Catherine (Cat) Abou Khalil
Cat is entering the Ph.D. program this fall. Her current research interests include studying political violence, civil conflicts, ethnic cleansings, and refugees, particularly in the Middle East. She earned her B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Comparative Politics and a double minor in Arabic Studies and Writing from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Spring 2020. From 2018 to 2019, she worked as Volunteer Coordinator and Student Curriculum Supervisor at SayDaNar Community Development Center, a non-profit organization in Lowell, Massachusetts that works with refugees from Myanmar. Since 2019, she has been working on two co-authored papers with faculty from UMass Lowell. The first one is on cross-border diffusions and interest in single-payer healthcare in the U.S., which is currently under review at American Political Review, and the second is on how people in Myanmar decide what to trust or distrust in the media.
Zara received her Master of Science in International Affairs (2019) and Bachelor of Science in International Affairs (2018) from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. She enters the Ph. D. Program in Fall 2020, after serving as a member of the Research Faculty at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, where she worked with universities, governments, and community organizations in Latin America to support innovation-led economic development initiatives. Zara’s current research interests lie at the intersection of International Relations and Comparative Politics, specifically in the political economy of China’s emerging relationship with Latin American states. In the Ph. D. program, she intends to tackle questions related to how China’s development financing and strategic engagements in the Global South align with its overarching geopolitical objectives, and more broadly, how rising powers select elements of the existing order to challenge. Previously, she has researched economic development policies for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile and studied global development in Uruguay and Argentina.
Florian David Bodamer received an M.A. in International Affairs from the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University in 2017, after receiving his B.A. in International Studies and Economics from the University of Miami. He entered the Ph.D. program in Fall 2018, focusing on International Relations and Comparative Politics. Florian’s main research interests are at the intersection of political economy and security in defense industries, mostly in advanced industrialized economies. Taking a comparative political economy approach, Florian studies state interactions with business and industry interest groups, variation in industrial policies, arms exports, defense industry globalization, and domestic procurement patterns and defense spending. Additionally, Florian studies how alliances between states may also shape these developments.
Olivia received her BA in Political Science and Anthropology from Union College (Schenectady, NY) in 2018 and entered the Ph.D. program at BU supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in Fall 2018. Her work, at the nexus of political economy and human security, examines how states provide services to refugees and the implications of service provision for the daily lives of refugees. She has done extensive fieldwork in Calabria, Italy where she researched and analyzed how neoliberalism has reshaped humanitarian aid efforts and transformed refugee management into a means to economically revitalize abandoned small Italian towns. During the spring of 2020, Olivia was named as a 2020-2021 APSA Minority Fellowship Program recipient.
Ahyoung Cho received a Bachelor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a concentration of Comparative Culture and Identity from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2016. She also received a Master of Public Policy degree from the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University in 2018. For her Master’s thesis, she investigated how socioeconomic factors and geographical proximity affect the air quality performance of 100 countries using the panel data set. She joined the Ph.D. program in Political Science at Boston University in Fall 2018. Her current research interests include environmental performance and policy, public participation, policy support and urban regeneration through cultural and creative industries.
Seulah Choi received her B.A. (2011) and M.A. (2013) in Political Science from Ewha Womans University in South Korea. She joined the Ph.D. Program at Boston University in the fall of 2014. She studies international relations and political methodology. Her current research explores the dynamics of a state’s conflict behavior from a network perspective. Her dissertation examines how and why diplomatic networks affect a state’s conflict propensity using large-n data and a number of network models.
Bo Feng entered the Ph.D. program in Political Science at Boston University in Fall 2019. He received his B.S. in Pharmacy (2011) from China Pharmaceutical University, Master’s degree in Economics (2015) from Fujian Normal University, and Doctoral degree in Economics (2019) from Fudan University. During the PhD study at Fudan University, he published an article on the relationship between authoritarian power-sharing among top-level political elites, political stability and economic growth using global panel data of authoritarian states, and also published pieces about the labor market in rural China and capital misallocation in China’s spatial economy. One of his current working paper concerns how global diffusion of changes in political institutions, especially democratization, depends on interstate cultural propinquity, based on a theoretical framework of collective action by political elites and the masses. Another working project focuses on how the power structure among local elites affects firms’ micro behavior in China. Now he is primarily interested in authoritarian politics with a special focus on Chinese politics and economy, as well as democratization and regime dynamics.
Miguel received his Master’s degree (Master in Public Management, 2015) from Universidad San Sebastian, Chile, and his Bachelor’s degree (B.A. in Political Science and Public Policy, 2014) from Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile. Between 2014 and 2017, Miguel worked at Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile, where he was a researcher at the Center for Public Policy, lecturer for the undergraduate programs in Political Science and Journalism, leader of the Electoral Studies Group and part of a multidisciplinary team which develops mobile applications for elections. Miguel’s research is in the field of comparative politics, with emphasis on political behavior and public opinion. He is interested in the effects of electoral rules and historical events over participation and vote choice in Latin America, and the perception of corruption within groups. Previously, Miguel was part of a WHO project concerning the harm to others’ due drinking, which leads to a series of peer-review publications in journals such as Alcohol and Alcoholism and the Chilean Journal of Medicine. Miguel joined the Ph.D. program in the fall of 2017.
Luisa joined the Ph.D. program in the fall of 2016. She previously received a Master’s degree (LLM) at the University of Chicago in 2015 and a law degree (J.D. equivalent) from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 2011. She has worked as a research consultant for the Organization of American States (2012-2014) and the InterAmerican Development Bank (2015-2016), both in Washington D.C.
For her PhD, Luisa is exploring the influence of Federalism on local governments. More specifically, she studies various instances of local power restriction, as well as examples of local empowerment of Municipal Governments. She is writing three papers for her dissertation. In the first two, she analyzes the politics and causal effects of Municipal incorporations. The last paper studies how the structure of federalism has influenced the fluctuation of state preemption laws in the U.S. During the spring and summer of 2019, she was the Doctoral Fellow at the Initiative on Cities from Boston University. Subsequently, during the fall and spring of 2019-2020, she was awarded the Whitney Young Jr. Fellowship. She has published articles at the Journal of Electoral Studies, Urban Affairs Review and the Monkey Cage Blog of the Washington Post, as well as worked on various policy reports.
Mehmet Hecan received his B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University in Istanbul in 2013. He was also an exchange student at the Department of Political Science in George Washington University during fall semester 2011. Before joining the program at Boston University, he pursued a master of science degree in International Relations at Middle East Technical University in Ankara. Engaged in research at an Ankara-based research institution called USAK starting in 2013, Hecan also worked as a research assistant for more than three years at the institution’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies. He is a student of international political economy (IPE), mostly specializing in international development, international financial institutions (IFIs), development finance and global governance. His interests of research also include state-building and democratization as well as certain political economy issues in the Middle East and North Africa. Mehmet joined the Ph.D. program in the fall of 2016.
Nick received his Master’s degree (M.P.P. in International Development, 2016) and Bachelor’s degree (B.A. in Economics, 2015) from the University of Maryland. He has led economic development fieldwork in Guatemala, India, Morocco, and South Africa, worked in Washington DC for The World Bank Group and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and consulted for non-profit corporations in Baltimore. Nick’s dissertation research is in the field of urban politics. He is interested in the overlapping political and economic power held by landlords in low-income, majority-minority neighborhoods. This research is supported by a grant from the Boston University Initiative on Cities. Nick joined the PhD program in the fall of 2017.
Breno Hermann entered the program in the Fall of 2014. He has a masters degree in International Relations from the University of Brasília and a masters in Philosophy from the same institutions. He is interested in Comparative Politics, especially in issues related to Democracy in Latina America. He is also broadly interested in political methodology, in international political economy and in the use of force in international relations. Breno is a member of the Brazilian Foreign Service. Previously to coming to Boston, he has served at the Brazilian Mission to the WTO and at the Brazilian Embassy in Mexico. He is currently Deputy Chief of Mission at the Brazilian Embassy in New Delhi.
Gizem received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Sociology from Koç University, Turkey. In Koç University, she was an undergraduate research assistant and worked on topics like Latin American politics, labor-state relationship, and Turkey’s fiscal and monetary policy. Gizem received her Master of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in International Public Policy from Northeastern University. At Northeastern University, Gizem worked as a research assistant on a grant-funded project related to sanctuary cities. She was also a graduate teaching assistant in a class on Brexit. Gizem is interested in European politics, Europe’s relationship with Turkey, populism, nationalism, and quantitative methods. Her first co-authored paper was published at Women’s Studies International Forum (WSIF) in 2019. This paper analyzed the varieties of populism in the world, focusing on Turkey and explained how populism and the right-wing movements are gendered. Her first solo article accepted into the Journal of International Women’s Studies and will be available in August 2020.
Valeriya received her M.A. Degree in International Relations from Jacobs University-Bremen, Germany in 2014 and entered the Ph.D. program at Boston University that same year. In 2013, she assisted on a project about democratic transitions in the Arab World at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, Hamburg. Currently, her research focuses on the role of intra-party democracy and grassroots activism in the success of right-wing populist parties in Europe. Valeriya has served as an Instructor and Teaching Fellow for several courses, including European Politics, Introduction to Comparative Politics and Introduction to International Relations.
Elvis is a Ph.D. student focusing on comparative politics, having entered the program in Fall 2018. His research interests include authoritarianism, protest and social movements, regime change, political development, and contemporary Chinese politics. He received his Master’s degree (International Studies) from Seoul National University in 2018 and Bachelor’s degree (Business Administration) from Shenzhen University in 2014. His master’s thesis examines the political impact of the internet and social media in China. It responds mainly to two scholarly debates: One is over the relation between the internet and democratization; the other is over the prospects for regime change in China. Elvis’s thesis investigates the potentials and limitations of the internet to drive institutional changes by using the framework of the political process theory, which emphasizes three aspects of contentious politics: insurgent consciousness, organizational strength, and political opportunities.
Jay (Jaewook) Lee entered the program in Fall 2016. He received a B.A. and M.A. degree in Political Science from Seoul National University. His research interest lies in comparative political economy, especially politics of labor incorporation in the economic reforms in the late-industrialized countries of coping with the pressures of the globalized world. Jay wrote his master’s thesis on the rapid rise and breakdown of social pacts and its related politics in South Korea in the late 1990s. Also, he published an article on the politics of labor and government concerning unemployment benefit reforms by comparing experiences of Belgium and Denmark in 1990s. He aims to study comparing various types of institutional change and policy reform process that reflect the conflicts and coordination among labor, business, and government.
Yaechan Lee received his B.A. in economics from Waseda University, Japan in 2017. He also received a Master’s degree in international relations from Peking University, China in 2019, and joined the Ph.D. program in the fall of the same year. Prior to coming to Boston, he worked at the Academy of Korean Studies as an assistant editor for Korea Journal. His works have appeared in East Asia: An International Quarterly, Korea Journal of International Studies, along with several op-eds in policy magazines such as The Diplomat. He aims to conduct further research on the economic statecraft and regional integration focused on the East Asian region.
Michael Luke received his B.A. in Political Science from Boston University in 2011. He went on to obtain his M.A. from New York University in 2012 with a concentration in Comparative Politics. Michael’s specialization is in the comparative political economy of the welfare state in advanced industrialized countries. His research interests include welfare state retrenchment, the impact of employer preferences in social policy, and social democracy.
Leo Mohammad Moradi
Leo joined the Ph.D. program in Political Philosophy in Fall 2019. Before coming to Boston, he studied philosophy and politics in Iran, the Netherlands, and Hungary. He also obtained an Advanced Certificate in the History of Political Thought at CEU in Budapest and awarded the Salvatori Center Fellowship on the thought of Leo Strauss at Claremont McKenna College in California.
In Boston, Leo plans to continue his research and teaching interests in the theoretical foundations of republicanism, liberalism, and American political thought. He is interested in how those foundations have been articulated and defended, and what they say to us today. Such a venture, he has learned, would not be possible without a persistent study of the great minds, ancient and modern, whose wisdom continues to be relevant. In his spare time, Leo likes to cook, drink, and listen to classical music.
Sahar joined the Ph.D. program in 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs with a double concentration in International Economics and Middle East Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in 2005. She earned her Master’s Degree in Persian Studies from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2007. Beginning her tenure as a career civil servant within the U.S. government in 2005, she has focused on Iran under three consecutive U.S. administrations. She was charged with covering the Iran portfolio on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff between 2016 and 2017 and served as a Director for Iran and Iran Nuclear Implementation on the White House National Security Council (NSC) Staff from 2014 to 2016. At the NSC, she was part of President Obama’s team responsible for supporting the negotiation and implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran in 2015. She also previously served as a Team Chief and Senior Analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense and a Foreign Affairs Officer and Persian Language Spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State. Between 2017 to 2019, she served as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where she researched Iran’s leadership decision-making and nuclear program. Her research interests include international relations, U.S. foreign policy, and U.S.-Iran relations. She is currently on a sabbatical from the U.S. Department of State.
Erik Olsson joined the program in Fall 2015. He previously completed two Bachelor’s degrees from Uppsala University, Sweden: one in Political Science and one in Economics. He received his M.S. in Political Science, also from Uppsala University, in 2015, with a thesis studying EU policy on Roma integration. His main focus is on international relations, international political economy, and comparative politics, and he is especially interested in power relations, global governance, and transnational relations.
Ruizhi Pang received his B.A. in Qingdao University, China, in 2012, majoring in International Politics and M.A. from China Foreign Affairs University (2014), with major of Diplomacy and Columbia University (2015), with major of Political Science. His research interests are in international relations, especially communication noise in international relations, power transition theory, and Chinese nationalism. He entered the Ph.D. program in Fall 2015.
Songhyun (Song) Park
Song earned her B.A. in International Studies and Russian Language & Cultures at Emory University in May 2015. After working for a start-up company in education and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), she entered the Ph.D. program in Fall 2017. She is currently interested in studying Eastern European politics and international security.
Sarah is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science and is also a pre-doctoral fellow at the Pardee School’s Global Development Policy Center. She studies global development and international political economy, with a particular focus on politics and economics in China. She also uses network analysis to examine global financial flows and China’s role in the international political economy. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from Brown University and also studied at Minzu University in Beijing.
Erin received her B.A. in Critical Theory and Social Justice from Occidental College in 2016 with an emphasis in Critical Race Studies and Queer Theory. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the socio-economic and political conditions that laid the foundation for the proliferation of the pederast in American media in the late 20th century. Her paper analyzed the implications this figure had upon heteronormative sexual dynamics within the nuclear family. Erin then served as a fellow for the American India Foundation (AIF) William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India from 2016-17. There she worked for a Bangalore-based nonprofit organization. She remained in India for the following two years, working in the public health sector and focusing her efforts on improving maternal and child health in urban India. Her research interests are in political theory, specifically in exploring political subjectivity and its manifestations in cultural media. Erin joins the Ph.D. program in the fall of 2019.
Metehan received his B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Koç University in Istanbul in 2015 and started the Ph.D. program the same year. His main research interests include nationalism and its relationship to populism, populism in power, hegemony, neoliberalization and IR theory. Metehan’s dissertation is about the relationship of nationalism, populism and democracy in Turkey, focusing on the ways political actors reproduce populist discourses, performances and strategies in political competition, and populism is institutionalized in Turkish political culture. He has served as an instructor teaching Introduction to Public Policy and also teaches International Relations.
Chas earned a BA in African-American Studies at Brown University in 2000. Over the next two decades he worked as a community and union organizer in Rhode Island, primarily with SEIU District 1199NE, where he was a member of the union’s elected leadership. During his tenure at the union, he helped organize thousands of low-wage health care and child care workers, developed and coached union members to successfully run for political office, and coordinated grassroots legislative campaigns to end mandatory overtime in hospitals and extend collective bargaining rights to home-based child and health care workers. He is entering the Ph.D. program in the fall of 2020, where he intends to research questions related to racial and economic inequality, unions and social movements, and popular levers of democracy in the United States, informed by his broader interest in political thought.
Kehan entered the PhD program in the fall of 2016. He received his B.A. in English (2011) and Master of Laws in Diplomacy (2013) from China University of Political Science and Law, and M.A. in International Relations from New York University in 2015. His major field of study is Comparative Politics, with a regional focus on Latin America.
For his dissertation research, he explores the mobilization of protests against mining in the Peruvian Andes. His interests of study also include International Relations, International Political Economy and Public Policy. He is a research fellow in the Global Development Policy Center at BU, and participates in various projects on China-Latin America economic relations and Chinese development finance in the world. He has also served as Teaching Fellow for Introduction to International Relations and Introduction to Public Policy for several semesters.
Clyde Yicheng Wang joined the program at Boston University in fall 2017. Before that, he obtained a master’s degree in China Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he graduated with Distinction and received the Fei Xiaotong Prize for the Best “China in Comparative Perspective” Dissertation. Clyde also holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry (first class honor, minor in social sciences) from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Clyde is primarily interested in comparative politics, with a special focus on the propaganda system in China. His current project concerns how the propaganda work in China uses and appropriates popular culture to govern public opinion, especially in the cyberspace. His research also touches upon the mobilization of nationalism, state-society relations, and the source of state power and legitimacy. Clyde has recently published a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, adding to multiple pieces in media outlets.
Si is entering the Ph.D. program in Fall 2020. Her interests include American politics and data analysis. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Imperial College London, U.K, and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. As part of her program at Northeastern, she interned at the Harvard Data Science Review, and worked with researchers at Tufts University and MIT to conduct data science research on gerrymandering. She also worked with faculty members at Northeastern to publish an article on Twitter sentiment analysis.
Zeying Wu joined the PhD program in Political Science at BU in 2017. Before joining BU, she received her education in mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan. She has worked at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) in Bangkok, the Genron NPO in Tokyo and the Wen Wei Po newspaper in Hong Kong. Her current research focuses on the historical development of nationalism and political economy in China and Japan. She has published an article in Japan Studies Review and co-authored a chapter in The New Handbook of Political Sociology (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Her book review on Maarten Van Ginderachter’s, The Everyday Nationalism of Workers: A Social History of Modern Belgium is forthcoming in Political Science Quarterly and her co-edited volume The Research Handbook on Nationalism is to be published by Edward Elgar of Oxford by September, 2020.