GPI-CIS Spring Research & Mentorship Showcase

ByCenter for International Studies & Global Policy Institute

The Global Policy Institute (GPI) and Center for International Studies (CIS) are pleased to present a Spring Research and Mentorship Showcase featuring original research from PhD students and undergraduates. Presentations and discussion will highlight both research and the mentorship and support that helped to facilitate the progress of the students’ projects.

Join us in celebrating research and mentorship!

Friday, April 12, 2024 | 10 am-1:30 pm
Social Sciences Building (SOS) B40


Event Program

10:00 am–11:30 am | Undergraduate Panel

  • Thomas Martynowicz: “Indigenous Language Management: An Analysis of the New Era of Language Rights in Latin America”
  • Layla MoheyEldin: “From Oil Fields to Skyscrapers: Saudi Arabia’s Ambitions for Regional Hegemony Through Financial Statecraft”
  • Aya Obeid: “Improving Indigenous Wellbeing in Settler Colonial States: A Quantitative Study of Four National Policies’ Effects on Indigenous Outcomes”
  • Mia Prange: “Nayib Bukele & The Rise of Populism in El Salvador: Inevitable or Avoidable?”

11:30 am–12:00 pm | Lunch Served

12:00 pm–1:30 pm | Graduate Student Panel

  • Sinan Kircova: “Variations in Online Self-Censorhip: The Analysis of the Turkish Case”
  • Saran Uthayakumar: “How Does the Diaspora Dream? Interrelating Cambodian American and Eelam Tamil Diasporas’ Healing”

Meet the panelists!

  • Thomas Martynowicz (he/him)

    Thomas (TJ) Martynowicz is a fourth-year student concurrently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Master of Studies in Law. His research interests lie at the intersection of global affairs, language rights, and environmental justice, with his findings having been presented at academic conferences around the globe, including in Rome, California, and Hong Kong.

  • Layla MoheyEldin (she/her)

    Layla MoheyEldin is a senior double majoring in International Relations and Middle East Studies. Having grown up in Saudi Arabia, her areas of interest include neocolonialism and security studies as they relate to the Middle East, specifically the Gulf region. In addition, she is particularly interested in the way Western intervention has shaped the domestic politics and international interactions of various nations in the region, and how this dynamic has contributed to conflicts and power struggles—largely economic and financial—between competing rising powers in the Gulf. Layla is an associate editor and senior correspondent with USC Glimpse from the Globe, was a research assistant with USC Near Crisis Project Africa, and has also interned for WeVote, Humanitarian Aid International, and California State Assemblyman Josh Hoover.

  • Aya Obeid (she/her)

    Aya Obeid is a senior majoring in International Relations. She is passionate about migration and indigenous peoples rights and its intersections with climate protection and decolonization. She has previously worked as a translator and case manager at a refugee center in Vilnius, Lithuania, as well as in outdoor accessibility, education, and leadership.

  • Mia Prange (she/her)

    Mia Prange is a senior from Orange County, California, double-majoring in International Relations and Art History. Her studies are focused on Latin America, specifically regarding human rights and democratic development & backsliding. She currently works as a Research Assistant for Dr. Pamela Starr and has previously interned at the U.S. Department of State and the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Sinan Kircova (he/him)

    Sinan Kircova is a fourth-year PhD candidate in Political Science and International Relations specializing in comparative politics and methodology. His ongoing projects center around authoritarian regimes and the confluence of religion and politics. His regional focus is the Middle East, with special emphasis on the politics of Turkey and Israel. Before starting his PhD, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Bogazici University and his master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

  • Saran Uthayakumar (they/them)

    Saran Uthayakumar is a second-year PhD student in the Political Science and International Relations department. Their main area of interest in political science is post-conflict reconciliation among diasporas, and they study the Cambodian and Sri Lankan Tamil (Eelam) diasporas specifically. In the future, they hope to develop this showcase paper as a part of their comparative politics dissertation, and they will be presenting this research at the upcoming conference of the Association for Asian American Studies.