I’m a PhD student in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. I study the economic and media dimensions of China’s growing influence and reactions to them by states and individuals. A China scholar by training and a mathematician at heart, my research agenda combines field interviews, archival materials, and case studies with machine learning, text analysis, and surveys.
A native of Michigan, I grew up traversing the Great Lakes. Since then, I have moved on to bigger adventures. Prior to grad school, I trekked across the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies, American Southwest and Northeast, and mainland China. My goal is to one day visit all 56 US national parks.
PhD in Government and Politics (in Progress)
University of Maryland
Academic Year Program
International Chinese Language Program, National Taiwan University
BA in International Relations, 2015
Certificate in Advanced Studies of Chinese Language, 2014
Working with Prof. Kathleen Cunningham
Empirically, I seek to understand the different instruments China wields to influence other countries’ domestic and foreign policies. Specifically, my work explores the conditions under which exposure to China’s economic instruments such as foreign aid and investment or media propaganda drive people to see China more positively (or negatively).
Theoretically, I am inspired by models of bounded rationality whereby individuals can simultaneously hold incongruent beliefs; respond to environmental triggers such as frames, priming, and cues; and are susceptible to myriad cognitive biases. Much of my past and current work situates these micro-level mechanisms in the context of international relations.
Methodologically, I believe the correct, and best, approach to causal inference depends on the question and context. As a result, I strive to constantly learn new research methods and develop novel techniques when necessary. Knowledge advances as our collective toolkit grows. I therefore maintain open source standards for all my work.
I develop a flexible, non-parametric model that allows researchers to combine multi-modal data, such as speeches and votes, and extract ideal points along as many dimensions as are stably present and apply the model to United Nations Voting, Speech, and Period Review Data.
Across the globe, states vary greatly in their willingness to accommodate China’s interests. How can we explain this variation?
One facet of China’s foreign economic activities at the center of scholarly and policy debates is its foreign aid practices. Does Chinese aid bolster or tarnish China’s image?