Hello! Sveiks! Здравствуйте! Привіт!
I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Human Trafficking Research Lab at Millikin University. I was the Williams Professor in Global Studies at Millikin University from 2017-2020. I am also a Regional Faculty Associate at the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I was previously an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Social Sciences at Clayton State University, a University System of Georgia institution from 2014-2016. I graduated from the University of Kansas (KU) in 2014 with a Ph.D. in Political Science. I also have a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2013) and a Master of Arts in Political Science (2011) from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in International Studies focusing on Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (2006) from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Arts in World Politics (2003) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
In 2007-2008, I was awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Latvia where I examined the exploitation of women, focusing on sex tourism and trafficking. I studied Russian for three years with a Foreign Language Area Scholarship (FLAS) from the US Department of Education Title VI Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Kansas. I also worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Department of Political Science from 2011-2012 and a Research Assistant for the Institute for Policy and Social Research 2010-2011 at the University of Kansas. I conducted 15 months of fieldwork for my dissertation in Ukraine, Russia, and Latvia as part of a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship from May 2012- August 2013. Then I was a Social Science Research Council Eurasia Program Dissertation Development Award Fellow from 2013-2014.
I speak Latvian, Russian, and I am learning Ukrainian. In my free time I like to read obscure East European authors, make East European crafts, travel to places most people have never heard of, and volunteer at local women's shelters. I am also an avid runner, recently started doing yoga, and enjoy Latvian folk dancing when the opportunity presents itself.