Political Science Faculty

The Department of Political Science is delighted to welcome Nojang Khatami and Jacob Smith as our newest Assistant Professors. 

Nojang Khatami received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, and he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Social Research at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt before joining the department in the fall of 2023. Dr. Khatami’s research is primarily in the fields of democratic theory and comparative political thought, with a focus on the development of democratic principles such as agency and inclusion in both Western and non-Western societies. 
Jacob Smith received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He was an Assistant Research Professor in the Departments of Statistical Science and Political Science at Duke University and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Kenyon College. His research and teaching interests center on Congress, elections, and policymaking. He is also interested in the presidency, race and politics, research methods, and academic writing, with a focus on quantitative writing pedagogy. 

Recent Awards and Fellowships

Dr. Anjali Dayal was awarded the 2021 Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship from the United States Institute of Peace to conduct research on multilateral conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

Dr. Thomas De Luca was awarded the 2022-2023 Fulbright Scholar Award to Italy. He will teach a graduate course and conduct research at Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome in the spring of 2023.

Dr. Christina Greer was the 2018 McSilver Fellow in Residence at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University. The McSilver Institute Fellowship engages nationally recognized poverty and social justice scholars across disciplines to conduct research on the root causes of poverty and to explore policy solutions.

Dr. Boris Heersink and Dr. Jeffery A. Jenkins’s book, Republican Party Politics and the American South, 1865-1968 (Cambridge University Press, 2020), was awarded the 2021 J. David Greenstone Prize from the Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association and the 2021 V.O. Key Award from the Southern Political Science Association.

Dr. Zein Murib received the 2022 Cynthia Weber Award for Best Conference Paper annually awarded by the Sexuality & Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. In their paper, “The Not-So Silent B: Bisexuality, from a Cultural Movement to Political Identity and Praxis,” Dr. Murib demonstrates how early lesbian and gay activists viewed bisexuals as too radical, and thus a threat to the movement’s equal rights goals. Dr. Murib was also awarded the 2019 Betty Nesvold Women and Politics Award, for the paper, titled "Identities under Surveillance: Politics of Gender, Race, and Ability at the Airport and in Survey Research." The award was presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association.

Dr. Olena Nikolayenko participated in the 2021 Summer Research Laboratory Program hosted by the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center and the Slavic Reference Service at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received the Title VIII Research Award for her project, “Invisible Revolutionaries: Women’s Participation in the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine.” Her book project was also supported by the Simone Veil Fellowship, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (summer 2021) and the Petrach Ukrainian Studies Fellowship, George Washington University (spring 2022).