Lab Members

Below is a partial list of current and past members of the Lab.  We meet weekly during the academic year.

Current Members

Eitan Paul is a joint PhD candidate in Public Policy and Political Science and a Research Scholar at the Ford School’s International Policy Center. He studies the effects of social accountability initiatives on the quality of democracy, human rights, and governance in Southeast Asia. Eitan previously worked on issues related to electoral reform, civil society strengthening, and legislative accountability at The Asia Foundation and the National Democratic Institute in Timor-Leste and Cambodia. He received a B.S. in Foreign Service with honors in the International Politics major from Georgetown University in 2012 and an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy with concentrations in Comparative Politics and International Negotiation & Conflict Resolution from Tufts University in 2016.

Htet Thiha Zaw is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Michigan. His research interests lie in state building, institutional choice, and distributive politics. He is interested in how the provision of public goods, particularly education, interacts with state development, decentralization, and political behavior, which a regional focus in Southeast Asia. Before coming to Michigan, he contributed to research projects on education policy in Syria, Iraq, Indonesia, and Myanmar. He holds a BSc in Global Economics and Finance from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. You can find his webpage here.

Megan Ryan is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include ethnic politics, civil military relations, and political accountability in developing democracies. She has a methodological interest in field experiments and a regional focus on Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia and Myanmar. Before coming to Michigan, Megan completed a master’s degree in Southeast Asian Studies and worked on a variety of research projects at the intersection of conflict and development with the Asia Foundation and as a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia. As a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. State Department from 2014 – 2016, she provided conflict analysis and policy recommendations on U.S. foreign policy on Myanmar. She speaks Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian.

Peter Carroll is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan. His research is in the area of the political economy of development with a focus on distributive politics and mobile phone technology in Africa. He has worked as a researcher for Innovations for Poverty Action-Tanzania, the William and Mary Center for African Development, AidData, and the Brigham Young University Political Economy and Development Lab. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from BYU.

Hilary Izatt is a PhD student in Political Science and graduate fellow at the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies. Her research interests focus on the study of electoral politics and electoral manipulation in authoritarian and competitive authoritarian regimes, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. She is particularly interested in how autocrats design electoral institutions to create uneven playing fields, including through the strategic use of gerrymandering and other forms of redistricting. Hilary holds a BA in Political Science from Brigham Young University, an MA in Korean Studies from SOAS and an MA in Political Science from Georgetown University. Prior to her studies at Michigan, Hilary was a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at SUNY Binghamton, where she taught undergraduate courses on comparative politics, authoritarianism, Asian politics, and post-conflict recovery.


Past Members

Kiki Bayen is a senior in the University of Michigan Honors College planning to double major in Political Science and Data Science. Kiki has interned for U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and U.S. Senator Gary Peters, working mainly in constituent services and outreach. She has also done research in the University of Michigan Organizational Studies Department on the compositional elements of protest groups and grassroots movements. Kiki hopes to expand her knowledge of citizen involvement internationally, and study civic engagement in other countries.

Fiona Shen-Bayh was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies.  She is now an assistant professor at William and Mary.  Her research interests include authoritarian courts and state repression in developing countries with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and published in World Politics. She earned her PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and her BA in Economics from Vassar College.

Jonathan George has now graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, studying Political Science and Biomolecular Science. In the future, he plans on attending law school and hopes to one day become a federal judge. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys playing the piano and visiting the local farmers markets.




Julia Maynard is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include party politics, voting behavior, and electoral systems. She has a regional focus on Europe, and she is interested party competition between mainstream and niche parties as well as how voters perceive parties. In the summer of 2016, she conducted fieldwork with party officials in France and Germany with party officials. She has received additional training through EITM at the University of Mannheim and through a methods course at the University of Essex. Before coming to Michigan, she received a BA in Political Science and French Studies from the University of Portland in 2015 and a MA in Political Science from McGill University in 2017.  Website Address: 

Brandon Pope is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan studying Political Science. He is interested in public policy, more specifically in the use of quantitative methods in informing and determining policy outcomes.




Rebecca Savelsberg is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Michigan. She is interested in causes and deterrents of violence, peacebuilding in post-conflict environments, and the long term impact of violence on political processes. Her methodological areas of interest include causal inference and field experiments. Before coming to Michigan, Rebecca spent time in Morocco and Benin researching and working in development aid, as well as teaching English in Turkey as a Fulbright scholar. She received a B.A. in International Relations from NYU in 2014. You can reach her at


 Paul Atwell is a joint PhD student in Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a certificate in African Studies. At Michigan, Paul is researching themes in comparative political behavior and participation, political geography, armed conflict, and development policy in sub-Saharan Africa. He has previously participated in a number of research projects and policy evaluations related to democratic and conflict outcomes in Africa and Latin America while working at the University of Navarra. He is a Roy Pierce Scholar with the Center for Political Studies (2018) and Policy Research Scholar with the International Policy Center (2018-2019). email & website.