Grad Students

Abel Amado


Abel Amado obtained a B.A. in International Relations, with specialization on International Cultural Relations, from ISCSP (Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences) of the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal in 1998. Three years later, at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, he obtained a B.A. in Political Science. Abel’s areas of interests are: African politics, with special incidence to Portuguese speaking African countries, social movements (especially violent forms of social manifestation such as rebellion and/or revolution with emphasis to African situation) and politics of development.

Alejandro Avenburg


Office: PLS 210

Alejandro Avenburg received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires in 2003. In 2009 he completed his dissertation for the Master in International Relations at Flacso- San Andres University. Alejandro’s areas of interest are International Relations, Comparative Politics and Latin American Politics.

UntitledLaura Blume


Laura received her B.A. in Political Science from Simmons College in 2013. Her focus is on Comparative Politics, specifically in Central America and Mexico. Her research interests include citizen security, corruption, political and criminal violence, quantitative methodology, and the rule of law. Laura entered the program in Fall 2013.

Deniz Bulut


Deniz has received her B.A. in Political science and public administration from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. She has worked as a teaching fellow for various political science, international relations and political thought courses. Her research interests include contemporary political theory, Turkish politics and politics of European Union. She has recently passed her qualifying examinations and is currently working on her dissertation proposal.

Hao Chen


Hao Chen received his B.A. in political science from Hunan University, China in 2009 and his M.A. degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. Hao’s current research focuses on Chinese politics, comparative politics and international relations. He entered the PhD program at Boston University in Fall 2011.

Hao worked as a Research Assistant at the World Security Institute, a think tank Washington, D.C. in 2010. His work focused on East Asian security issues, including Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s space program and its integration program. Hao also worked as an Interviewer for the Washington Observer Weekly and wrote several articles on the South China Sea issue, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Island issue and the Cross-Strait issue, etc.

Ian Chinich


Ian Chinich received his BA in Political Science and History from Rutgers University in 2007. He has spent time traveling through the Balkans, Africa and the MiddleEast to work with various NGOs and activist organizations. Ian was accepted intothe Ph.D. program in the Fall of 2009. His research is directed toward the politics of the Middle East and political economy with a specific focus on organized labor and protest movements.

웹[1]SeulAh Choi


SeulAh Choi received her BA in political science and her MA in political science from Ewha Womans University, South Korea. Her current research interests are in international relations, focusing on the linkages between domestic politics and conflicts. She entered the PhD program in political science in Fall 2014.

Laura Esposito Laura Esposito


Laura Esposito received her BA in psychology and history from Boston College in 2012. Her research interests include transitioning governments, Islam and politics, extremism, and quantitative methods with a regional focus in the Middle East and North Africa. She entered the program in the fall of 2014.

Luke HartmanLuke Hartman


Luke Hartman earned his MPA from Cornell University in 2010, with a concentration in International Development Studies. He received his BA from Skidmore College in 2003, with majors in French and Anthropology. His current areas of research interest include comparative politics, international relations, democratization, governance, and political identity formation. Luke entered the PhD program in Fall 2010.

Lilian Jaimes


Lilian Jaimes received her B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from CIDE and her Master in Public Policy at ITAM, both in Mexico. Lilian is a Fulbright Fellow and her area of interest is Latin American Politics with a focus on Mexico and Brazil. Lilian entered the PhD program in Fall 2010.

Anshul Jain


Twitter: @Anshul_Jain_


Anshul Jain graduated from Duke University in 2002 with a B.A. in Political Science. His undergraduate research focused on theoretical modeling of hostage crises. After graduating from Duke he moved to Boston and eventually became an educator. Prior to entering Boston University, he worked for the Boston Public Schools as a high school teacher.

Anshul recently coauthored a book, The Social Media President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Digital Engagement, published by Palgrave Macmillan at the end of 2013.

Anshul’s dissertation, “Migration and the Evolving Mediascape: New Media, Identity and the Transnational Politics of the Indian Diaspora,” concentrates on the role of digital media in the participation of subgroups of the Indian diaspora in the political life of their home country. Other ongoing research topics include:

– the historical use of small media formats by opposition groups in Iran
– the influence of former US Presidents in foreign policy
– the role of economic complexity and food subsidy systems in regime stability across the MENA region

Anshul is a Boston University Presidential Teaching Fellow and currently teaches Intro to Public Policy and Media & Politics. He has presented papers at conferences of APSA, MPSA, ISA, SPSA and ASMEA, and is currently revising several articles for journal submission.

Jillian Jaeger


Jillian Jaeger received her MA in International Relations from Boston University in 2010 and her BA in Political Science from the University of Portland in 2006. Her research focuses on the partisanship, political behavior, and incorporation of immigrants in the United States and Western Europe. Jillian entered the PhD program in 2011 with a teaching fellowship and was awarded a research fellowship to work with the West African Research Association for the 2012-2013 academic year. At BU, Jillian has taught her own courses on American politics and the politics of North Africa and has also served as a teaching fellow for the Introduction to International Relations course.

Ji Soo Jeon


Ji Soo Jeon received her M.S. in Public Policy and Management from the H. John III Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University in 2011, with a focus on policy analysis; and received her B.S. in Policy and Management with a minor in Professional Writing also from Carnegie Mellon University in 2010. During her master study, she published a paper titled “The Rapid Industrialization of Seoul City and its Implications,” in The Heinz Journal, wrote papers on China-North Korea relations and the implications on Chinese Property Rights Law, and produced policy memos on public poilcy issues ranging from education poilcy, human rights issues, health care, and ethics in public policy. She served as a research assistant at the Social Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon, focusing on behavioral and decision research. Her current areas of interest include comparative politics and political economy, with a regional focus on East Asia (Korea, China, Japan, and Taiwan). Some potential topics include: interplay of policy and politics in East Asia, contemporary China’s foreign affairs, and Korean political economy. She is also interested in behavioral economics and sociology, understanding peoples’ behaviors and decision making process, and how they shape the world as we see today.

UnknownJunda Jin


Junda Jin is a political science Ph.D. Candidate at Boston University, enrolled in Fall 2014. He got his Economics B.A. from Peking (Beijing) University in 2011, worked as a journalist for one year and got his M.A. Degree in International Affairs (specialized in quantitative methods, concentrated on China Studies) from Johns Hopkins University, Paul. H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in 2014. His current research interests include security and policy related to China’s energy, resource and environment, with comparative politics as his major field and international relations as the minor field.

De-Yuan Kao


De-Yuan Kao entered the program in Fall 2006. His research interests include U.S.foreign policy, U.S.-China-Taiwan relations, and international regimes. His dissertation applies enduring rivalry theory to analyze the cross-Strait relations. He was in the Institute of European and American Studies at the Academia Sinica in Taipei as a visiting fellow during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Valeriya Kamenova

Valeriya received her M.A. Degree in International Relations from Jacobs University-Bremen, Germany (2014) and her B.A. in International Studies and Political Science from Ramapo College of New Jersey (2012). In 2013, she assisted on a project about democratic transitions in the Arab World at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, Hamburg. Her current research interests include authoritarian governments in the Middle East, social movements, and radical-right parties in Europe.

Claudia Kim


Claudia Kim entered the program in Fall 2013. Her research interests are alliance politics and U.S. global force posture. She received her B.A. in political science from Ewha Women’s University in 2010 and worked for news agencies.

Hae Won Lee


Hae Won Lee received her MA in Political Science from Sookmyung Women’s University in 2005 and her BA in Political Science from Sookmyung Women’s University in 2003. She is interested in studying the political economy of regional integration processes, specifically in Europe and East Asia.

Hope Lozano-Bielat


Hope Bielat is a PhD candidate (ABD) with expertise in International Relations and Religion, Fundamentalist Islamic and Catholic Political Movements, and American Campaigns and Elections. Hope received a MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. She expects to finish her dissertation, Transnational Religious Leaders, Regime Change, and State Sovereignty: The Unlikely Case Comparison of Pope John Paul II and Abdullah Yusuf Azzam by Spring, 2014.

Hope has presented The Domestic Politics of Transnational Religious Actors at the Midwestern Political Science Association (2012) and the Northeastern Political Science Association (2012). At Boston University, Hope has taught Campaigns and Elections (2013) and The History of Foreign Relations Since 1898 (2009). She has lectured and been a course assistant for seven additional courses at Boston University, Tufts University and Harvard University.

Hope has been the recipient of multiple awards, including: Boston University Teaching Fellowship, Manfred Wörner Transatlantic Security Fellowship, Carr Center Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, Bosch Fellowship, American Research Center Fellowship, and Presidential Management Fellowship.

2373ddbMichael Luke


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.

UnknownMatthew Maguire


Matthew Maguire received his MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2008) and his BA in History from Cornell University (2003). His current areas of interest include comparative political economy, public policy, and business-government relations. Matthew entered the PhD program at Boston University in Fall 2009.

Bil MurphyBiL Murphy


BiL is a first-year PhD candidate. He received a B.A. from Indiana University in 2011 with majors in International Studies and Germanic Studies. Afterward he volunteered for AmeriCorps VISTA in Oak Park, IL, and later worked as an English Language teacher in Kiel, Germany. His research interests include varieties of European capitalism, welfare states, and the eastward expansion of the EU and Eurozone.

Aki Nakai Aki Nakai


Aki Nakai received his BA in Political Science from Waseda University and his MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He entered the program in Fall 2008 and passed the PhD qualifying exams in April 2010. He is interested in International Relations, especially focusing on the international security issues and foreign relations in the Asia-Pacific. He is currently doing the research on the dissolution of security alliances, the Japanese foreign and security policy, and the U.S.-Japan-PRC trilateral relations. Nakai was recently accepted to the Asiatic Research Institute (ARI) Fellowship Program for Northeast Asian Studies at Korea University, where he plans to research the U.S.-ROK Alliance case in his dissertation.

Erzen Oncel


Erzen Oncel is a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at Boston University. She received her BA degrees in History and International Relations & Political Science from Bogazici University, Istanbul. Her major field of study is Comparative Politics with a special interest in political elite, descriptive representation, and ethnic politics in the Middle East. She was a teaching fellow for PO 271, Introduction to International Relations, and for PO 241, Introduction to Public Policy. She taught “Politics of Race and Ethnicity” and “State and Society in the Middle East” courses at Boston University and University of Mississippi.

From September 2008 to May 2010, she was the head research assistant and project manager for NSF funded “Colonialism and Its Legacies: A Historical Dataset Project” (co-PIs James Mahoney and John Gerring). Since Fall 2009, she has been managing “The Global Leadership Project” project, funded by Clinton Global Initiative at Boston University. Meanwhile, she is working on her dissertation project which examines the political, structural, and cultural factors underpinning the descriptive representation of ethnic groups among political elites across polities around the world. As a case study, she studies change in ethnic (particularly Kurdish) representation in Turkey since 1920. She received Boston University Graduate Research Fellowship Award in 2011.

Leslie Sale


Leslie Sale graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University in May 2009 with a BA in International Affairs.  In her senior year, Leslie was chosen to represent JMU at SCUSA, the Student Conference of US Affairs in West Point, NY. Before joining the PhD program at Boston University this fall, Leslie volunteered at a lion conservatory in Livingstone, Zambia. This trip also gave her the opportunity to spend time in other countries in Southern Africa, including Botswana and South Africa. Leslie’s research interests include comparative politics, and international relations with a regional focus in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Claire Seulgie Lim


Claire received her BA in International Relations and her MA in International Cooperation at Seoul National University, South Korea. She entered the PhD Program in Political Science at BU in Fall 2013. Her main areas of interest include Africa and the Middle East and her research is focused on the democratization process, the state-civil society relationship in newly democratized countries, the role of religion in state formation, among others. She also likes to dabble in Feminism, both in academic and daily life. After nearly three years of working, she decided that academia was a better fit for her and is trying to survive her PhD life with what she believes to be a balanced combination of ice cream and jogging.

Kristin Sippl


Kristin Sippl is a 5th year PhD student studying global environment and development politics. Her research focuses on North-South relations and sustainable livelihood transitions in developing countries. She recently published an article on mercury pollution in the artisanal gold mining sector, and is currently working on the role of product certification in addressing the sustainability challenges of supply chains. Participation in the UN Mercury Convention negotiations in Uruguay, a public health field experiment in Zambia, and the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future’s Summer Fellows Program all supported this work and link to her broader interests in human security, ethics, political ecology, and policy evaluation. Kristin graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Political Science, and regularly serves as a Teaching Fellow for IR271, Introduction to International Relations.

Brian SmithBrian Smith


Brian received his BA in English from Asbury College in 2000 and his MS in Ethics and Public Policy from Suffolk University in 2010. His master’s thesis explores the intersection of collective responsibility, sentimentality, and human rights. Brian also writes and has published on the political relevance of Aldous Huxley. He is a member of the Aldous Huxley Society. Prior to BU, Brian served as an Americorps volunteer in Frankfort, KY and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Izmail, Ukraine, where he taught English in a small pedagogical university. While at Suffolk, Brian was the research assistant to Gregory Fried and taught Phil 123, Intro to Ethics. His research interests include military ethics, collective responsibility, humanitarian intervention and transitional justice.

Eniola Anuoluwapo Soyemi


Eniola is a 5th year Ph.D student in the political science department, with a focus in political philosophy.Her Ph.D dissertation, The Law’s Moral Legitimacy and the Significance of Participation’ uses Aristotle and Rousseau to examine the nature and position of legitimate law to men within political society. Her dissertation project uses a city-wide transportation system in Lagos, Nigeria as the basis for conducting a set of field experiments to empirically examine the relationship between citizen deliberative participation in rule-making and citizen adherence to rules and perceptions of rule ‘legitimacy’. Eniola is currently in the field.

She obtained her BA from the University of Kent in the UK and her MSc from University College London. She has previously worked at Chatham House and the Guardian Newspaper. She writes and edits a blog on Nigerian politics at

Curriculum Vitae

Stacey Spring

Stacey earned her B.A. in English and Political Science at Middlebury College and her M.A. in Political Science at Lehigh University. An experienced teacher of U.S. history and AP Comparative Politics at the secondary school level, Stacey’s areas of interest are comparative politics (especially nationalism and the European Union) and political theory (particularly revolution and regime change). She entered the PhD program in 2013.

Joo-hee Suh

Joo-Hee Suh received her bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations from Williams College in 2003 and her master’s degree in history of international relations from London School of Economics in 2005. Joo-Hee previously worked at the British Embassy Seoul as a political and media officer and most recently, at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland as a human rights officer. Her research interests include international relations, human rights, humanitarian intervention and transitional justice.

Taiyi SunTaiyi Sun

Taiyi Sun received his B.A from Ripon College, WI, double majored in Politics & Government and Business Administration with a minor in Leadership studies, and M.A. in International Affairs from American University, Washington, D.C. Taiyi’s research focuses on hydro-politics, international political economy, and Chinese politics. He is currently a teaching fellow for intro to comparative politics.

Taiyi previously worked as the executive assistant and office manager for the Center for Asian Studies, AU. He is also actively involved in organizing citizen policy discussions/forums and is a resident at the Interactivity Foundation. Taiyi currently writes a column for the largest youth magazine in China and is also playing the first violin with the Boston Civic Symphony.

Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu


Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu received his MS and BS degrees in International Relations from Middle East Technical University, in Ankara, Turkey. His research is located at the intersection of International Relations Theories and politics of ethno-religious identities. Ahmet Selim is currently conducting his dissertation fieldwork which examines transnational Muslim identity construction among American Muslims in six communities in Boston and San Francisco Bay Area. He previously thought Politics of Race and Ethnicity in Summer 2012, and will teach Introduction to International Relations in Summer 2014. Ahmet Selim was a Junior visiting Fellow with the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna during Spring 2010, and has been a non-resident researcher for SETA Foundation in Washington, D.C for the past two years. Previously he was a graduate fellow at Pardee Center at BU, and attended Syracuse University’s Institute on Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR). Since July 2013, Ahmet Selim has been directing the Los Angeles leg of Public Ethics and Citizenship in Plural Societies Project, a research cluster of Notre Dame University’s Contending Modernities Project, as part of a team of researchers at BU’s Institute on Religion Culture and World Affairs (CURA).

Alisa Thomas


Alisa Thomas received her MPA in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Wyoming in 2001 and her BS in Political Science from the US Air Force Academy in 1992. She was a program security officer in the Advanced Technology Products for the Systems Program Office at Hanscom Air Force Base. Alisa passed her qualifying exams in May 2005. She entered the program in Fall 2002 and is interested in public policy.

WallacejDr. James C. (Jim) Wallace



Jim Wallace is mid-career PhD candidate (ABD) with expertise in International Relations and Religion, Islamic Political Movements, and Religion and Politics in China. He previously earned a doctorate in theology from Samford University, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Seminary, and Boston University. He has also done graduate studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and Divinity School. Jim is currently completing his PhD dissertation entitled, “Blowback of the Gods: The U.S. Government’s Covert Use of Religion as a Tool of Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War Years and Its Consequences.”

Presently, Jim is a Lecturer in BU’s Department of International Relations teaching courses on “History of American Foreign Policy,” “Religion and American Foreign Policy,” and “International Relations and Religion.” He is also a Fellow in the Religion Fellows Program co-hosted by BU’s School of Theology and BU’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs. Jim is co-author of a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press entitled, “Smarter Than You Think: The Surprising Emergence of an Evangelical Intelligentsia in America.” As well, Jim has published peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Cold War Studies as well as the Review of Faith and International Affairs. Jim has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University and at Shanghai University.

Previously, Jim worked in Canada for over 25 years as a religious leader and a senior policy advisor and speechwriter for several senior Canadian politicians and government ministers. He is founder and CEO of a global consultancy dealing with international affairs, culture and religion – LACUNA Group International.

Lenka PicLenka Wieluns


Lenka received her B.A. in History, Society and Culture from Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH in 2002. She completed her M.A. in Euroculture in 2005 at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Lenka held several positions as a researcher and an analyst in the U.S. and Europe, including working as a security advisor at the International Relations Department at the Slovak Ministry of Defense. She entered the PhD program in 2009 and passed her qualifying examinations in October 2010. Her research interests include issues of international security, identity politics and democracy with regional focus on the European Union and its immediate neighborhood. She is currently working on a dissertation proposal.

VF_WingerGregory Winger


Gregory Winger earned BAs in history and political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a member of the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars. His dissertation examines the use of defense diplomacy as a tool of international statecraft. In particular, he investigates how programs like officer exchanges and training exercises function as a form of soft power and can help shape world events. A specialist in U.S. foreign relations, Gregory has had works accepted for publication in Diplomacy & Statecraft and The Journal of Cold War Studies. Previously, Gregory has served as a visiting junior fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Institute for Human Sciences) in Vienna Austria as well as a guest researcher at the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland and De La Salle University in Manila. Gregory has been awarded several academic grants and fellowships including the World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship from the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Leifur Eiriksson Scholarship.

Curriculum Vitae

Oya Yegen


Oya Yegen received her BA in Social and Political Science from Sabanci University, Turkey. She entered the program in 2007 and passed her comprehensive exams in 2010. Her research interests include Latin American politics, civil-military relations, Turkish politics and human rights. Currently she is teaching at Simmons College and working on her dissertation.

BU pic DominicDominic Zarecki


Office: PLS 404A

Dominic received his B.A. in Ethics, Politics and Economics from Yale, where he assisted with the bi-weekly Religion and Politics Colloquium.  His interests are comparative politics and political methodology, with a focus on Latin American party systems.  He entered the program as a Presidential Fellow in 2009 and has been a teaching fellow for the comparative politics and international relations introductory courses.

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