History and political science departments’ news worth celebrating

Multiple University professors and doctoral candidates awarded for successes

History and political science departments’ news worth celebrating

Multiple University professors and doctoral candidates awarded for successes

Three University history professors earned grants or received awards, while three political science doctoral candidates plan to pursue tenure-track academic positions at other institutions.

History Professors

Assistant Professor of History Christopher Church was awarded the College of Liberal Art's Mousel-Feltner Award for Excellence in Research and/or Creative Activity. Assistant Professor of History Emily Hobson was awarded the Carol B. Germain Fellowship from Smith College. And, Assistant Professor of History Renata Keller was awarded a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"Seeing others in the department being recognized makes it feel nice to be in such an active community of researchers where we're doing workshops or exchanging ideas," Keller said. "This is a great place to find colleagues doing exciting work."

The summer stipend Keller received will allow her to visit Argentinian and Bolivian archives, researching more about the Cuban Missile Crisis's impact on Latin America. Once research concludes, Keller plans to write her second book. "Receiving this award is so exciting because it's a national-level award and the NEH has been a very long-standing supporter of the humanities," Keller said.

"The Cuban Missile Crisis is a really important event and it's interesting to find these moments where everyone in the world shared an event, but everybody also had different results and outcomes," Keller said. "I want to see the connection between how events in one place can affect people's lives in another place."

Doctoral candidates

Doctoral candidates Nataliia Kasianenko, Janicke Stramer-Smith and Chengli Wang will all be accepting tenure-track positions this fall. Kasianenko will join the California State University, Fresno faculty and Stramer-Smith will be joining Weber State in Utah. Wang is in discussions with universities both in the US and abroad.

All three candidates had the same advisor, Associate Professor of Political Science Robert Ostergard. Ostergard, also the director of graduate studies, marvels at the commitment of all three and looks forward to watching them succeed.

"What they are doing is like hitting the slot machine jackpot three times in-a-row," Ostergard said. "Having three people complete their dissertations in one semester is crazy because of the time dedicated to each of their works, and on top of that, the job market is over capacity with possible candidates, so having all three immediately moving onto tenure-track academic positions is something to be excited about."

Kasianenko's dissertation focuses on nationalism in Eastern Europe, Russia, and in her native country, Ukraine. Her position at California State University, Fresno focuses on comparative politics and international relations.

"I was hired at California State University, Fresno for the fall and it feels fantastic because the job market is so competitive," Kasianenko said. "I honestly have to thank the department for it because the faculty members make sure we are well prepared before we go out to the market and interview."

Stramer-Smith's dissertation focuses on the influence of the military and the labor movement on regime-change in North Africa. Stramer will hold an assistant professor position at Weber State.

Wang's dissertation focuses on how the Chinese government uses political rumors to control the people. He's currently weighing his options for the fall.

"The successes of these students are a testament to their outstanding research, commitment to teaching, global engagement as international scholars, and the excellent guidance they received from their advisor Robert Ostergard," Ian M. Hartshorn, assistant professor of political science, said.

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