María Aristizabal-Ramirez is a doctoral student in the Department of Economics. María received a BSc in political science and economics, and an MSc in economics from Universidad EAFIT, Colombia. She is interested in applied microeconomics, focusing on topics related to income inequality, productivity, and determinants of the wage premium in developing economies. Her MSc thesis is entitled “Can Financial Development Make You Richer? On the Effects of Financial Development and Wealth Concentration.”
Jeffrey Bilik is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science. He holds a BA in political science and international studies from Northwestern University. His undergraduate thesis focused on the evolution of pro-democracy movements in Myanmar. Building on his interest in identity, Jeffrey intends to study how secularism and religion are institutionally constituted in the political life of the former Soviet Union. In particular, he hopes to explore the interplay of religious belonging and policy in Central Asia.
Anthony Castaneda is pursuing an MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. He earned a BA in political science and Russian with a certificate of advanced proficiency in Russian from Portland State University. As an undergraduate he participated in the Russian Flagship Program and completed the overseas capstone year at Al-Farabi National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Anthony also spent a semester in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is interested in democratization and generational studies in the post-Soviet space.
Jon Denton-Schneider is a doctoral student in the Department of Economics. He holds an MA in Latin American studies from the University of Arizona, where he studied economics, entrepreneurship, and Spanish as an undergraduate. Jon’s research interests include international economics, economic history, and political economy. For his master’s thesis, he studied high-technology startups in Brazil, focusing on the institutional and bureaucratic obstacles they face. Jon was a four-year letter winner in swimming at Arizona and was awarded a Fulbright grant.
Kristin Foringer is entering the doctoral program in sociology after receiving her BA in policy studies and Hispanic studies at Rice University. Her early experiences with ethnography in Latino diaspora communities in Chicago and Houston led to broader regional interests in Latin American politics and policy research at Rice University’s Baker Institute. Kristin has traveled to Colombia for a community development fellowship focused on youth cultural production, and to Cuba as an undergrad studying political art. Her preliminary research interest is the cultural implications of state formation in young Latin American democracies.
Graham Liddell is a doctoral student in comparative literature. In 2013, he received a BA in English and writing from Grand Valley State University, with an undergraduate thesis entitled “North African Youth as Authors of Revolution: The ‘Literature’ of the Arab Spring.” After graduation, Graham worked as a writer and editor in the occupied West Bank for the Palestinian news agency Ma’an and for the British website Middle East Eye. His journalistic writing largely focuses on human rights, arts and culture, and media in Palestine/Israel and the Arab-American community. An advanced Arabic speaker and a beginning student of the Persian language, Graham is particularly interested in personal migration narratives of the ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East North Africa region and Europe.
Eitan Paul is pursuing a PhD in political science and public policy. He received an MA in law and diplomacy at Tufts University and a BS in Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Eitan previously worked on issues related to electoral reform, civil society strengthening, and legislative accountability at the Asia Foundation and at the National Democratic Institute in Timor-Leste and Cambodia. His current research interests focus on political development and mobilization and the effects of aid conditionality and foreign democracy, human rights, and governance assistance in competitive authoritarian regimes in the Global South, particularly Southeast Asia.
Rebecca Savelsberg is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science. She received a BA in international relations from New York University in 2014. Since then, she has spent time in Morocco and Benin researching and working in development aid, as well as teaching English in Turkey as a Fulbright scholar. During her doctoral studies, she intends to examine how international interventions such as economic sanctions, military intervention, and foreign aid affect state repression and conflict.
Anna Woźny is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. She received her BA in 2016 from the University of Tokyo in an international program on Japan in East Asia, having previously studied Japanese studies at Jagiellonian University in Cracow. She is interested in how the culture of late capitalist societies influences familial and intimate relationships. Her undergraduate thesis explored the impact of official and media discourses and global consumption practices on courtship in Japan. As a graduate student, Anna wants to develop a comparative framework between Poland and Japan, focusing on various manifestations of ethno-nationalism in societies that tend to define themselves as culturally “homogeneous.”