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Student Profile - K. Chad Clay
“There are things we can do at the individual level

that can have a measurable impact on international human rights practices… actions as simple as participating in international organizations can have a large-scale effect— like Amnesty International, for instance… it’s not a fruitless endeavor —my research backs that up.”.
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Alper Ecevit

Dissertation Title: "Understanding Suffrage Extension"

Chair: Michael McDonald

Committee: Olga Shvetsova, Mikail Filippov, Seden Akcinaroglu

Alper's research attempts to explain rationale behind suffrage expansion.
He explores constitutional amendment processes in U.S. political history
where suffrage expanded and also focuses on immigrants' right to vote in
European democracies. Existing scholarly work on suffrage expansion explains
the process by referring to political struggle, while Alper tries to explore
whether political principle became a matter of concern during decision-making
processes. His research includes, institutional change, democratization in
divided societies, social cooperation, behavioral analysis and political
physcology with different applications of quantitative methodology.



Jenna Kelkres Emery

Dissertation Title: "The Anti-Partisan: Social Identification and
Partisan Preference"

Chair: Jonathan S. Krasno

Committee: Gregory Robinson, Michael D. McDonald

Publications: "The First State Lobbyists: State Offices in Washington During World War II," in the Journal of Policy History. April 2011. (with Jennifer Jensen).

Jenna's research and teaching interests focus on American politics and
political behavior, much of it using theories of psychology and
sociology. She has taught courses on these topics and on public
administration. Her dissertation draws from literature on party
identification and social identity to examine the effect that social
groups have on our party preferences. She is a George L. Hinman Fellow
and currently a Visiting Scholar at Florida State University where she
is collaborating with faculty to conduct an experiment as part of her


Ian Farrell

Dissertation Title: "Taking the Lead: Presidential Party Leadership and its Influence on Congressional Politics"

Chair: Michael McDonald

Committee: Gregory Robinson & Jonathan Krasno

Ian's research and teaching interests focus on American politics, specifically: the presidency, the United States Congress, executive-legislative relations, political parties, and research methodology.


Benjamin Farrer

Dissertation Title: Substitutable Organizational Strategies for Policy Influence by Niche Interests

Chair: Olga Shvetsova

Committee:Mikhail Filippov and Michael D. McDonald

Ben's research interests center on environmental parties and pressure groups, as well as on formal and empirical methods. His dissertation explains the variety of organizational mechanisms used by niche interests to influence mainstream politicians.


Michael Flynn

Dissertation Title: "Those Halcyon Days: The Evolution of the American Foreign Policy Establishment"

Chair: Benjamin Fordham

Committee: David Clark and Olga Shvetsova

Michael's research interests include the causes and consequences of foreign policy, security, conflict, human rights/repression, the influence of private and non-state actors in world affairs, and network analysis. His dissertation examines the domestic underpinnings of America's liberal-internationalist foreign policy by looking at how major events in US foreign policy have impacted the partisan/bipartisan and professional characteristics of presidential appointments to the bureaucratic agencies responsible for crafting and implementing foreign policy. Beyond his dissertation, he also has a number of ongoing research projects that continue to pursue these lines of research. 


Weiwei Hu

Dissertation title: "Career Ambition, Party Unity, and Party Policy Positioning: A Comparative Examination of Intra-party Organization, 1945 - 2010"

Chair: William B. Heller

Committee: Olga Shvetsova and Michael D. McDonald

Weiwei's research broadly centers on questions relevant to democratic procedures, democratization, and elite influence. Her research interests include comparative politics, political parties, legislatures, institutional analysis, and research methods (formal modeling, quantitative methods, and experimental methods). As the diversity of her research interests attests, she does not confine myself to a specific region or substantive field. Her interests and qualifications allow her to compare political institutions around the world in both advanced industrialized democracies as well as non democracies.

Her dissertation applies the principal-agent framework and examines the relationship between party leaders and rank-and-file members within a legislative party. She argues whether and when individual members utilize the institutional environment to wield influence on publicly-established party policy positions depends on how and to whom intra-party organization provides opportunities for such influence. Contrary to the expectations generated by veto player theory, the logic of her argument suggests that party policy positions are less likely to be consistent and predictable when high levels of party unity is a function of career ambition, and the ability of the leadership to put their will on rank-and-file members. To that end, her dissertation research provides a foundation for future research about how the internal dynamics among party members shape the inter-party bargaining and policy-making process. 


Aparna Kher

Dissertation Title: "Know Then Thyself. Domestic Delegation, Information, Leadership Uncertainty and Foreign Policy Decisions during Crisis Bargaining"

Chair: David Clark

Committee: Benjamin Fordham, Olga Shvetsova, & Katri Sieberg

Aparna's research and teaching interests include: Domestic Forces in International Relations, Foreign Policy Decision-Making, Bargaining Models of War, Strategic Models of Interstate conflict and cooperation, US and Comparative foreign policy, political violence, civil wars, human rights, South Asian and Indian Politics and Foreign policy, and comparative bureaucracies. Research methods, game theory and experimental methods.

Joshua Zingher

Dissertation Title: Party Competition, Demographic Change and the Maintenance of the Competitive Equilibrium.

Chair: Michael D. McDonald

Josh's research and teaching interests focus on American political parties and political behavior, as well as on empirical methods. His dissertation research investigates the relationship between demographic change and party positioning. Several of his other ongoing projects investigate questions pertaining to electoral realignments, racially polarized voting, immigration policy, electoral coalition change and the macro level effects of the incumbency advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives.



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Last Updated: 9/9/13