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Recent Graduates

Simonas Cepenas

MA 2015

Simonas Cepenas

B.S. in Economics - ISM University of Management and Economics - Vilnius, Lithuania
BBA - BI Norwegian Business School - Oslo, Norway

My background of having lived through the enormous political and economic transformations that have occurred in Eastern Europe during the past twenty years has sparked in me a strong interest in the interplay of economics, politics and other spheres of human activity. I’d like to contribute to the spread of positivistic, formal-modeling-based approach to the study of politics and economics.
My research interests are Comparative Politics, Post Communist Transitions, Central-Eastern European Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, Game Theory, Quantitative Methods.


Diep Duong

PhD 2017

Diep Duong

Diep also holds a B.A. in international relations from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, and a Master in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her research interests focus on civic engagement, local budgeting and finance, and sub-national governance. In her leisure time, she likes photography and traveling.


Vladislava Petrova

PhD 2016

Vladislava Petrova

B.A.- College of the Ozarks, Missouri, USA

M.A.- Missouri State University, Missouri, USA

M.B.- Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Interested broadly in international relations and comparative politics. Special interests in international organizations, European politics, Eastern and Central European politics, and networks.

Dissertation topic: “Helping Others or Helping Oneself? NGO Coordination and its Consequences.


Chase Riddle

MA 2015

Chase Riddle

Chase Riddle holds bachelor’s degrees in both Sociology (May 2013) and Political Science (May 2014) from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  He is currently obtaining his master’s degree in Political Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with an emphasis on Political Theory and Comparative Politics.  His research is focused on democratization efforts in ethnically diverse regions with specific focus on Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa and is expected to complete this degree in 2015.  He is a Graduate Assistant in the Political Science department and has worked with numerous professors such as Dr. Roundy Hildreth researching Youth Civic Engagement and Dr. Scott McClurg as his Teaching Assistant for POLS500A.  After completing his Masters degree, he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Political Science with the same emphasis on theory and comparative politics.  With this doctoral degree he aims to work for the U.S State Department as well as be a college professor.


Robert Velez

PhD 2017

Robert Velez

A.A.S. - Radio & Television Broadcasting - Brown Institute - Minneapolis, MN 1996

BA - Social Science - Metropolitan State University - 2009

Exam fields: American Politics, Public Administration

Bob is completing work on his dissertation titled "When Church Becomes State: Clergy as Political Candidate".  This project is the first comprehensive examination of members of the clergy who run for political office.

Bob has served in the US Navy and worked in both the public and private sectors.  His diverse experience informs his multiple research interests: Social movements, religion and politics, politics and media, urban politics, and public policy analysis.


Jakub Wondreys

MA 2015

Jakub Wondreys

Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy (2009-2013) - BA in Political Science and International Relations.

Research interests are mostly in the fields of International Relations and Comparative Poltics, especially in Ethnicity and Conflict. Concentrated on the areas of the Horn of Africa (Ethiopian-Eritrean War), former Yugoslavia (question of Kosovo), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (former Soviet Union countries).