way of better understanding the historical and cultural context of ethnic minority and indigenous political demands.  

Chris Miller

Name: Miller, Chris (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: American, Policy


Email: cjm3 at

BA Political Science, University of Chicago
JD, Case Western Reserve University

Chris Miller is a PhD candidate in the Joint PhD program with SPEA, and has competed comprehensive exams in American Politics, Public Policy, and Environmental Policy. His current studies focus on the obstacles political institutions face in developing policy responses to climate change (and potential ways to surmount them), informed by current research trends on ideological polarization  and unequal representation. Before coming to IU, Chris spent several years in the nonprofit sector in Chicago, working in local organizations on issues including electoral oversight and civil liberties.

Tim Model

Name: Model, Tim
Subfield: Comparative, Methodology


Email: tmodel at

Timothy Model is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University’s Department of Political Science and a fellow at the IU Russian Studies Workshop. His dissertation, “The Politics of Anti-Corruption Campaigns,” investigates the variation in anti-corruption strategies in autocracies.

Previously, he has been a visiting researcher at the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and an affiliate of the Ostrom Workshop.

He received bachelor’s degrees in Diplomacy/Global Politics and in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies in 2012 from Miami University where he was affiliated with the Havighurst Center.

Yana Mommadova

Name: Mommadova, Yana
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: yamommad at

Yana graduated from American University in Bulgaria in 2014 with Bachelor's degree in Economics. She then studied at Central European University in Budapest where she obtained Master's degree in Political Science. At Indiana University her sub-fields are Comparative Politics and International Relations. Yana is also minoring in Sociology. She is interested in studying economic inequality, globalization, populism, precarious labor and the influence neoliberal economic ideas. Her current research seeks to unravel the connection between economic insecurity and cultural resentment. She presented a portion of this research at the 2017 Summer School on Socioeconomic Inequality organized by the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.

Daniel Much

Name: Muck, Daniel
Subfield: Comparative, Methodology

Email: dmuck at

Daniel Muck is a first-year doctoral student studying comparative politics and political methodology, with a minor in Russian and East European studies. A native of the Twin Cities, Daniel received his B.A. in Political Science from Hamline University (St. Paul, MN). In 2016, he completed an M.S. in European politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has also studied in Prague, Czech Republic and Saint Petersburg, Russia. 

Daniel's research interests include authoritarianism, parties and elections, regime transitions, and post-Soviet politics.

Fathima Musthaq

Name: Musthaq, Fathima
Subfield: Philosophy, Comparative

Email: fmusthaq at

Fathima is a fifth-year political science Ph.D. candidate. Before coming to IU she worked as a civics education coordinator for Transparency Maldives and as a political and economic analyst for the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka. Fathima’s interests are in political economy. She studies transformations of the state in emerging markets in an increasingly financialized global economy. Fathima graduated from Williams College, MA in 2009 with a BA in political science.

Rita Nassar

Name: Nassar, Rita
Subfield: Comparative, American

Email: rnassar at

Rita holds a B.A. in economics from the Universite Saint Joseph and an M.A. in economics from the American University of Beirut. She later received her M.A. in political science from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is interested in political psychology, religion and politics and race relations.

Sulaiman Qeyamat

Name: Qeyamat, Sulaiman (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: sqeyamat at

Sulaiman Qeyamat is a Joint Public Policy Ph.D. student. He believes that public policy and administration scholarship offers a high degree of transferable knowledge to enhance public performance delivery in comparative contexts. It is within this broader scheme that Sulaiman concentrates on the fields of Comparative Politics and Public Management. He is interested in exploring the relationship between institutional design and public policy processes and administration in comparative settings.

Prior to beginning his studies at IU, Sulaiman was a fellow at Afghanistan’s Center for Research and Policy Studies. He also worked with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation where he developed and supported programs in organizational capacity building for Afghan state institutions and political parties, gender and women’s empowerment, conflict transformation, and participation of marginalized groups in democratic political processes.

Sulaiman has a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) with concentrations in Policy Analysis and Economic Development from Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). He also holds an MD degree from Kabul Medical University.

Nabila Rahman

Name: Rahman, Nabila
Subfield: Comparative, Public Policy

Email: rahmann at

Nabila is a third-year student whose research interests include the political economy of development, collective action, and non-state actors. She examines the politics of waste management within South Asia. Nabila graduated from the University of Richmond in 2012 with B.A. in PPEL (Philosophy, Political science, Economics, and Law), and completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Johor, Malaysia. She also worked with a number of nonprofit institutions, including the Yunus Centre and Teach for Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Pro-Link Organization in Accra, Ghana.

Eric Schmidt

Name: Schmidt, Eric
Subfield: American, Methodology

Google Scholar profile

Email: errschmi at

Eric Schmidt is a fourth-year doctoral student studying American politics and political methodology, with an expected PhD conferral date of spring 2019. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2010) and M.A. from Duke University (2012). Schmidt's research focuses on U.S. public opinion - with special emphases on the interplay between ideological dimensions, knowledge and sophistication, group membership, and elite cues. For example, his recent Political Behavior article argues that religious participation and affiliation have stronger implications for public opinion when we assess congregants' substantive understanding of church teaching. And his dissertation proposes a new model for the structure of mass ideology consistent with the paradoxes of Trump-era politics (e.g. the existence of clear, multiple issue dimensions even though many voters' ideological beliefs lack substantive policy content). Schmidt serves as the graduate assistant to Professor Edward G. Carmines within the Center on American Politics. His personal website is under development and will be launched by the end of the fall 2017 semester. 

Volker Schmitz

Name: Schmitz, Volker
Subfield: Philosophy, Comparative

Email: vschmitz at

Volker studied Political Science, Modern History, and Psychology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. In 2008, he completed his M.A. degree with a thesis on political violence in the work of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.  After two years of living and working in Tel Aviv and Berlin, he went on to earn his M.A. degree in North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.  His research interests include Marxism, Critical Theory, Politics and Culture, Political Economy, intellectual history, and labor and social movements.

Justin Schon

Name: Schon, Justin
Subfield: IR, Comparative

Email: jschon at

Luke Shimeck

Name: Shimek, Luke (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy, Empirical Methodology, Public Management


Email: lshimek at


MA in Economics - Indiana University (2011)
BS in Mathematics, Economics and International Studies - Wheaton College (2006)

Godfreyb Ssekajja

Name: Ssekajja, Godfreyb (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Public Policy

Email: gssekajj at

Ssekajja Godfreyb is a Joint Public Policy Ph.D. (International Relations, Environmental Policy & Public Policy) at Indiana University-Bloomington's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and the Department of Political Science. His research interests are in international environmental policy, particularly: 1) the institutions and norms concerning international environmental policy, 2) the international security ramifications of climate change, and 3) the implications of the emergent concept of the geosphere on the theories of international relations.

He attained a Master of International Development at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public & International Affairs; focusing on Human security and International Political Economy. He attained his BA (Social Sciences) at Makerere University's College of Humanities & Social Sciences, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Sociology.

He was born (and spent his formative years) in Uganda. As an undergrad student, he worked as a secondary school teacher of European and African history. He later worked for the Ministry of Education in the war-torn Unity State of South Sudan as a supervisor of government schools. Then he got military training from the Ugandan Army and worked as a private security contractor with the US army in Iraq.

Before joining grad school, he worked as a supervisor of security personnel in the UAE at the Dubai International Airport, the Dubai & Khalifa Ports.

Katelyn Stauffer

Name: Stauffer, Katelyn
Subfield: American, Methodology

CV | Website

Email: kastauff at

BA, History and Political Science, Gettysburg College

Katelyn Stauffer is Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science. Katelyn's research examines how group representation influences public opinion towards political institutions and their members.  Her dissertation explores how Americans use information about women's collective representation to evaluate the substantive, symbolic, and formalistic representation provided by legislatures.  In addition to her research interests in gender, Katelyn also has interests in race and ethnicity politics.  Her work on the role of race, ethnicity, and gender in public opinion formation towards Supreme Court Nominees (co-authored with Alex Badas) was recently accepted for publication at Political Research Quarterly. 

Name: Stone, Jason
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: jgstone at

BA, Hartwick College
MA, University of Chicago

Stone is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science (expected completion: Spring 2018). His primary research interests lie at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics, with a particular focus on the dynamics of civil war, insurgency and counterinsurgency, and ethnic conflict. He has secondary interests in authoritarian regimes and nuclear proliferation as well, and has published on these themes in the Journal of Democracy and International Security.

Stone’s NSF-funded dissertation project examines how armed insurgent organizations in ethnically divided societies work to recruit ethnic activists from  peaceful civic associations, and the factors which make such associations more or less vulnerable to rebel recruitment efforts. This work shows that while ethnic activists are uniquely positioned to influence their co-ethnics’ decisions over whether or not to participate in insurgency, these activists’ initial willingness to participate in or otherwise support insurgency is strongly conditioned by both the activities undertaken by their associations as well as patterns of civilian victimization in the ongoing conflict.

To offset the rather depressing nature of his scholarly focus on domestic and international conflict, Stone likes to spend his free time pursuing more peaceful activities such as hiking, cooking, and playing in his vegetable garden.

Alyssa Strunk

Name: Strunk, Alissa
Subfield: Comparative, Methodology

Email: alistrun at

Alissa is a third year PhD candidate studying comparative politics with a focus on North African politics and democratic transition. Over the course of her academic career, Alissa has studied and worked in both Tunisia and Morocco. Most recently, Alissa spent the year following Tunisia’s revolution while running an American cultural center, holding and organizing programming on topics such as constitution-writing and civil society promotion. In addition to her experience abroad, Alissa served as an intern on Middle East Progress, a special project for the Center for American Progress. Alissa’s research interests include examining the past, present and future roles of Islamist parties in North Africa, and their impact on restructuring in the region, as they possibly alter their countries’ stances on key foreign policy issues. Alissa did her undergraduate work at the University of Oregon.

Kevin Taber

Name: Taber, Kevin
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: cktaber at

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science, Indiana University
Future Faculty Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, Butler University
Student Affiliate, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society, Indiana University
Fellow, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, University of Chicago (2016)

Kevin’s dissertation, which was supported by fieldwork grants from Indiana University’s Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society and a fellowship from the University of Chicago’s Black Metropolis Research Consortium, explores the impact of U.S.-based African migrant associations on political and economic development in their nations of origin.  In doing so, it calls into question traditional theories of migrants’ transnational political activities and activism, predominantly drawn from Latin American cases, which are arguably not well-suited for explaining these phenomenon in the context of multi-ethnic consolidating democracies elsewhere in the developing world, as many forego deeper treatments of heterogeneous identities common within African migrant communities.  Despite traditional arguments in migration and political norm diffusion literatures that a privileging of (co)ethnic identity in migrants’ transnational networks may dampen the likelihood they provide political and economic development assistance in a transparent manner – instead buttressing existing elites, institutions, and patronage networks in potentially undemocratic ways – his findings show that (co)ethnic identity actually strengthens transnational networks through which organizations are more likely to remit economic development assistance in tandem with “collective democratic remittances”:  information intended to effect change in institutions and political culture by raising expectations for and promoting norms of transparency, accountability, and good governance in migrants’ nations of origin.

Molly Utter

Name: Utter, Molly

Email: moutter at

Molly​ Utter grew up in Seattle, WA and graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Law, Societies and Justice. At the Univer​sity of Washington, she focused on international criminal courts and human rights and participated in a project entitled “Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal”. The project led her to a peace building workshop in Kigali, Rwanda. These experiences inspired her to pursue a PhD in Political Science, focusing on political violence and transitional justice mechanisms. After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked for three years as the Administrative Assistant to the Founder and Chairman Emeritus at land-rights focused non-profit Landesa. In her free time, Molly enjoys sailing and hiking.

Qun Wang

Name: Wang, Qun (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: qunwang at

Maria Waqar

Name: Waqar, Maria
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: mwaqar at

BS, Lahore University of Management Sciences
MA, National University of Singapore

Maria did her BSc. at Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore (her native city) and then earned an MA in political science from National University of Singapore. Most of her work experience has been in journalism. She has edited, researched and written for several sections of a newspaper. She also has taught undergraduate students, in journalism in Karachi and political science in Singapore. Her research interests focus on the politics of authoritarian and democratizing regimes. She is specifically interested in research puzzles relating to the durability of authoritarian regimes, endurance of mass protests and politics of development spending in nascent democracies.

Donovan Watts

Name: Watts, Donovan
Subfield: American, Policy

Email: donwatts at

Donovan A. Watts is currently a Ph.D. student in Political Science at Indiana University-Bloomington, an inspirational speaker and a dynamic leader within the community. Donovan is most recognized by his faith driven lifestyle and received his undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University. His career is highlighted by a number of accomplishments. He received numerous scholarships, most notably his selection as an American Political Science Association Minority Fellow (2017 MFP Fellow), is the former president of the Pi Sigma Alpha chapter at Central Michigan University and a former
Ronald E. McNair Scholar. As a McNair Scholar, Donovan’s research focused on the knowledge and attitudes of Central Michigan’s African American students based on the recent conflict between law enforcement officers and African Americans. Donovan has a passion for research and teaching and he hopes to use his doctoral degree to influence policy decisions that will have an impact within the African American community.

Name: Way, Edwin
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: eway at

BA Economics, Swarthmore College
MA Political Science, University of Oregon

Edwin's interest in international and comparative politics grew out of experiences growing up overseas in Egypt, Burkina Faso and Denmark. Since graduating college he has spent considerable time in China first living and working in Hangzhou, and then working as a study-abroad program coordinator in the summers of 2007 and 2008 in Shandong province. Through a Federal Language and Area Studies grant, he spent a summer studying and conducting research in Taiwan, work that helped contribute to a Master's thesis examining ethnic politics in Taiwan and Northern Ireland. Possible research topics include Chinese industrial and technology policy and ethnic political conflict. In 2010-2011 he worked as a research assistant for Professor Scott Kennedy's Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business.

Name: Webeck, Sean (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: spwebeck at

Keith Wilson

Name: Wilson, Keith
Subfield: IR, Comparative

Email: wilsothk at

Keith Wilson is an IU doctoral candidate with an emphasis in Comparative Politics, International Relations and Central Eurasian Studies.  He is completing his studies while serving as an active duty Air Force officer from Fort Meade, Maryland.  His military service began when he was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Michigan in 2001, where he received a BA in Political Science and History, before going on to earn an MA in International Relations from Creighton University in 2009.  Originally from Wyandotte, Michigan, Keith has been married over 15 years to Jennifer and has two daughters, Avery (13) and Mallory (11).

Thomas Wonder

Name: Wonder, Thomas
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: tewonder at

BA in Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia

Tom comes to Bloomington from the Washington D.C. area. He received a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, with a minor in Russian and East European Studies. After graduating in 2008, he spent 2 years teaching English in Moscow, Russia before returning to DC to work in government contracting. He is most interested in party politics, specifically party organization, the growth and evolution of niche parties, and the connections between parties and social movements. In his free time, Tom enjoys cycling, running, hiking, traveling, and watching sports, particularly soccer.

Luke Wood

Name: Wood, Luke B.
Subfield: IR, Comparative

Email: lukwood at

BA Political Science, University of Minnesota
MA West European Studies, Indiana University

Luke Wood’s current research examines the sources and consequences of anti-intellectual attitudes across high and middle income countries.  This research finds that anti-intellectualism is a complex, multidimensional attitudinal structure rather than a disposition marked by singular attitudes such as negative perceptions of science, anti-elitism, or low levels of political sophistication.  Wood’s dissertation research tests hypotheses on both the individual- and country-level sources of variation in the distribution of anti-intellectual attitudes across 21 OECD and affiliated member states in addition to exploring the impact of anti-intellectualism on both institutionalized and non-institutionalized forms of political behavior and political participation. 

Wood’s research has appeared in the Journal of German Politics & Society, Perspectives on Europe, and the SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior.  Wood is also a regular contributor of essays and book reviews to the Journal of Common Market Studies, the Journal of European Political Science, and the Journal of European Politics & Society

Salih Yasun

Name: Yasun, Salih
Subfield: Comparative

Email: syasun at

Salih Yasun recently graduated from Sabanci University's political science graduate program. He previously obtained Bachelor's degrees in economics and international relations from Cleveland State University's Honors Program. Salih is mainly interested in political behavior, with the emphasis on how political parties can lead opinions and how changes in instiutional and socio-economic dynamics influence political participation.

Salih has written a Master's thesis entitled "Can Political Parties Lead Opinions in Religious Matters? Experimental Results on Partisan Cue Taking in Turkey." In addition, for his formal modeling term project Salih developed an extension for Stokes et al. (2013)'s "A Model of Rent Seeking Brokers". Salih has co-authored a policy brief about educating Syrian refugees in Turkey, which has been published by Istanbul Policy Center.

Kuangyu Zhao

Name: Zhao, Kuangyu
Subfield: Philosophy, American

Email: kuazhao at

Kuangyu holds Bachelor Degrees from Renmin University of China with a major in Public Administration and a second major in Philosophy (2013). He earned a M.A. in Political Science from Duke University (2016). His major field is political philosophy and his main interests include Alexis de Tocqueville's political thought and American Political Thought.