Hire a Rice Grad Student

Yuki Atsusaka

Areas of Specialization: Political Methodology, American Politics, and Race and Redistricting
Dissertation Advisor: Randy Stevenson

Yuki Atsusaka is a PhD candidate in political science and a joint MA student in statistics. He studies political methodology and American politics with a substantive focus on minority representation and electoral systems. Substantively, Yuki examines how electoral engineering affects political representation in the U.S. Methodologically, he develops statistical methods for analyzing rank data and mathematical tools based on quantitatively predictive logical models. Funded by New America's Election Reform Research Group, Yuki's dissertation (1) develops statistical methods for modeling partially ranked ballot data, (2) offers causal inference methods for analyzing rankings as generalized discrete outcomes, and (3) provides a formal theory of ethnic party competition under ranked-choice voting and first-past-the-post elections. As a solo instructor, Yuki has taught the Math Prefresher, Social Analysis and Simulation in R, and Ecological Inference. Additionally, he has been a teaching assistant in Causal Inference, Advanced Maximum Likelihood Estimation, and Machine Learning/Computational Social Science. His work has appeared and is forthcoming at the American Political Science Review and Political Analysis.

Jared Oestman

Areas of Specialization: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping
Dissertation Advisor: Brett Ashley Leeds

Jared is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at Rice University. His dissertation focuses on the supply side of international peacekeeping operations. He uses quantitative methods to examine which countries take on greater risks within UN peace operations by sending their service members to the frontlines of these missions, how troop-contributing countries respond to fatalities of their peacekeepers, and how support from major powers to UN missions affects the willingness of other countries to provide peacekeepers. Jared's other work includes co authored projects focusing on the militarization of U.S. foreign aid in Africa, public opinion towards different forms of U.S. involvement in humanitarian crises, the influence of leaders and domestic political institutions in shaping countries’ support for peacekeeping, and the role of peacekeepers in building trust post conflict. For two of these projects, Jared used experimental research designs, including both lab and survey experiments, to identify causal effects. Jared also completed training in teaching and learning at Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence where he will serve as a graduate fellow during the upcoming academic year. He has taught War and Politics and Introduction to International Relations in the Political Science Department at Rice and plans to teach a First-Year Writing Intensive Seminar through the Program in Writing and Communication at Rice starting in the fall which will focus on the topic of politics and global crises.

Liana Eustacia Reyes, J.D.

Areas of Specialization: International Relations, Comparative Politics, Law and Conflict
Dissertation Adviser: T. Clifton Morgan

Liana Eustacia Reyes is a PhD candidate whose research sits at the nexus of law and conflict and explores why civil wars are notoriously intractable, even when nonviolent dispute resolution mechanisms, centralized legal systems, and power-sharing agreements are ubiquitous. To this end, Liana’s dissertation examines rebel and incumbent law. She brings her background and expertise in law to bear on an understudied, yet crucial aspect of conflict negotiations: the compatibility of adversaries’ legal preferences. This underexplored dimension of conflict negotiation affects not only the success of incorporating rebels into a new post-conflict government, but more importantly, it demonstrates how incompatible legal preferences can lead adversaries back to the battlefield. Within her dissertation Liana develops a legal system incompatibility framework that focuses on rebel and incumbent legal preferences over particular issue domains (e.g., property rights, source of law, justice, and societal relations). This theoretical framework motivates her data collection effort, which is the first cross-national dyadic dataset of rebel and incumbent legal systems during armed conflict from 1945-2016. Liana is also collecting primary source data on the Salvadoran Civil War and peace process from archival repositories in El Salvador and Stanford to conduct an analytic narrative. To date, her research has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation and Rice University’s Social Sciences Research Institute. In addition to the aforementioned scholarship firmly rooted in the realm of law and its implications for conflict, Liana also has conducted and published research addressing dynamics of violence and non-state governance during civil wars. Liana has served as a TA in two intro courses and taught her own course on Civil Wars. Aside from courses and research, Liana is the Founder of The Minorities in Social Sciences at Rice University.

Kaitlin Senk

Areas of Specialization: Comparative Politics, Gender and Politics, Institutions
Dissertation Adviser: Leslie Schwindt-Bayer

Kaitlin Senk is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at Rice University. Her research focuses on the ways in which legislative institutions condition the political behavior of elected women. Specifically, her dissertation seeks to explain individual variation in women’s substantive representation among women legislators in Peru and Argentina. As women have increased their legislative presence globally, they have also increased their variation across several institutional dimensions. I argue that diversity across three institutional dimensions--constituent preferences and ideology, political career security, and positions of institutional power within the legislatures--should explain why some women will advocate on behalf of women’s interests in office while others are constrained from doing so. This project is funded by the Rice’s Doerr Institute and the Social Sciences Research Institute. In addition to this project, Kaitlin has published research exploring the effects of institutional marginalization of women’s legislative behavior using novel methodological techniques. Other work focuses on the effects of women’s representation on other political outcomes beyond the legislature. Kaitlin has experience serving as a TA for two sections of the Introduction to Comparative Politics course and has taught her own course on Gender and Politics. She has also served as a lab instructor for the Introduction to Quantitative Analysis course.