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Current Graduate Students

Adam Abelkop

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

Email: abelkop at

Gordon  Abner

Name: Abner, Gordon (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: goabner at

Maryum Alam

Name: Alam, Maryum
Subfield: IR, Theory & Methods

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.

Name: Alcorn, Jessica (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: jealcorn at

Alex Antony

Name: Antony, Alex
Subfield: IR, Theory & Methods

Email: akantony at

BA in German and International Studies, University of Dayton

Alex is a third year Political Science student studying International Relations and Quantitative Methods. He is primarily interested in interstate conflict and peace processes, as well as issues of international security. His current research seeks to uncover the ways in which changes in economic production have influenced the utility of interstate warfare. Alex is jointly enrolled in the Master’s in Applied Statistics program and works as an officer in the Army Reserve. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis, snowboarding, and traveling.

Alex Badas

Name: Badas, Alex
Subfield: American, Theory & Methods


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: IR, Comparative Politics

Email: sbestvat at

Sam completed a bachelor's degree in History and Politics at Covenant College in 2013. Since then, he has lived and worked in Bloomington. Sam's research interests center around conflict, social movements, and high-risk collective action, with a particular focus on how terrorist organizations overcome collective action barriers to mobilization.

Joe Bolinger

Name: Bolinger, Joel (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: jaboling at

NaLette Brodnax

Name: Brodnax, NaLette (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: nbrodnax at

Laura Bucci

Name: Bucci, Laura
Subfield: American, Theory & Methods

Email: labucci at

BA in Political Science (American Politics), Providence College

Laura’s dissertation, supervised by Gerald Wright, looks at the impact of declining unionization on political and economic inequality in the American states. Her research interests include political behavior, inequality, public opinion, the role of interest groups and parties in mobilization and political representation, as well as quantitative and experimental methodology. She is originally from Providence, RI, and received her B.A. with honors from Providence College in 2010.

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

Oksana Cherezova

Name: Cherezova, Oksana
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: ocherezo at

Oksana comes from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College where she double-majored in Political Science and French Languages and Literature. Her senior honors thesis examined the links between Vladimir Putin’s treatment of Soviet history and political processes in Russia and its surrounding countries. She describes herself as a global nomad, having had the privilege of living in Pune (India), Paris (France), Middlebury (Vermont), Boston (Massachusetts), while also visiting many more wonderful places. Her research interests center on the relationship between identity and political processes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

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.

Andrew Cloran

Name: Cloran, Andrew (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: American, Policy

Email: acloran at

BA History, Linguistics, and International Studies from University of Washington
MPA from Indiana University (Concentrations: Public Management, Policy Analysis, Information Systems, and Economic Development)

Andrew Cloran is a PhD candidate in the Joint Public Policy PhD program. As part of his research, Andrew plans to investigate how public policy initiatives have succeeded or failed to navigate blockades toward implementation. His research interests would also examine the role of management as a facilitation mechanism for maintaining the collaborative networks essential for policy development and realization.

Beyond school, Andrew has recently completed two years of AmeriCorps service as a coordinator of math tutoring projects for elementary and middle school students in Bloomington.

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. 

Renzo de la Riva Augero

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

Email: rdelariv at

Renzo is a Joint Public Policy Ph.D. student, with a concentration in Public Policy, Comparative Politics, and Public Management. He has 8.5 years of experience 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 the government of Peru, from the highest decision-making body (Prime Minister’s Office) and ministries to the local government level. Renzo has also been a Manager in the Public Sector Consulting Division at Deloitte Peru and has recent experience at a leadership position in a presidential campaign, also in Peru.

He has a Master of Public Policy with a specialization in international development from Georgetown University (Washington, DC), and a BA 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 is from Denver, CO and is a first-generation college graduate. After completing his MBA from The Kellogg School at Northwestern University in 2010, he began a career as an international nonprofit consultant working mostly in Haiti and Afghanistan.  He completed original research on the Haitian labor market and has worked with the Clinton Foundation, RootCapital, TechnoServe, UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), and a U.S. Government client responsible for a $3B portfolio of humanitarian projects throughout Afghanistan.  He is broadly interested in the incentives driving international NGOs and their inter-organizational cooperation behavior.  He was recently awarded The Adam Smith Fellowship, and the Penn Social Impact Doctoral Fellowship awarded by the University of Pennsylvania.  

View more about Anthony, including his C.V., papers, and contact information here.

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, Theory & Methods

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, Theory & Methods

Email: cafisk at

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

Colin Fisk is a second 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 interests in American Politics concern questions of racial and ethnic politics and political behavior. Some of his current research focuses on changes in Latino partisanship and contagious polarization in the electorate.

Matthew Fowler

Name: Fowler, Matthew
Subfield: American

Email: mrfowler at

BA/MA in Political Science (American Politics), Louisiana State University

Matthew Fowler grew up on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana. He majored in political science and minored in African and African American Studies as an undergraduate, before earning an MA in political science. His main area of interest is American Politics, focusing on race and politics, gender, southern politics, elections, and political behavior.

Rachel Gears

Name: Gears, Rachel
Subfield: Comparative, IR

Email: rgears at

Rachel is a fourth year student in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. She studies International Relations and Comparative Politics. Her primary research interests involve the political economy of trade, with tangental interests in international organizations, transnational actors, and global and regional governance. She is originally from Rochester, NY, and received her B.A. from the The University of Vermont in 2012.  

Peter Giordano

Name: Giordano, Peter
Subfield: American

Email: pgiordan at

BA History, Utah State University
JD, IU Maurer School of Law

Peter has a BA in History from Utah State University, and a JD from the Indiana University School of Law.  His principal research interest is the study of framing, or the effects of contextual information in news media on public opinion.  He has also conducted research on other facets of public opinion and political knowledge.

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.

Name: Harris, Kirk
Subfield: IR

Email: kirkharr at

Kirk Harris is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at IU.  His dissertation focuses on how the political salience of ethnicity impacts accountability linkages between citizens and politicians in recent democracies in the developing world.  This theoretical focus is applied to a sub-national comparative study of Kenya's Constituency Development Fund (CDF).  This research connects to a broader interest in African politics, democratization, comparative public policy, and political economy in the developing world.  Prior to graduate school, Kirk worked for humanitarian relief, development, and peacebuilding organizations in Nairobi, Kenya, New York City, and Khartoum, Sudan.  He has a bachelor's degree in International Studies from Whitworth University.

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 Powell
Subfield: IR

Email: shjpowel at

MA Georgia

Shelli, who originally comes from Jamaica, specializes in international relations and research methods. Shelli's primary research interest is the strategic use of violence in intrastate conflict. Her other interests include conflict resolution 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 contentious politics. 

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, Theory & Methods

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."

Rafael Khachaturian

Name: Khachaturian, Rafael
Subfield: Philosophy, Comparative

Email: rafkhach at

BA Liberal Arts, The New School
MA Political Science, The New School

Rafael Khachaturian focuses on modern and contemporary political thought, especially critical theory, Marxism, and post-Marxism. Beyond that, he is also interested in theories of the state, comparative historical analysis, the modern world-system, and democratization. His current research critically re-evaluates the complex history of the concept of "the state" and its use in modern social and political theory.

Min-Hyeok Kim

Name: Kim, Min-Hyeok
Subfield: Philosophy

Email: mk84 at

Min-Hyeok Kim intends to develop his academic interest in democratic governance. Specifically, his research focuses on the interaction between deliberative democratic theory as a way to understand multiple senses of collective actions and cooperation in society. By linking the normative and empirical theory of democratic participation, his project will help to deepen democratic politics in the modern state.

After finishing his Master's degree at Seoul National University (2011), he served in the Korean Air Force as an officer and working in the National Assembly of Korea as a policy assistant. Taking charge of environmental policy, he wrote policy reports on various environmental issues such as air pollution regulation system, toxic chemical safety control, and waste management. Currently he is also interesetd in public safety issues and effective safety control system.

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

Dima was born in Ukraine in 1986 and lived in Israel since 1996. He received his B.A. (2010) and M.A. (2012) from Tel Aviv University and also studied in Hebrew University and Masaryk University. Dima is primarily interested in comparative political institutions, competitive authoritarian regimes and contemporary political theory. He hopes to conduct research on parties, legislatures and electoral systems in post-Soviet region, especially Russia and Ukraine.

Mike Kovanda

Name: Kovanda, Mike
Subfield: Philosophy

Email: mkovanda at

Mike received his BA in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently a fouth year graduate student studying political theory. His academic interests include modern political thought, democratic theory, and post-structuralist political theory.

Ursula Kreitmar

Name: Kreitmair, Ursula (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy

Email: ukreitma at

Matthew Kuchem

Name: Kuchem, Matthew
Subfield: American, Philosophy

Email: mkuchem at

BS Political Science and Broadcast Journalism, Union University

Matthew earned a Bachelor of Science at Union University in political science and broadcast journalism before pursuing a couple of internships on Capitol Hill. He currently studies political philosophy and American politics. His current research revolves around liberalism and the debate over the primacy of the right versus the primacy of the good and the implications for both society and political theory generally, as well as democratic theory, representation, and public discourse specifically. His interests also include the political thought of St. Augustine, natural law theory, American political thought, and the intersection of politics and religion.

Name: Kweon, Yesola
Subfield: Comparative, Methods


Email: yeskweon at

BA Korea University

Yesola studies how the interplay between political parties and voters (re-)shapes public policy, and how the existing policy regimes in return affect the relationship between these two actors. Her dissertation project examines the variation in social policy priorities of governing parties across advanced industrial economies. In particular, she analyzes the conditions in which parties privilege non-labor market policies over labor market policies in response to the emergence of new types of social divisions. A part of her dissertation project is based on fieldwork in Sweden and South Korea.

While her dissertation focuses on advanced industrial democracies, some of her recent projects examine the relationship between service delivery and political legitimacy in non-liberal regimes with a focus on China. Other publications extend her research interests in the politics of public policy beyond the topic of welfare politics.

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

Sihang Luo (Simon) holds a B.A. in Philosophy (Tsinghua University, 2013) and an M.A. in Politics (NYU, 2015). His major field of research is political philosophy. Specifically, he is interested in continental political philosophy from Hegel and Marx to contemporary critical theory. His Master's thesis is mostly concerned with the fundamental role of human nature in Marx's works. Sihang also has a growing interest in philosophy of history.

Rashid Marcano-Rivera

Name: Marcano-Rivera, Rashid
Subfield: Comparative, Theory & Methods

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.  

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

Email: cjm3 at

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

Chris Miller comes to SPEA after spending several years in the nonprofit sector, working in local organizations on issues including electoral oversight and civil liberties. He’s interested in exploring the intersection points (and political and economic implications) of two long-term trends more often examined separately—environmental depletion and emerging technology—as well as the roadblocks political institutions face in transforming research and analysis of these issues into real-world policy solutions. In the dim mists of the past he’s worked in quite a few different roles, from consulting to small businesses on communications and information technology, to serving as a student intern for U.S. Senator John Glenn.

Tim Model

Name: Model, Tim
Subfield: Comparative, Methods

Email: tmodel at

BA in Political Science and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Miami University

Tim Model studies comparative politics and methods. He received dual bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Miami University in 2012. He speaks Russian and has also taken undergraduate and graduate courses at the Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic in Russia and at Boston College, respectively. Tim’s central research interest is in the role of informal institutions in the politics of development. Tim has also presented research at the annual Havighurst Colloquium and has served as an International Business Intern at the Cleveland Clinic. In his free time, Tim enjoys photography and is an avid tennis player.

Yana Mommadova

Name: Mommadova, Yana

Email: yamommad at

Yana was born in Turkmenistan, the outskirts of the Soviet Union. At the age of 19 she ebarked on a long a enriching academic journey. She attended the American University in Bulgaria where she double-majored in Political Science and Economics, the former degree was conferred with honors. Afterward, she moved to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest, Hungary, where she received her MA degree at the Central European University (CEU). At CEU she also received the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for hight GPA and successfully defended Master's thesis in which she attempted to decipher propagandistic messages that emanate from TV screens in Putin's Russia.

She is a self-declared new and bookworm. She is fascinted by English literature with Jane Austen, James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov (who wrote wonderfuly in English) among her personal favorites.

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.

Name: Onishi, Kayo
Subfield:Comparative, IR

Email: konishi at

Nabila Rahman

Name: Rahman, Nabila
Subfield: Comparative, Public Policy

Email: rahmann at

Nabila's research interests stem from her long-term interest in development, specifically in the context of Asia. As a result, she aims to exploare why and how certain countries develop economically while other countries follow different trajectories. She is also interested in how to address collective action issues for challenges such as climate change, natural resource depletion, and more. Nabila graduated from the University of Richmond in 2012 with B.A. in PPEL (Philosophy, Political science, Economics, and Law), and completed a a Fulbright Fellowship in Johor, Malaysia. She also worked with a number of nonprofit institutions, including the Yunus Centre and Teach for Bangladesk in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Pro-Link Organization in Accra, Ghana.

David Ruigh

Name: Ruigh, David
Subfield: Comparative

Email: druigh at

BA in History, University of Kansas
BS in Journalism, University of Kansas
MA in International Affairs, Marquette University

David Ruigh is a third-year graduate student in the Department. His research interests concern how social and cultural identities manifest themselves politically in a context of increasing economic and political integration, particularly in Western and Southern Europe. He has a BA in History and a BS in Journalism from the University of Kansas, and an MA in International Affairs from Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Name: Sanders, Ottawa
Subfield: IR, Policy

Email: ottasand at

Eric Schmidt

Name: Schmidt, Eric
Subfield: American, Theory & Methods

Email: errschmi at

Eric Schmidt is a second-year doctoral student at IU.  Born and raised in the suburbs of Milwaukee, he did his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and then additional graduate work at Duke's Political Institutions and Public Choice (PIPC) program. Eric intends to concentrate on American politics and research methods, with crossover work in other subfields when opportunities arise.  Currently, he is interested in questions of religion, public opinion and political behavior - especially the influence of different variations of evangelical thought. In his spare time, Eric enjoys watching movies, listening to classical music, and golfing.   

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

Name: Scofield, Katie
Subfield: Philosophy, Comparative


Email: kbscofie at

Luke Shimeck

Name: Shimek, Luke (Joint Ph.D.)
Subfield: Policy, Empirical Theory and Methods, 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, Theory and Methods

Email: kastauff at

BA, History and Political Science, Gettysburg College

Katelyn is a third year Ph.D student studying American Politics with an emphasis on gender and issues of representation. Of particular interest to Katelyn is the interaction between gender and political parties. Over the course of the previous academic year she has studied this relationship both in the electoral and legislative context. 

Katie Stewart

Name: Stewart, Katie
Subfield: Comparative, IR


Email: katlstew at

BA Dickinson College

Katie specializes in comparative politics and international relations. Her research interests include nationalism, nation-building strategies, political contention, and federalism. Under the supervision of Regina Smyth, she is pursuing these interests with a dissertation on comparative nation-building strategies and mass responses in the regions of the Russian Federation. Katie is currently teaching an undergraduate course on democratization. In 2010, she graduated summa cum laude with honors in political science from Dickinson College. 

Name: Stone, Jason
Subfield: IR

Email: jgstone at

Alyssa Strunk

Name: Strunk, Alissa
Subfield: Comparative, Theory & Methods

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

Before coming to Indiana University, Kevin completed his B.A. and M.A. in International Affairs at Murray State University (in Murray, KY) and Washington University in St. Louis, respectively. While earning his M.A. at Washington University, Kevin worked in both St. Louis and Haiti with the nonprofit development and aid organization, Meds & Food for Kids.

Kevin’s research interests center around national identity movements, immigration, exchange (institutional, economic, cultural, and political), and various forms of conflict which may arise within a neo-/post-colonial context. This setting frames the relationships and interactions between and among former colonies (including various forms of overseas territories still in existence) and former colonial powers, the latter of which are largely concentrated in Western Europe.

Yannick Vogel

Name: Vogel, Yannick
Subfield: American

Email: yvogel at

Yannick Vogel joins the Department of Political Science for the 2016 - 2017 academic year. Yannick is usually a student at the John F. Kennedy Institute of North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin in the Master's program in North American Studies.

He received his Bachelor's degree in North American Studies in 2015 after studying in Berlin for two years and in London for the final year of his BA. In his Bachelor's thesis, he wrote about the work of political consultants and how it has influenced campaigning activities of parties in the U.S. context. During his time at IU he is looking forward to taking part in seminars that are focuses on American politics, and especially on elections, votors and political parties.

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.

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

Major Keith Wilson attends Indiana University as part of a prestigious Air Force sponsored PhD program.  His most recent assignment was to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama where he completed work at the Air Command and Staff College. Previously, he served as Director of Operations at the 566th Intelligence Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. Other assignments have included deployments to the Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, tours with the National Security Agency, and another with the 97th Intelligence Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.  His military service began when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant 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 the MA in International Relations from Creighton University in 2009. Keith intends to focus on IR and Comparative Politics; he has a special interest in the role of religion in the politics of the Islamic world. Following completion of his doctorate, he is likely to be leveraged by the Air Force in support of joint, coalition, and interagency analysis, planning, and policy efforts.  Originally from Wyandotte, Michigan, he has been married over 13 years to Jennifer and has two daughters, Avery (10) and Mallory (8).


Name: Woldense, Josef
Subfield: Comparative

Email: jwoldens at

Josef Woldense is a doctoral candidate interested in social network analysis and organizational dynamics with a geographical focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled Ruling Coalitions, Political Survival and the Last Emperor of Ethiopia, which examines how dictators circulate, promote and demote subordinates to neutralize potential threats within their regimes. This project is the result of archival research in Ethiopia and traces the career trajectories of mid and high level officials over the course of thirty four years during Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign. In so doing, the dissertation sheds new light on the inner-workings of Haile Selassie’s regime in specific and dictatorships more generally.  

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
Subfield: IR, Comparative

Email: lukwood at

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

Luke Wood graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.  He spent a portion of his undergraduate studies surveying West European Politics in Freiburg, Germany.  Before enrolling in Indiana University's Center for European Studies as an MA student, Wood studied Scandinavian politics at the University of Minnesota and the University of Iceland, Reykjavik.  Wood is a student of Comparative Politics and International Relations with a strong interest in West European politics, American foreign policy, and international conflict processes. 

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.