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Research Fellows

The conduct of research and the profession of political science are somewhat of a mystery even to advanced and highly-qualified undergraduate students, regardless of their participation in the Honors Program or the University Scholar Programs. The Research Fellows Program rectifies this neglected area by providing meaningful research experience, insight into the profession of Political Science, and the ability to work closely with a faculty member or an advanced (ABD) graduate student. The program is designed for advanced juniors and seniors wishing to gain the experience that will prepare them to succeed in their senior thesis work and stand out as they apply for research opportunities and advanced degrees. Junior Research Fellows will have a hands-on experience with the innovative research performed at the Department of Political Science and gain valuable professional insight by working closely with their supervisor on a weekly-basis, attending a seminar series exploring the diversity of methods and approaches, and participating in a capstone research presentation workshop.

Students register for POS4911 and receive credit as outlined in the Program Overview (Word doc).

Please direct any questions to Angela McCarthy, program director, via email or in-person during her office hours.

Matching Junior Research Fellows with Faculty and Advanced Graduate Students

The Junior Research Fellows program is highly competitive. The Program Director will assign Research Fellows according to Faculty nominations and the needs of the projects, but not all projects or Research Fellows are guaranteed to be matched unless nominated directly by a faculty member. Faculty and advanced graduate students (ABD) are encouraged to identify and recruit prospective Research Fellows from their own classroom experiences, or voice their interest in working with a Research Fellow from the open pool of applicants by providing the Program Director the open pool request. Research Fellow applicants from the open pool will be chosen and assigned based on merit and fit with the research projects available that semester. Prospective Research Fellows should apply to the program directly by following the guidance contained in the program documents.


50% of the final grade will derive from the research progress report submitted by the faculty supervisor.

30% of the final grade will derive from participation in the initial seminar and the three critical summaries of the special topics presentations.

20% of the final grade will derive from the presentation during the final research presentation workshop.

 Program Deadlines:

April 15th for the following Fall semester
November 15th for the following Spring semester

Ongoing Faculty/ABD Research Projects Available

Professor Sharon Austin has interests in the mayoral elections and governance of black female mayors.  She is also conducting research on Memphis Politics and the Politics of the Mississippi Delta. She is working on an edited volume that examines two major themes concerning black female mayors: elections and governance. It will make a major contribution to the literature on African American mayors, female mayors, and black women’s political activism generally.

Professor Richard Conley is currently working on a new book. He is looking for a research assistant to assist with data collection. The first component of his book project is to put together a data set of congressional voting on Native issues regarding sovereignty and Native rights. The project requires assistants to comb through Congressional Quarterly Almanacs from 1949 to present to identify and  assemble votes by members of the House and Senate on Native issues. The project would afford assistants with the opportunity to construct a novel data set, work with ICPSR data, and put together ideology, congressional district-level demographic data, leadership data, etc., to analyze the basis for support or opposition to Native issues longitudinally.

Professor David Hedge is currently conducting work on efforts by various political actors – Congress, the White House, the courts, and interest groups – to influence the behavior of federal agencies.  He is particularly interested in working with students on the administrative presidency.  Over the last few years students working with Professor Hedge have looked at how various presidents have used executive orders and how presidents use regulatory review procedures in the Office of Management and Budget’s OIRA to check agency rulemaking.  He’s currently working on three aspects of bureaucratic control — a book length project entitled Governing from the Back Porch of American Democracy, the Administrative Presidency of Donald Trump, and the Use of Central Regulatory controls at OIRA. In addition, he is also conducting research on welfare reform, with particular emphasis on the racial context of welfare reform.  Currently he is working with an undergraduate student on research looking at the relative impacts of economic and political factors on welfare caseloads.

Professor Aida Hozic is working on an article about academic production of knowledge in the discipline of international relations. In the spring of 2020, she welcomes applications from students who are interested in theory of international relations, who are detailed-oriented, and who would enjoy research focused on academic journals.

Professor Andrew Janusz is conducting research on racial politics in Brazil. His current project explores the institutional and social factors that hinder Afro-Brazilian candidates from winning public office. He is seeking students interested in racial identity and political campaigns. Students will learn how to collect data on campaign advertising and campaign finance, and to analyze observational data.  Portuguese speakers are especially encouraged to apply.

Professor Amie Kreppel is working on three different of EU related projects which involve both detailed data collection and analysis and more qualitative work compiling materials from a variety of academic and archival (online) sources. Project one examines the agenda setting influence of the European Parliament through an analysis of its own initiative reports. Project two traces the evolution of the Council of the European Union and examines its evolution through a historical institutional framework and finally project three examines the links between ideology, coalition formation and policy preferences within the Council. This research matches party manifesto data at the national level with policy positions within the Council and examines the impact of partisan differences between coalition partners at the national level on policy making behavior at the EU level.

Professor Michael Martinez is conducting research on electoral politics in the U.S.

Dr. Angela McCarthy’s research interests include political attitudes, policy opinions, and political behavior. She is conducting research on the influence of religiosity in shaping political preferences and political behavior. Specifically, she is interested in how religiosity influences social/values-based issues, economic issues, and foreign policy concerns. Current research includes: (1) the extent to which religiosity influences public opinion on environmental policy, (2) the role of religiosity in influencing opinions on immigration and boarder security, and (3) the importance of religious beliefs in shaping political/social fears.

Professor Michael McDonald is conducting research on voting and elections in the American states, particularly how election laws affect political participation and turnout in Florida and other states. He is seeking students interested in learning how to collect data on state election codes, to make public records requests for data on early voting and absentee ballots, and to analyze observational data.  Students with big data (SQL/Access), and GIS (ArcGIS) skills are especially encouraged to apply.  Students meet weekly as a team with Professor McDonald and Professor Smith.

Professor Conor O’Dwyer is conducting a research project on local level democracy in the formerly communist countries of Eastern Europe. In particular, he is interested in the rediscovery of urban planning in these countries. Urban planning formed a highly developed and prestigious component of the communist-era state, and until recently, this association led postcommunist politicians to largely abandon the attempt to manage city development and growth through policy. As the problems of unregulated development have become more apparent, however, this is now changing. Since 2018, O’Dwyer has been conducting field work on the nexus of urban reform movements, economic development, and municipal government in Prague and Warsaw, and he is now in the process of systematizing this field work into a systematic comparison of the two cities. This project should be of particular interest to students interested in learning more about Eastern Europe, city-level politics and development, and the practice of comparative politics field work.

Professor Ido Oren is pursuing a research project on the professional schools of international affairs (for example, Johns Hopkins-SAIS; Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service): what is their history? How do they function as interfaces between the academic and the policy worlds? These schools train thousands of master’s students each year and generate massive tuition revenues. They straddle the boundaries between the academic, policy, and financial worlds. They afford a compelling vantage point from which to explore the interrelationship between IR theory and practice. If you are considering a career in Washington and/or attending a professional school of international affairs, this project may be of interest to you.

Professor Suzanne Robbins (Inactive Spring 2020) is conducting research on the coordination and effectiveness of money in federal elections.  In the big picture, she is examining the ways in which networks of big-money groups (a.k.a. SuperPACs) can subsidize the elections of otherwise marginal candidates.  More specifically, the two projects she’s currently focused on involve consultants and networks (concentrated interests).

Professor Beth Rosenson is conducting research on the role of media in American politics, and political ethics and corruption in American politics (most recently, presidential nepotism).

Professor Juliana Restrepo Sanín is conducting research on violence against women politicians in Latin America. Currently, she is analyzing legislative proposals and other measures created in Latin America to address instance of violence against women politicians. Concurrently, she is building a database of news reports on this problem.  Professor Restrepo Sanin is seeking students interested in gender and race in Latin America and who are able to read legal documents in Spanish.

Professor Laura Sjoberg (Inactive Spring 2020) is currently working on a project on gender and civilian victimization in war.

Professor Ben Smith is conducting research, Rethinking the Oil ‘Curse’: Petro-Politics Reconsidered.  A substantial body of scholarship developed over the past two decades argues that conditional on the presence or magnitude of oil resources, a state is more likely to have weak bureaucratic institutions, to be autocratic, to experience civil conflict, and to suffer from economic misfortunes. However, it obscures substantial disagreement. While many findings support the curse, others find a conditional relationship while still others report no effect or, most strikingly, a positive relationship between oil and desirable outcomes like democracy and civil peace. In this volume, we critique the resource curse literature, present our own research and find conditionally and often unconditionally positive effects for oil on multiple political and economic outcomes.  For this Junior Fellows project, I am looking for a student to help me compile a comprehensive collection of summaries of research on oil and politics over the last decade. The end product will be a database, available to the student for future research if she/he wishes, that presents trends in economics and political science research on the politics of oil wealth.

Professor Daniel Smith is conducting research on voting and elections in the American states, particularly how election laws affect political participation and turnout in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio. He is seeking students interested in learning how to collect data on state election codes, to make public records requests for data on early voting and absentee ballots, and to analyze observational data.  Students with language skills (especially Spanish and Haitian Creole), big data (STATA/R/SQL), and GIS (ArcGIS) are especially encouraged to apply.  Students meet weekly as a team with Professor Smith and Professor McDonald. Previous Junior Fellows have coauthored papers/articles/book chapters with Dr. Smith.

Professor Patricia Sohn is working on projects that include (1) human rights and civil society in Israel; (2) Palestinian and Jewish women’s coexistence groups in Israel; and (3) religion and politics cross-nationally (e.g., internationally). All of these projects fall within historical institutionalism in Comparative Politics and tend to be historically-, contextually-, and qualitatively-oriented.

Professor Carlos Suárez is conducting research on urban politics, gated communities, city marketing/branding, and urban politics in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Latin America.  He has examined how city marketing has been used as a tool by the municipality of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico to attract residents of a higher socioeconomic class, resulting in an increase in gated communities and a more gentrified Guaynabo.  He is currently following up this work by comparing how different Puerto Rican municipalities have utilized city branding campaigns, documenting the political resistance to these campaigns, and by examining the possible connections between city branding and gentrification.

Professor Zhiyuan (Sebastian) Wang is working in the areas of international and comparative political economy. Currently, his research is focused on international economic agreements (trade and investment), i.e., their making, design, and impacts. His other research concerns the broader political economic consequences of globalization and China.

Alec Dinnin is a PhD Candidate studying political theory and the history of political thought. He is currently conducting research for a book chapter that examines how mass society theory informed early neoliberal views on democratic politics. Specifically, this research explores the historical and theoretical connections between Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset – author of the famous 1930 text The Revolt of the Masses – and German ordoliberal theorists including Walter Eucken, Wilhelm Röpke, and Alexander Rüstow. The project’s central goal is to illuminate the oft-noted antidemocratic tendencies that underpin both ordoliberal political thought and neoliberalism more broadly.

Saskia van Wees is a PhD student.  Her research examines norms on environmental governance emerge, it has become apparent that some states are more sensitive to criticism regarding their management of environmental problems than are others. So what explains various states’ diverging reactions to normative pressure? She argues that constructions of state identity—in addition to traditional material factors like state capacity, economic interest, etc.—play a central role in determining why some status-seeking states are more or less responsive to normative criticism related to environmental governance. To this end, she utilizes a large-N data set and structured case studies of India and China to examine how status-seeking states respond to dominant norms of environmental governance.

* Please feel free to contact the individuals listed above and browse the faculty departmental webpages to get further information about the ongoing research

Junior Fellows

Spring 2019:

Harjot Sodhi, Amanda McCabe, Karla Cejas, Karin Cohen, Sydney Eldeiry, Adam Kozloski, Beatriz Galdona, Kylee Field, Marcela Hulholland, Richard Wells, Jr. , Max Matheu, Jacob McEwen, Jameris Ocasio-Palacios

Fall 2018:

Daniel Delagrange, Thomas Eichermueller, Payal Majmundar, Rachael Borman, Paul Silva, Coley Hungate, Maya Schreiber, Linnea DulikraVich, Carolina Montes, Anna Baringer, William Zelin, Athena Nolan, Callie Burklew

Spring 2018:

Joseph Gonzalez, Nareeman Jamal, Morgan Ungrady, Carlos Lecaros, Miguel  Serrano, Ana-Maria Bitere, Narrelle Glichrist, MaryAnne O’Neill, Livia Katroshi, Matthew Diaz, Priya Amilineni, Jessica Valdes, Emily Boykin, Ana Diaz, Samantha Crisanti, Kristy Sanchez, Emilia Todd

Fall 2017:

Joseph Gonzalez, Jasmine Myers, Cassandra Allen, Kathryn Mellinger, Alexa Gerbert, Jordan Rosa, Shereen Al Shalabi, Mary Anne O’Neill, Alexis Rossetti, Adam Clark, Dillon Boatner, Manuela Osorio

Spring 2017:

Ena Barisic, Eduardo Santana, Heather McGuire, Max Klein, Pedro Perez, Benjamin Clark, Sarah Pattison, Juna Lee, Sara Shayanian, Caitlin Ostroff, Christian Tirado, Andrea Miranda, Laura Uribe

Fall 2016:

Rachel Reh, Kasey Joyce, Jack Stephens, Catalina Del Valle, Pedro Otalora, Hunter Carrell, Lillian Rozsa, Israel Ojaluo, Joseph Flick, Jessica Valdes, Jeshow Yang

Spring 2015:

Christine Thomas, Joselin Padron-Rasines, Alex Cenatus, Andy Garcia, Juan Tibaduiza, Evan Cartagena, Samora Ashley Bazel, Rachel Reiss, David Ponoroff, Christina Faliero, Yarden Kakon, Anthony Reyes, Gonzalo Izquierdo, Logan Abbott, Monica Eichner, Juliette Haulthaus, Hannah Kaufman, Spencer Cokely, Kelsey Landau

Fall 2014:

Igal Rojzman, Lindsay Abbott, Melissa Hill, Janzen Harding, Casey St. Claire, Alexander Schechner, Bianca Feazell, Stephanie Quintao, Jasmine Hayes, Adam Gerstenfeld, Katherine Burnett, Kevin Rossi, Alyson Samach, Sabrina Marasa, Richard Benitez, Grace Kranstover, Gustavo Lemaitre, Micole Kaye

Spring 2014:

Kate Heffernan, Samantha Ragonesi, Deniss Kaskurs, Slaviana Stefanova, Samantha Lewis, Frances Chapman, Christian Pierre Canel, Brittany Serrano, Savannah Pellegrino, Shamica Shim, Shruti Shah

Fall 2013:

Melanie Miller, Corrado Minardi, Alenandra Chopenko, Sami Alsawaf, Joshua Krusell, Ana Medina, Michelle Asuncion, Devin Barrett, Garrett Dodd, Jason McKibben

Spring 2013:

Victoria Dokken, Noah Smith, Christian Chessman, Rachel McDonald, Natalie Yello, Jose Perez, Eliona Jankulla, Daniel Sibol, Alexandra Dehelean, Andrea Powell, Kimberly Greenplate, Dillon Clancy, Jacquelyn Johnson.

Fall 2012:

Laura Daley, Marielena Dias, Bryce Freeman, Alexandra Hoffman, Naveed Jazayeri, Alexa Lipke, Adriana Madrazo, Joshua Vadeboncoeur, Robert Wilson.

Program Documentation: