POIR Students

Rod Albuyeh

Research Interests:Political Psychology and International Security
Education: B.A., UC Irvine; M.A., UC Santa Barbara 

"For me, choosing POIR was a great decision.  We have excellent mentors who hold us to a high standard, unique opportunities for professional development, and ample resources to enhance research.  The faculty in charge of the program are committed to providing outstanding graduate training, and in addition there is a sense of community here that contributes to the fulfillment of pursuing a PhD."


Jiun Bang

Research Interests: International security, Northeast Asia & U.S. foreign policy
Education: M.A., Georgetown University (2006); B.A., Ewha Womans University, Seoul (2005)

"You have the advantage of access to both the resources afforded by the Political Science and International Relations program. Not only does this mean support for interdisciplinary studies, but also mentoring from a wide-range of faculty. The locale also means that the cluster of schools nearby serve as added facilities (inter-library loans etc) for research and additional opportunities for conferences and workshops. As evidenced by the multitude of conferences and workshop offerings, the program is fully supportive of striking that balance between in-class learning and extracurricular activities for professional enhancement. There are also various avenues for funds, especially for those interested in East Asian studies, such as the U.S.-China institute and the Korean Studies Institute."


Fabian A. Borges-Herrero

Dissertation Title: "Social Policy under Latin America’s New Left: The Political Economy of Social Spending and Anti-Poverty Programs"
Research Interests: Latin American politics, comparative social policy, anti-poverty programs, effects of presidential ideology
Publications: “Rules of Procedure as a Cause of Legislative Paralysis: The Case of Costa Rica, 2002-2010.” Latin American Politics and Society, Forthcoming (Winter 2014); (with Mariano E. Bertucci and Claudia Fuentes-Julio) “Best Practices in Scholar-Practitioner Relations: Insights from the Field of Inter-American Affairs,” International Studies Perspectives 15(1): 54-72, 2014.
Education:M.A., Georgetown University (2008); B.A., University of Costa Rica (2005)

"Based on my personal experience, the faculty is very accessible. POIR offers a generous funding package to all incoming students. While still a relatively new program, the placement record has been very good."

Personal Webpage: http://www.fabianborges.com



Youssef Chouhoud

Research Interests: With a continuing desire to engage the Arab Awakening, his doctoral research will, in part, trace the political evolution of theocratic parties in newly democratized states. In addition to his work on Middle East politics, Youssef has written extensively on Islam in America as News Editor of the award-winning website MuslimMatters.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History from Lehigh University and a Master of Arts in Political Science as a President’s Scholar 


Tyler M. Curley

Research Interests: IR Theory, Political Psychology, Identity, Conflict Resolution
Publications: "Social Identity Theory and EU Expansion,"International Studies Quarterly (September 2009).
Education: M.A., University of Washington Tacoma (2008); B.A., University of Washington Tacoma (2006)

"The students, faculty, and staff are very welcoming and helpful. The program is flexible and allows you to pursue interdisciplinary approaches. There are plenty of resources to help you conduct research."


Juvenal J. Cortes

Research Interests: My research interests involve political participation in general and direct democracy in particular. My dissertation is an analysis of direct democracy in the United States and how it compares to the Latin America models. I am interested in direct democracy as both an independent and dependent variable and ask the following questions: How does money influence direct democracy in the US and is it different in Latin America?  What types of issues do the two regions decide by direct democracy? What role do Supreme Courts play in laws and ordinances passed directly by citizens? Does direct democracy strengthen or weaken representative democracy? Does this play out different in the US compared to Latin America?
Education: B.A. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley (2009)

"I recommend USC POIR because I can always count on funding for my work, projects, and conferences; because I can count on a professor to have a chat over coffee when I’m feeling low; because a PhD is not just about the final result, but the experience and process of getting there."


Nicolas de Zamaroczy
Nicolas de Zamaróczy

Research Interests: European Union foreign policy, post-positivist international relations theory, comparative regionalism, ethnography, diplomacy
Education: M.A., King's College London (2007), B.A., Dartmouth College (2006)

"Your fellow students in the program will be your friends, and your professors will be your mentors-from what I hear, this is not necessarily the case everywhere. Also, the funding is generous."


Adam Feldman

Research Interests: American Politics and Judicial Politics
Education: B.A., University of California, Los Angeles; J.D. Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley

"The POIR program has great professors in a variety of areas. Students can engage in a wide range of topics and focus on one of many substantive areas of interest.  So far, I have been able to gear my education to fit my particular interests as well as to gain a broader general understanding of American and Comparative Politics through the respective sub-fields."


Ronan Tse-min Fu

Research Interests: International Relations Theory, Grand Strategy, East Asian Security, and Qualitative Research Methods.
Education: M.A., National Taiwan University (2009); B.A., National Chengchi University (2006)


Matthew Gratias



Thora Giallouri

Research Interests: My main focus is judicial politics and the U. S. Supreme Court. I am also greatly interested in issues of social change, international law and communitarian politics.
Education: BA from Panteion University (Greece) in International and European Studies and an MA in Political Science from CalStateLA

"I consider USC's POIR program to be a definitive place in the study of judicial politics and international law, it has a great and long tradition in this field of expertise."


Eric Hamilton

Research Interests: International Relations, Security Studies, Comparative Politics
Education: M.A., Georgetown University (2006); B.A., Temple University (2004)

"As an applicant, the reception I received from POIR faculty, staff and students was unparalleled compared to other programs. Faculty members met with me to discuss my research interests; staff explained the strong institutional support I would receive to pursue my research; and students openly shared  their experiences. Since coming to USC, I have an even better perspective and hold the  same high opinion. As I’ve learned more about the department it is amazing to see the vigorous effort to streamline the PhD program – part of a larger project across USC’s  graduate programs. New faculty hires, new research and funding opportunities, new course offerings, and increasingly competitive incoming classes. It is really an exciting time to be here."


Chin-Hao Huang

Dissertation Title
"Status, Security, and Socialization: Explaining Change in Chinese Compliance in International Institutions."
Research Interests: International relations in East Asia, Chinese foreign and security policy, China-Africa relations, China and UN peacekeeping
Publications:(with Bates Gill) China's Expanding Role in Peacekeeping: Prospects and Policy Implications (SIPRI, 2009).  “China's Renewed Partnership with Africa,” in China into Africa: Trade, Aid, and Influence (Brookings Institution Press, 2008).  “U.S.–China Relations and Darfur,” Fordham International Law Journal (April 2008).“Principles and Praxis of China’s Peacekeeping,” International Peacekeeping, vol. 18, no. 3 (June 2011) 
Education: B.S., Georgetown University (2006).

"The professionalization opportunities, availability of professors to work with and mentor students, and funding sources for conducting research are some of the key strengths of the POIR program. The support and camaraderie among fellow cohort members also provide for a genuinely enriching learning environment.There isa wealth of expertise among the faculty anda wide range of programmatic activities in the POIR program, theCenter for International Studies, East Asia Studies Center, Korean Studies Institute, and the U.S.-China Institute that are especially rewarding for students of IR in East Asia."

Personal Webpage


Joey Huddleston

Research Interests: Peace and conflict processes, domestic constraints on foreign policy, identity politics, and Middle Eastern and North African affairs
Education: BA, Sociology and Peace Studies, Chapman University, 2011

POIR is dynamic. The faculty are brilliant and accessible, and the atmosphere is purposefully collaborative. It is supportive. The program is generous with its students, so diverse research interests need not know bounds. Finally, the city of Los Angeles is warm, fun, and delicious.

Professional Website


Tom Jamieson

Research Interests: The Politics of Natural Disasters, International Security, Foreign Policy, Comparative Politics, Political Communication, Methodology
Education: B.A. (Hons), Victoria University of Wellington; M.A., Victoria University of Wellington

“I particularly enjoy being challenged by fellow graduate students and faculty on a daily basis. The collegial environment in the program is particularly conducive to healthy debate and the formation of ideas. The Professors’ doors are always open, and the support for graduate students make this a great place to study.”


Eunice Kang

Research Interests:
 East Asian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Security,  International Migration, International Law, North Korean refugees in China
Education: M.A., School of Oriental and African Studies (2007); B.A., University of  Southern California (2005)

"I wholeheartedly recommend USC POIR because it is the leading research university in the area of East Asia politics and its relations with the United States. One of the things that attracted me the most to USC was the vast amount of resources that would be available to me. The range of institutes and centers at USC is plentiful—such as the U.S.-China Institute, the Korean Institute and the East Asian Studies Center. And of course the faculty here are extremely approachable and supportive."


Peter Knaack

Research Interests: International Political Economy, Transnational Networks, Global Governance, Latin America, China
Publications: (with Roberto Bouzas) “The Interamerican Development Bank and Half a Century of Regional Integration in Latin America and the Caribbean,”Integration & Trade (January 2009).
Education: M.A., University of San Andres, Buenos Aires (2009); M.A., Leipzig University (2003)

"A major advantage of POIR is that it provides high-standard courses in an environment that makes it easy to establish excellent personal relationships with faculty. In addition, this program has a unique interdisciplinary character which enables students to broaden their IR education with classes in Communications, Economics, Psychology and other departments without bureaucratic hurdles. USC has been much less affected by the last financial crisis than other major universities, so students can expect to receive generous support during the semester and for a broad variety of summer research projects."


Gloria Koo

Research Interests: International political economy, East Asia
Education: B.A., Stanford University (2005)

"I appreciate the opportunity to study with and learn from the distinguished faculty members at USC. I am grateful for their mentorship. Also, a great location. (Yay LA!)"


Kymberly MacNeal
Kymberly MacNeal

Research Interests: Security studies, Middle East, weapons of mass destruction, epidemiology
Education: B.A., Baylor University (2010)

"I would recommend this program because it encompasses a number of faculty with a variety of interests. They also conscientiously support their grad students in helping them develop the skills  necessary for future and present success."


Míchel (Michelle) Angela Martinez

Research Interests: International human rights, photography & visualculture, social movements, law
Education: B.A., University of Southern California (2006)

"Faculty -- namely those on my committee! I have rather unorthodox interests as far as the discipline of political science is concerned, bu I can pursue those here, with professors from American Studies and Ethnicity, Anthropology, Communications, Fine Art, Sociology, and on and on. I have chosen to design my own path and my committee is very supportive."


Matthew Mendez

Research interests: Participatory Democray, Race, Ethnicity and Politics, and Representation
Education: B.A., San Jose State University (2009)

"As a student primarily interested in how race and ethnicity impact American politics, I am grateful to be in a program that is on the cutting edge of that field. The faculty we have in the department are a distinguished, decorated group that push us to think critically about what we are studying and how it affects the larger world."


Elli Menounou

Research Interests: Media and political participation and decision making in a comparative perspective. 
Education: B.A., Panteion University of Athens; M.A., California State University Los Angeles 

"I would recommend USC POIR because it provides students with the opportunity to work with great professors and to socialize in a high-quality academic environment."


Cyrus Mohammadian

Research Interests
: My primary research interests include the relationship between civil and international conflict, the role of group identity in warfare, and political transitions—particularly in the states of the former Soviet Union.
Education: B.A., Indiana University Bloomington (2004)

"The POIR program not only provides students with enough flexibility to pursue our various research agendas, but it also presents us with numerous opportunities to expand the scope of our research while guiding us down our particular research paths."


In Young Min

Research Interests: International relations theory, international security in East Asia, nuclear proliferation, and U.S. foreign policy 
Publications: "Nationalism and State Interests: Seoul's Restrained Rejoinder to China's Northeast Project," Asia Yeongu [Korean Journal of Asian Studies], Vol. 14, No. 1 (with Young Chul Cho) 
Education: B.A. (2006), M.A. (2011), Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea 

"The relatively small size of the program not only allows students to work closely with distinguished faculty here, but also contributes to a strong sense of community among students. The program offers generous funding package for all students."


Mark Paradis

Research Interests: Security Studies, International Relations Theory, Political Psychology, Foreign Policy Analysis, Methodology

Education: M.A., McGill University (2009); B.A., McGill University (2007)

"There are a few reasons to choose POIR. First, theaccess to faculty members isfantastic. Even as anadmitted applicant, I received numerous helpful emails from faculty members and was able to meet individually with them to discuss my research interests, their current projects, and the program. As a student, both my course professors and other faculty members have been very accessible and helpful. Second, theprogram provides a lot ofresources to support students. Third, the students in the program are very strong academically and there is a strong sense of community among students."


Jordan Peterson

Research Interests: American government and institutions, Legislative politics, Latino political behavior
Education: J.D., University of Florida Levin College of Law, (2012); B.A., University of Southern California, German (2008)

"I really appreciate the congenial and supportive attitude of the faculty, staff, and students in the program.  The faculty are extremely accessible, and small class size allows them to provide thorough and individualized feedback while maintaining a collaborative and challenging academic environment for students."


Simon Radford

Research InterestsDemocracy promotion and Democratization; Simulations in Pedagogy; former Soviet Union
Education: M.P.A., Brown University (2006); M.A., Cambridge University (2004); B.A., Cambridge University (2004)

"Simply put, the program is a happy place to be: colleagues are supportive and work collaboratively; people come from diverse backgrounds and with differing viewpoints; and everyone wants you to succeed. I have yet to meet a faculty member who I didn't like and who hasn't been extremely helpful in assisting me in any way they could. I am proud to call my fellow POIRers friends and not just people who I share a department with."


Mariana Rangel-Padilla

Research Interests: International Political Economy and Comparative Politics with a focus in Latin America 
Education: B.A., Tecnologico de Monterrey; M.A., Carleton University



Güez Salinas

Research Interests: International Security & Foreign Policy, Cyber Security and Technology Policy


Meredith Shaw

Research Interests: Political economy of East Asia, democratic transitions, Japan-South Korea relations, North Korea issues
Education: B.A., Brown University; M.A., Ritsumeikan University


Jihyun Shin

Education: B.A. in German Education and International Relations from Seoul National University and a Master’s degree from School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.


Keira Stearns

Research Interests: U.S. political discourses on women in Afghanistan 
Education: B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder; M.A., University of Colorado at Denver


Mengxiao Tang

Research Interests: Chinese politics, political economy of East and Southeast Asia, comparative contentious politics and labor movement
Education: UMBC: B.A. in Political Science from Renmin University of China (Beijing, 2009); M.A. in Global Political Economy from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2010); M.Phil. in Government and International Studies from Hong Kong Baptist University (2012)

"The POIR community is welcoming and filled with energy. The faculty is actively engaged and different kinds of academic resources or opportunities are highly accessible."


Joshua Tuynman

Research Interests: Political Economy, Asian-Latin-American Relations
Education: B.A., UCSD; Master of Pacific International Affairs (MPIA), UCSD

Josh Tuynman is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, where he studies the rapidly evolving trade and investment relationships among Latin America, China, and the United States. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and masters degrees in Latin American Studies and International Relations from the University of California, San Diego. Before USC he studied post-Soviet politics in Hungary, taught English in Serbia, and covered the democratic transition in Mexico as a reporter for the Mexico City News.

Personal Website: http://dornsife.usc.edu/tuynman/


Scott Wilbur 

Research Interests: Domestic determinants of foreign economic policy (trade and aid), political economy in the Asia-Pacific region
Education: M.A., National Taiwan University (2011); B.S., Georgetown University (2005)

Personal Webpage: https://dornsife.usc.edu/sawilbur


Philip Wilcox

Research Interests: Chinese foreign policy
Education: B.A., Georgetown University (2009)

"I chose USC because of the passionate and interesting faculty and students, and their generous support for student scholarship, particularly in relation to security issues in East Asia. USC is a fantastic academic atmosphere with constant interaction and discussion between students and faculty and the faculty take an active interest in the academic interests of the students."


Sean Wong

Research interests: international relations theory, diplomacy, political psychology, East Asian international relations
Dissertation title: "When Passions Run High: An Affective Theory of Diplomatic Crisis Bargaining"
“Economic Statecraft across the Strait: Business Influence in Taiwan’s Mainland Policy,” Asian Perspective. Vol. 29, No. 2, p. 41-72 (2005).
“What’s in a Dumpling? The Chinese Fast Food Industry and the Spread of Indigenous Cultures under Globalization,” Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs. Vol. 6, No. 1, p. 25-32 (2006).
Education: B.A. and M.A., University of Chicago (2004); Cert., Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies (2005)


Ming-Min Yang

Research Interests: Political Economy in East Asia and South East Asia
Education: School of International Service, American University for MA degree


Xiangfeng Yang

Dissertation Title: “The Age of Good Samaritan States: Domestic Values, International Norms andIdealpolitikin International Relations”
Research Interests: East Asian security, comparative politics (China), American foreign policy, democratization and democracy promotion
Education: M.A., Nanjing University (2003); Graduate Certificate, Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese & American Studies (2002); B.A., Henan University of Science & Technology (2000)

"I have had so many wonderful professors who are great scholars with incredible personalities, including, of course, my advisers: Professors Patrick James and Saori Katada. They are hardworking, intellectually stimulating, and caring mentors. Adding to the lure are our incredibly efficient library services, the generous research funding and the genuinely international characteristics of LA and USC."


Jeanine E. Yutani

Dissertation Topic: Focusing on migration between Southeast Asia and Taiwan, and how country of origin, class, gender, religion, etc. intersect and both affect and are affected by migration policy.
Research Interests: Migration, Culture & Gender in IR, East Asia (China, Taiwan, Japan)
Education: M.A., University of Southern California (2007); B.A., B.S., Minnesota State University-Moorhead (1999).

"With resources such as the USC US-China Institute and the Pacific Council on International Policy, as well as a well-rounded faculty with diverse interests in East Asia, there is usually a variety of Asia-related courses each semester. Other programmatic and faculty interests include culture, gender and religion, all of which offer an important perspective to the field of IR."