The CIS Team

The Center for International Studies includes a small central core staff and a faculty program director. Our programs provide financial, intellectual, and logistical support for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students who have an interest in international relations. The center also has established an advisory board of leading individuals and experts drawn from department of Political Science and International Relations.

Saori N. Katada, Director

Saori N. Katada is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California and served recently as vice president of the International Studies Association (April 2021–March 2022). Most recent her book Japan’s New Regional Reality: Geoeconomic Strategy in the Asia-Pacific was published by Columbia University Press in July 2020. She is also co-author of two recent books: The BRICS and Collective Financial Statecraft (Oxford University Press, 2017), and Taming Japan’s Deflation: The Debate over Unconventional Monetary Policy (Cornell University Press, 2018). She has her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Political Science) and her BA from Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo). Before joining USC, she served as a researcher at the World Bank in Washington DC, and as International Program officer at the UNDP in Mexico City.

Matt Stevens, Associate Director

Matt Stevens is the Associate Director of the Center for International Studies. In this role, he manages the center’s activities in support of the director’s strategic vision. Prior to joining CIS, he served as the senior managing editor at the USC Rossier School of Education, where he edited publications and served as the dean’s speechwriter. He has also worked as an editor for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; as production editor at Stanford University Press; and as managing editor at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, where he collaborated closely with the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. Matt earned a master’s degree in African history from UCLA and a doctorate in Educational leadership at USC Rossier.

Linda Kim, Senior Program Specialist

Linda Kim is the Senior Program Specialist of the Center for International Studies. Linda spearheads events and assists with funding support, communication endeavors, and business transactions. She helps to oversee our program for onboarding and assigning undergraduate research assistants to CIS-funded projects with faculty and PhD students. This program—informally called the CIS Institute—has grown to more than 50 undergrads per year, and Linda brings her expertise working in academic communities to enhance the center’s culture of research support. She has worked with faculty, PhD students and undergraduates at UC Irvine, and most recently at the USC Korean Studies Institute. She studied English as an undergraduate at UC Irvine. Linda is also a founding investor of a local social-enterprise that operates as a market, cafe and community space in South LA.

Andra Astorga, Program Assistant

Andra Astorga is the Program Assistant of the Center for International Studies. They provide administrative and logistical support for CIS events and initiatives such as the CIS Institute. They’ve honed their professional skills serving on a multitude of teams, such as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; Dr. Claradina Soto’s Tribal MAT research team under California’s Department of Health Care Services; and USC’s Center for Urban Education. Most recently, they provided expenditure and travel management services as a budget technician for USC Viterbi. They studied Health Promotion Disease Prevention and Anthropology as an undergraduate at USC.

CIS-Funded Research Assistants

Ewon Baik

Ewon Baik is a Teaching Assistant with POIR.

Bijean Ghafouri

Bijean Ghafouri is a Teaching Assistant with POIR.

Stephen Schick

Stephen Schick is a Research Assistant with POIR Professor Benjamin Graham.

Jose Urias Flores

Jose Urias Flores is a Research Assistant with POIR Professor Sally Pratt.

CIS Graduate Research Assistantships

Learn more about CIS Graduate Research Assistantship eligibility and application for funding here.




Contact Details

Contact Us

If you have  questions about funding, events, or programs, please email us at:

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Center for International Studies

University of Southern California
3454 Trousdale Parkway, CAS 101
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0155