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  • POSCIR Convocation
    POSCIR faculty and family and friends celebrated the graduation of more than 200 political science and international relations majors at convocation on May 29. Among others, Ulin Award winners Kevin Costa and Caroline Ruppert addressed the graduates.
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  • POSCIR Professor Celebrated
    The career of James R. Soles Professor Emeritus Joe Pika was celebrated recently at a retirement party sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.
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  • POSCIR Fulbright to Ghana
    POSCIR Professor Gretchen Bauer has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar teaching and research award for a sabbatical semester at the University of Ghana Legon in spring 2016.
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  • POSCIR Plastino Scholars
    Three POSCIR majors have been awarded Plastino Scholarships for special study and travel opportunities during summer 2015.
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  • POSCIR Student Fulbrights
    POSCIR major Emily Grubb and POSCIR alum Alexandra Davis have won US Student Fulbright grants for study and research in Taiwan and South Africa, respectively, during 2015-16.
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  • POSCIR Student Voice
    Junior political science and criminal justice major, Georgina Class-Peters, joins Presidential Search Committee as the student voice.
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  • Kenneth Altman
    Professional Staff

    Ken Altman is a Professional Staff Member on the US Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. In this role, he oversees several operating agencies of the US Department of Transportation and various program offices within the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ken helps draft and negotiate the annual appropriations bills for these departments and works to ensure that federal funding and agency programs are administered effectively and efficiently. In particular, Ken focuses on the federal investment in rail and transit, as well as in housing counseling and foreclosure prevention efforts. 

    Before joining the Appropriations Committee, Ken worked for two years as Appropriations Director and Legislative Assistant for US Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Prior to that, Ken worked for seven years for US Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. During this time, Ken was Senator Specter’s Appropriations Director and a Legislative Assistant in Washington, DC, and before that he was Deputy Director in Senator Specter’s Philadelphia district office. While working in Philadelphia, Ken earned a Master of Governmental Administration degree from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. He also obtained a Graduate Certificate in Politics through Fels and received the university’s public leadership award at graduation. 

    As an undergraduate student at UD, Ken took advantage of the many opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom. He was a research assistant for two professors and a teaching assistant for a political science course. Ken also studied political science in London, through UD’s study abroad program. Yet, what had the biggest impact on Ken during his college years were the internships that the department helped him secure with two US Senators; it is evident these real world experiences put Ken on his current trajectory in public service. 

  • Megan M. O'Neill
    Executive Assistant

    Keeping U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware on schedule puts Megan O'Neill in rooms with presidents, cabinet secretaries, and some of the world's most interesting people. As Senator Coons' executive assistant, Megan maintains and executes his daily schedule in Washington; acts as a liaison between the Senator and other Members, staff, constituents and the public; and prepares detailed itineraries for the Senator. Membership on five key committees — Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Ethics, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship — creates a never-ending supply of competing demands on the Senator's time. With a plethora of priorities for Delaware and a demanding Senate floor schedule, Megan's job is make the chaos of the day feel calm and constructive. Working with the Senator's scheduler, it's Megan's job to figure out how to put all the puzzle pieces together.

    Megan's work with Senator Coons began before her graduation from UD in 2012. With the encouragement of Professor Bauer, Megan interned in Senator Coons' Wilmington office during the spring semester. As a student studying International Relations and concentrating on African Affairs, Megan was initially drawn to the internship by her interest in Senator Coons' role as chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. Through the internship, Megan earned firsthand experience with the complexity of local and national politics, and the depth and breadth of the issue areas in which Senator Coons works. After graduation, Megan was hired as a staff assistant in Senator Coons' Washington, D.C. office, where she got a crash course on the operations of Capitol Hill. Megan was promoted to the Senator's executive assistant less than a year later. Three years into her public service on Capitol Hill, Megan has certainly learned the ropes, but she credits her ability to jump in head-first and strong base of knowledge to her political science and economics education at the University of Delaware.

  • Sydney Bopp (Schneir)
    Special Advisor

    Sydney Bopp is a Special Advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, which currently supports a portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments covering more than 30 innovative energy and advanced vehicle manufacturing projects across the United States. 

    After graduating from the University of Delaware with a degree in Political Science and French, Sydney went on to earn a Master’s degree in Comparative Politics from Northeastern University and attended the Emerging Leaders Executive Education program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. While finishing her Master’s, she began her career in public service with the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change in the Massachusetts State House. Sydney then went on to receive the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship, which gave her the opportunity to work at the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and for the Federal Environmental Executive at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

    As a student, Sydney took advantage of UD’s study abroad program, traveling to London, Martinique, Greece, and Turkey. These experiences abroad exposed her to some of the challenges and opportunities citizens were facing in different regions of the world in comparison to the American experience. Sydney attributes many of her successes to date to her political science education, specifically through lessons and mentorship from Professors Gretchen Bauer and Ralph Begleiter. Her unwavering work ethic and commitment to public service developed in large part due to her time at UD.

  • Rashad T. Goldsborough
    Freelance Production Assistant

    My favorite quote, from the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, is to first "have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve those ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end."  With my background in political science, filmmaking and television production, I plan to use the mediums of TV and film as platforms, to articulate arguments, which critique institutional dysfunction, and comment on why it affects people's everyday lives.

    With my University of Delaware bachelor's degrees in Political Science, with a concentration in Global Studies and English, with a concentration in Film Studies, I acquired the skills to research institutional problems, examine the specific flaws, creating those issues, and finally express my speculations, about them, through the production of movie and television content.

    During a 2014 summer internship, with the CNN Newsroom, in Atlanta, Georgia, I was able to start accomplishing these objectives, while working with Mr. Wolf Blitzer and his television news production team.  I wrote segments for Mr. Blitzer's show, Wolf, and provided the writers and producers with in-depth research, behind the scenes.  I was also given the opportunity to further understand what it takes to create content for film and TV, with previous internships for Mr. Spike Lee, Drop Squad Pictures, Delaware 28, Nickelodeon Development, Comedy Central Production, Nickelodeon Programming and HLN America.

    I currently completed my Master's degree in Administration of Justice, with a concentration in Homeland Security, at Wilmington University, while working as a Freelance Production Assistant, for CNN, in New York City.  I am very thankful to have earned an undergraduate education at UD and Wilmington University.  The knowledge, I attained through my undergraduate and graduate careers, gives me a unique perspective in the television and movie business.  I can take mediums, historically seen as platforms for entertainment, and use them to encourage audiences to survey the effectiveness of social structures, that impact their worlds.

  • Kevin Sun
    Social Studies Teacher

    Kevin Sun is a Social Studies teacher at Ka’u High School located in the rural south of Hawai’i Island. He currently teaches courses in United States History, Modern Hawaiian History, Economics, and Democracy to students 9th through 12th grade. After graduating from UD with a BA with Distinction in International Relations, he joined Teach for America where he received his placement in Hawai’i. The district of Ka’u is the poorest on Hawaii Island with 90% of students coming from low-income families. Working within this exceptionally diverse community comprised of primarily of Hawaiians, Micronesians, and Filipinos has provided Kevin insight to the unseen challenges that have long plagued Hawaii.

    Kevin also serves as assistant coach of the cross-country team at Ka’u High and is working towards starting a Youth in Government and Model United Nations program at the school. Along with teaching full-time, he is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education from the Johns Hopkins University and aims to have a career focused in education policy after he leaves the classroom.

    As a student at UD, Kevin credits Alternative Breaks (UDaB) for providing him the experience of seeing up-close the institutional political and economic marginalization that minority Americans face. His experience on the Mock Trial team helped him develop on-the-spot acting skills which have been exceptionally useful in facilitating student engagement in the classroom. The numerous political science and international relations courses Kevin took, along with researching his senior thesis under the direction of Dr. Gretchen Bauer, provided him with strong political, economic, social, and cultural awareness that he draws upon each day when teaching down in Room 20 at Ka’u High.

  • Joanna Champney
    Chief of Planning & Research

    I am the Chief of Planning & Research at the Delaware Department of Correction in Dover, Delaware.  My work centers on evaluating the effectiveness of the programs run by the Department of Correction, analyzing prison population data, and assisting with strategic planning and the implementation of special projects.  Currently, much of my work focuses on the implementation of evidence-based assessment tools that determine an inmate’s risk level and needs.  I am also charged with collaborating with other state agencies to identify innovative ways to reduce the number of low-risk pretrial detainees who are held in our prisons because of inability to post secured bail. My position includes a blend of policy work, statistical analysis, and strategic planning.

    The internships I held while a student at UD included placements at the Delaware Department of Correction in a maximum security men’s prison in Wilmington, Delaware and a placement with the (former) nonprofit criminal justice reform organization Stand Up for What’s Right and Just (SURJ).  These internships had a direct impact on my being hired at SURJ to provide office management and to conduct research, and after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s Degree in Criminology, I returned to lead SURJ as Executive Director for several years.  There, I coordinated efforts to reform Delaware’s problematic drug sentencing laws and to formalize data-driven criminal justice decision making.  My subsequent work was as the Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Justice, a non-profit organization that provides direct services to justice-involved youth and adults and engages in legislative advocacy to promote second chances and fresh starts for people with criminal histories. 

    My major at UD was Political Science, with a minor in German.  Several of the relationships that I formed with faculty at UD continue today, including those with Dr. Gretchen Bauer and Dr. Eric Rise, who have served as my mentors and who are now colleagues whom I have the pleasure of collaborating with. 

     

     

  • Jonathan Green
    Junior Analyst - IPT Associates LLC

    Jonathan Green is a Department of Defense contracted analyst supporting the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics in the Office of the Secretary of Defense Studies and Federally Funded Research and Development Center Management. He provides programmatic support and management to the Department's more than $2 billion-annual research relationship with prominent private industry think tanks and development centers. In addition to his DoD work, Jon is a Master of Public Policy candidate and research assistant at George Mason University.

    Upon graduating from UD with a major in International Relations and minor in Islamic Studies with Arabic, Jon held internships in Boston and Washington, D.C. with Senator John Kerry's office and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The majority of his work focused on immigration crises resolution for U.S. citizens, policy development for the Syrian civil war, and research supporting the proposed approval of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. At the completion of his internships, Jon served as a Regional Director for a battleground Virginia congressional campaign that resulted in more than 40,000 voter contacts.

    During his undergraduate years at UD, Jon specialized in the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy. He took advantage of UD’s expansive study abroad program to study in seven countries including Ghana, Egypt and Nepal. The combination of in-depth classroom education and experience operating in-country provided Jon with a unique perspective of on-the-ground realities that exist in some of the world's most complicated geopolitical regions. The opportunities afforded to him by UD and the mentorship of faculty like Dr. Muqtedar Khan empowered Jon to continue to pursue his passion for international affairs in service to our country.

  • Dr. Vittorio Nicholas Galasso
    Senior Researcher

    I have put my global governance PhD to good use in the service of the global poverty and justice INGO, Oxfam. In 2012, I came to Oxfam by winning a two-year fellowship funded by the America Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). The purpose of the fellowship is placing recent PhDs with institutions and organizations in the humanities field. Oxfam is one of the few explicitly political organizations to become a recipient of an ACLS fellowship. At its core, the idea of the fellows program is bringing together PhD's with organizations seeking to enhance their research capacities. My fellowship expired this past July; however Oxfam hired me as a full-time staff person upon its termination.

    At Oxfam, I am a Senior Researcher on issues of economic inequality and governance. Oxfam is a policy oriented and campaigning organization. We are equally engaged in the hard work of humanitarian relief resulting from climate related disasters and political violence (however, I do not work on these issues). As a policy driven organization seeking to combat poverty and injustice, we require solid evidence, based in high quality research. My job is providing that evidence through writing papers, commissioning research (when appropriate) and influencing the research of large International Financial Institutions, particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. I also serve as a public face and advocate for Oxfam’s inequality work by speaking at events and working with the media.

    I am most proud of influencing how Oxfam is working to address the problem of rising extreme inequality. As a political scientist, I understand this issue as fundamentally about power imbalances within countries (and among transnational global actors). While inequality may look like a problem of economics on its surface (since we’re looking empirically at how income and wealth distributions are skewed), the processes producing such outcomes often boil down to rigged rules favoring some groups and individuals over others. Hence, it is inherently a political problem.

    A colleague and I captured this understanding of the problem of extreme inequality in a briefing paper last January on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The paper became an overnight sensation because of a staggering figure we calculated for the paper. Using the Forbes Billionaire list and Credit Suisse’s Annual Wealth report, we determined that the richest 85 people on the planet have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of humanity. It’s a staggering figure (which Forbes reassessed a few months later and discovered the number was closer to 66 given changes to billionaire fortunes).

    The report generated more media attention than anything Oxfam had accomplished hitherto. As a result, I appeared on a couple big cable news shows and was interviewed for numerous print, web, and radio pieces. Every major newspaper in nearly every country covered the story of the ‘Richest 85’ stat and the paper. I mention this to highlight the impact researchers can have when working for large INGOs. Oxfam has the brand recognition and platform (plus a talented media team) capable of generating significant attention. Gaining this much notoriety for one’s work can be more difficult in academia.

  • Dr. Juliette Tolay
    Assistant Professor

    I am assistant professor of Political Science at Penn State Harrisburg. As a tenure-track professor, I regularly teach introductory and advanced international politics courses such as Comparative Politics, International Relations, US Foreign Policy, International Law, Middle East Politics and European Politics. As the Political Science program here is relatively small, it is a wonderful feeling to get to know closely the students and follow them throughout their career at Penn State. I also get to spend a lot of times with students as the advisor of the student club International Affairs Association and the co-director of Penn State Harrisburg Model United Nations. We organize the Model UN every year for over 300 high school students and learn a lot each time about the workings of international politics!

    My research agenda focuses on Turkey and the issue of immigration, and as part of my research I usually travel to the region at least twice a year, to conduct further fieldwork, network and present at conferences. Among other things, I have recently been working on Syrian refugees. I indeed remain very much connected with the policy world with whom I had a fellowship (the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund) while a graduate student at UD.

    Penn State Harrisburg provides me with wonderful research support and I am able to work with several research assistants (graduate and undergraduate) who help me in my different projects. For our latest project, we have been working on a discourse analysis of social media, looking at how the Turkish public refers to Syrian refugees in their social interactions on Twitter.

  • Dr. Sara Parker
    Associate Professor

    ​I am associate professor at Chabot Community College in Hayward, California. As a tenured faculty member I work collaboratively to oversee the Political Science and International Studies programs. This includes designing curricula, organizing speaker series and major events, forming community partnerships, and supporting students achieve their transfer, workforce, and personal development goals. I love being able to spark a passion in students - most of whom are the first in their families to attend college - to participate in politics or to pursue political science and international studies majors and careers.

    At Chabot I co-founded our Law and Democracy Program, instituted a Student Research Symposium that integrates library support and research skills into general education political science courses, and helped develop a voter outreach initiative (www.vote60by50.org) and a Community College Pathway to Law School. I am a passionate proponent of active learning in the classroom and enjoy writing about and presenting ideas and techniques. A second edition of my Mock Congress classroom simulation was published in 2014.

    My current research focuses on civic and global engagement, particularly contemporary trends among young adults. I will have the opportunity to delve more deeply into this research in spring 2015 as a Fulbright Scholar to Beijing, China. While teaching at the China Foreign Affairs University I will undertake a project titled, "Cross-Cultural Political Conversations," in order to examine American and Chinese students' perceptions of one another and compare their views on international politics, global culture, and foreign policy. I will be joined by my husband (MA, Political Science, 2005) and our three children.

  • Dr. Atsuko Yokobori Geiger
    Director of Operations

    I work at the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE/USA) in New York City. JCIE/USA is a small policy research institute, focused on promoting US-Japan relations and Japan’s contribution to global issues. The organization conducts political exchange programs for American and Japanese policymakers, carries out policy research with in-house as well as outside experts, and undertakes programs designed to promote the development of civil society and philanthropy in Japan and the Asia Pacific region.

    As Director of Operations, I oversee the organization’s overall operations, from managing finances to setting long-term goals and strategies with other senior staff.  I have also been involved in a number of programs. I was the US liaison for the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Award for Japanese Traditional Culture and Contemporary Society, responsible for facilitating the corporate foundation’s philanthropy program in Japan. I have also been working on disaster relief–related programs since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, including managing a grant-making fund and carrying out research projects. My colleagues and I are currently writing case studies on non-profit organizations that are undertaking innovative projects on the ground for Tohoku’s reconstruction. We are also conducting a survey on US-Japan grassroots exchange programs in order to examine broader impact of the disaster on the two country’s relations.

    It is a unique place to work. Our affiliate, JCIE/Japan in Tokyo, is one of the few truly independent think tanks in the field of international affairs in Japan, and there are not many institutions in the US that are specialized in bilateral relations with Japan since the 1970s. I enjoy getting hands-on experience in managing an organization, while being closely associated with and professionally involved in what is going on in Japan’s civil society, which was my main focus throughout my academic years.

  • Dr. Juris Pupcenoks
    Assistant Professor

    I graduated in May 2011 and I currently work as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Marist has a relatively small, yet dynamic political science department and I have been able to work closely with both colleagues and students on varied teaching and research initiatives. I teach introductory and advanced undergraduate courses in comparative politics and international relations.

    At UD I benefitted greatly from the ability to work closely with top-notch faculty, and from opportunities to develop teaching skills. My advisor, mentor – and now friend – Mark J. Miller was a constant source of inspiration for me. I also worked closely with a number of other UD professors, especially Stuart Kaufman and Muqtedar Khan. Lessons learned through interactions with these distinguished scholars have had a major influence on my research agenda to this day. Furthermore, an ability to serve as a teaching assistant and then to develop – and teach – my own courses at UD strengthened my portfolio when I applied for academic jobs globally.

    Research skills developed during my graduate studies at UD have enabled me to publish a number of peer-reviewed research publications. Many of my recent research projects continue building on my prior work on conflict spillover, migration and ethnic politics. I have also started several new, collaborative research projects with another UD graduate. These projects focus on empirical testing of theoretical assumptions developed by international relations scholarship, and studies in migration and security.

  • Dr. Sara Chehab
    Assistant Professor

    I graduated in May 2011 from UD and joined Zayed University in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) in August 2011 as Assistant Professor of International Relations and International Political Economy in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.   Zayed University is a federal government university with two campuses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The student population is predominantly female based on the university’s mission to offer world-class education to all Emirati women.

    I teach a variety of undergraduate courses within the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, and I also teach a seminar on IPE in the Master’s program in Diplomacy and International Affairs. In addition to my teaching responsibilities I am currently the College’s Coordinator on Learning Outcomes Assessment and Accreditation and I oversee the requirements and assessment activities for two departments. From 2011-2013 I served as the Faculty Advisor for the HSS Student Club and the Coordinator for the College’s Research Speaker Series.

    The Political Science and International Relations department at UD helped me tremendously in getting the position that I have now. The opportunities I received at UD as a Teaching Assistant helped me build my teaching portfolio and gain hands-on experience both in and outside the classroom. This helped me learn how to manage my classes, design my syllabi and lectures, and also gave me the upper hand over other candidates who did not have the extensive teaching experience. The classes that I took during the PhD program exposed me to so much material, readings, and theories and I am now using all this in my own classes. Finally, the opportunity to participate in various projects and to contribute to the department’s organization prepared me for the administrative and service-related activities that I am now undertaking. 

  • Amina El Mahdhi
    Human Rights Officer

    I graduated in May 2011 from the University of Delaware and I currently work as a Human Rights Officer in Timbuktu within the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (http://minusma.unmissions.org/en). I joined the UN in May 2014 after having worked with human rights NGOs in Tunisia. As a Human Rights Officer working in the field, I tackle various issues pertaining to international human rights and humanitarian law such as detention, conflict-related sexual violence, transitional justice, fight against impunity, and protection of civilians.

    My responsibilities include monitoring of the human rights situation in the region of Timbuktu through investigations, special fact-finding missions and visits to detention centers. Another interesting part of my day-to-day work is the continuous engagement with leaders of different rebel groups operating in the area to recall their obligations under international law. Besides, I am also responsible for drafting briefing notes, reports on pressing human rights issues, organizing and delivering outreach activities including human rights trainings to various audiences and developing advocacy materials for use in engagement with donors, partners and other stakeholders. As a matter of fact, we succeeded to put in place 5 human rights clubs for high school students and we are currently rehabilitating a one-stop center for women victims of sexual and gender-based violence.  

    There is no doubt that I benefited greatly from my Master’s degree within the Political Science and International Relations Department of the University of Delaware. Indeed, the knowledge and experience I have acquired throughout the program has made me familiar with the various issues and challenges faced in field work as well as the political environment in which peacekeeping missions operate. It has also helped me develop my analytical and critical thinking skills which are tremendously important in field work.  

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  • Department of Political Science and International Relations
  • 347 Smith Hall, 18 Amstel Ave, Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2355; Fax: 302-831-4452
  • Email: poscir-info@udel.edu