WCED Graduate Fellows, 2022-23
Shannon Carter is a Midwest American who volunteered in central Ukraine for nearly three years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the youth development sector. She was five months into an extended service when she became one of the 7,300 plus volunteers to be simultaneously evacuated from Peace Corps country posts due to Covid-19. Apart from her current role as the Peace Corps Advisor at the University of Michigan, she is also a graduate teaching assistant for the School of Nursing and a clinical intern at CAPS, all while pursuing her second (advanced standing) Master’s degree in clinical social work at U-M. She recently finished her first master's degree in Project Management and Development at the University of Bradford International Peace and Development Center in England as a Rotary Peace Fellow. Shannon hopes to return to an autonomous Ukraine to support the development and implementation of post-war mental healthcare services.
Tyler Rongxuan Chen is a second-year Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) student, with a specialization in Southeast Asian studies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Malay studies and diplomacy studies from Beijing Foreign Studies University. His research interests focus on politics of authoritarianism, social movements, political parties, and party systems. He is currently working on elite reconciliation and democratization in post-Suharto Indonesia.
Spencer Cook is a first-year Ph.D. student in sociocultural anthropology. His research interests include geopolitics and geopolitical imaginaries, military intervention, nationalism, technology, and political economy in Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean. He holds a B.S.F.S. in culture and politics from Georgetown University and an M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago, where he researched Libyan debates over the Turkish military involvement in the Second Libyan Civil War.
Keren Marin González is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. Her research focuses on the ontological possibilities of peace, particularly in the effects of violence in the collective understandings of temporality and their impacts on the images of future in Colombia. As a political scientist, she has worked with municipal governments to ensure gender mainstreaming in local planning and public policies, and supported social initiatives to follow up the Peace Agreement implementation in Colombia. Other research interests include anthropology of the state, afterlives of revolution, and political emotions.
Donna Hoang is a student in the Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) program with a specialization in Southeast Asia. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame where she earned her B.A. in political science. Before coming to Michigan, she completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant fellowship in Taiwan. Her current research focuses on the relationship between civil society organizations and the government in authoritarian contexts. She is specifically interested in Cambodia, where she hopes to research the tools and strategies civil society organizations utilize to continue to operate and deliver in authoritarian contexts.
Sasha Luckau is a first-year student in the Masters in International and Regional Studies Program, specializing in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. She earned a B.A. in international and Russian studies from Vassar College. Sasha spent one semester in St. Petersburg, Russia, studying at the State Hermitage Museum, and another in Moscow at Lomonosov Moscow State University. In her undergraduate thesis, she evaluated the roles of the socioeconomic turbulence Russia faced in the 1990s, Vladimir Putin’s leadership, and the Russian Orthodox Church in contributing to the growing presence of conservative “family” values in contemporary Russian politics. Her research interests primarily concern the part played by this conservative ideology of traditional values in determining Russian domestic and foreign policy, and its relationship to the growth of authoritarianism in Russia. Sasha is also interested in the sociopolitical factors on which Russians in Russia and the Baltic states base their attitudes toward this ideology.
Hasher Nisar is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Political Science. His research interests focus on examining the relationship between religion and politics in authoritarian and democratic states, with regional interests in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Before arriving at the University of Michigan, he worked as a consultant in the Middle East for two years where he served public sector institutions, followed by a year of Arabic study at the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan. He holds an M.Phil. in Islamic studies and history from the University of Oxford, and a B.A. in political science from Middlebury College.
Liangyuan Zeng is a student in the Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) program with a specialization in Chinese studies. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Fudan University in 2020. Before enrolling at U-M, he was a graduate student in political science at Fudan University. His research interests mainly focus on political control in single-party regimes, including how autocrats control their coercive apparatus through party organizations, and how ordinary citizens perceive and respond to authoritarian party infiltration.