I am a fifth year Ph.D. student of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis. I study international relations (conflict) and political methodology. Using machine learning, text analysis, and spatial analysis, I seek to better understand the strategy of violent groups in executing attacks and pursuing broader impact.
My dissertation, How Extreme Violent Groups Win Hearts and Minds, examines the rise of global Jihadist movements and pays particular attention to Jihadist groups’ media rhetorical strategy. How were Jihadist groups, like ISIS, able to quickly replenish themselves? Why do regional Islamic groups, like al-Shabaab, extensively talk about the countries with whom they never directly interact? To answer these questions, I apply Text-As-Data methods and Geographic Information System (GIS) related techniques to incorporate the information from both the groups’ words and their actions. Consequently, I have also digitized a database of periodicals from 50 Jihadist groups and 27 unofficial Jihadist-minded organizations to provide the data necessary to conduct these analyses.
My other projects broadly examine the causes of civil conflict and transnational terrorism. Methodologically, I build semi-supervised and unsupervised learning agendas to validate my customized measures. Such approaches can be valuable for others as well as they seek to validate their own new constructs. I also put forward modeling strategies that more closely approximate phenomena under study.
I hold a M.A. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, a B.A. in international Politics and a B.A. in Journalism & Communication (with honors) from Tsinghua University. I recently won the Best Paper in International Relations Award, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award for the best paper presented at the 2019 MPSA Conference, and the Best Poster Award (Application) at the PolMeth XXXVII Summer Meeting. My work has been published, or conditionally accepted in Political Analysis and twice in the Journal of Conflict Resolution.