Research

I study comparative politics, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe and Eurasia and a secondary interest in Latin America. My research interests include questions related to education, propaganda, and resistance in authoritarian regimes. This summer, I am conducting archival research in Chișinău, Moldova, to study how Soviet authorities used mass literacy campaigns to cultivate political loyalty. I am also working to digitize and analyze census data on literacy rates in Ukraine during the interwar period. Finally, I am running online surveys in collaboration with colleagues at Princeton and other universities to understand Russian public opinion regarding the war in Ukraine. My previous projects have focused on international aid in Belarus and Ukraine, and Soviet-Cuban bilateral cooperation initiatives.

In June 2021 I completed my MPhil dissertation in the Politics and International Studies department at the University of Cambridge. My project compared how differing political conditions in Belarus and Ukraine affected the provision of international aid to victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A summary of my findings was published on the website of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. The full dissertation is accessible here.

During 2019 and 2020, I conducted research on Soviet-Cuban educational exchange programs for my BA and MA degrees at Harvard University. I spent one month in Moscow and two months in Havana collecting hundreds of Soviet archival documents and conducting over 50 semi-structured interviews diplomats and graduates of Soviet universities. The thesis, titled “From the ‘Island of Freedom’ to the Iron Curtain: Rethinking the Role of Soft Power in Soviet-Cuban Educational Exchange Programs,” was awarded a summa grade and won several prizes, including the Hoopes Prize and the Hammond Prize for the best undergraduate thesis related to Spanish-speaking Latin America. In November 2020, I presented a paper based my research at the Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). An article that explores some of my findings from an historical point of view is forthcoming in a special edition of Cahiers du monde russe.

In another research project, I used qualitative interviews and archival documents to analyze Cuba’s reaction to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. I presented preliminary findings at the Taras Shevchenko Conference at Indiana University in March 2020 and the virtual convention of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) in August 2020. The paper won a graduate award at the ASCE convention.

My research has been featured on two podcasts. Feel free to listen here and here!