Originally from Milwaukee, WI, I received my BA in International Studies and German from Baylor University in 2009. In 2011, I completed my MPP in International Relations and Economics from Pepperdine University. After spending a year working as a congressional aide in Washington DC, I entered the International Relations Ph.D. program at FIU in Fall 2012. My research interests include democratization, public diplomacy, Central and Eastern European politics, and the European Union. I have recently worked on projects involving the role of non-state actors in Poland's post-communist transition, the impacts of conditionality on EU accession in Eastern Europe, and the use of public diplomacy to alter international perceptions of post-communist societies.