Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Research Grant Recipients

Research Grant Recipients

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy has supported the work of more than 50 faculty and graduate students in the College of the Liberal Arts since 2019:

2024 Grant recipients

  • Anthony Albanese, Sociology Ph.D. student, for “When the Leader Falls: Invincibility and Charisma as Interpreted by the Far Right”
  • Ugyan Choedup, Post Doctoral Teaching Fellow of History, for “Colonial Genealogies of Tibetan Democracy in Exile”
  • Elaine Hui, Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Asian Studies, for ““Impact of Chinese Multinational Corporations in the U.S. on Industrial Democracy”
  • Kayla M. Kemp, Sociology and Criminology Ph.D. student, for “Segregation Academies as Potential Sources of Social Polarization”
  • Jacob Lee, Associate Professor of History, for “The Laws of Nations: Legal Jurisdiction and the Struggle for Sovereignty in Indian Territory”
  • Valerie Li, Political Science Ph.D. student, for “Drivers Of “Connective Actions: An Experimental Study of The Determinants of Protest Spillovers in Authoritarian Contexts”
  • Tommaso M. Milani, George C. and Jane G. Greer Professor of Applied Linguistics, Jewish Studies, African Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, for “Political Polarization in Online Discourse about Israel/Palestine on U.S. College Campuses”
  • Vineeta Yadav, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Bumba Mukherjee, Professor of Political Science, for “Female Leaders, Conflict-Affected Rural Zones, and Civic Engagement: Evidence from Field Experiments”
  • Muyun Zhou, Comparative Literature and Asian Studies Ph.D. student, for “Circulatory Entanglement: An Interethnic Genealogy of the Baodiao Movement”


  • Jamie Henton, History Ph.D. student, for “Reclaiming the Sacred Heart: Choctaw Spaces and Places in the Segregated South, 1945-1970”
  • Jake Nabel, Tombros Early Career Professor of Classical Studies and Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies for “Democracy without Liberalism: Paradigms of Collective Self-Government from the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East”
  • Nitheesha Nakka, Political Science Ph.D. student, for “Race, Gender, and Digital Politics: Examining Subnational Political Elites on Twitter”
  •  Flora Oswald, Psychology Ph.D. student, for “A Visual Lens on Protest Depiction.”
  • James Piazza, Liberal Arts Professor of Political Science, for “Misogyny, anti-Democratic Attitudes, and Tolerance of Political Violence”
  • Dorothea Roumpi, LER Alumni Endowed Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management, for “Diffusion of Organizational Transgender-Friendliness Through an Interlocking Directory Network: The Role of Corporate Elite’s Political Ideology”
  • Daniel L. Tavana, Assistant Professor of Political Science, for The Kuwait National Election Study
  • Christopher Thrasher, History Ph.D. student, for “Against the American Confederacy: the American Revolution and the Native South”


  • Daryl Cameron, Associate Professor of Psychology, for “Empathic Choices, Democratic Norms, and Moral Responsibility”
  • Gary Fong, Political Science Ph.D. student, for “Do Voters Perceive Politicians as Authoritarians?”
  • Edward P. Green, history Ph.D. student, for “Nation Building and the Development of Interdependent Sovereignty in the Choctaw Nation, 1700-1920”
  • Elizabeth Kadetsky, Associate Professor of English, for “The Tanesar Mothers: Ethics, Global Voices, and Museums”
  • Sara Liao, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies, for “Contentious Politics: Digital Media and Transnational Feminist Activism”
  • Arif Memovic, Political Science Ph.D. student, for “Understanding How Individual Level Attributes of Those Committing Political Violence Affect Americans Attitudes Regarding Punishment”
  • AnneMarie Mingo, Assistant Professor of African American studies, for “Foundations for Political Freedom: Black Women’s Political Organizing in the Southern United States”
  • Fernando Ismael Quiñones Valdivia, Communication Arts and Sciences Ph.D. student, for “Undocumented Time: Rhetorics of a Colonial Moment”
  • Dara Walker, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, for “High School Rebels: Black Power, Education, and Youth Politics in the Motor City, 1966–1973”
  • Wayne Wapeemukwa, Philosophy Ph.D. student, for “Partisans of the Soil: Land, Race, Capital, and Indigenous Dispossession, 1870–1920”
  • Christopher Zorn, Professor of Political Science, for “Public Defenders in Pennsylvania: Resources, Results, and Ramifications”


  • Austin Gaffin, Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Ph.D. Student, for “Homophilia as Filiation: The Then and There of Democratic Inclusion in Postwar France”
  • Simon F. Haeder, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, for “Politics and Medicare Advantage: How Privatizing Medicare Affects Public Opinion Among America’s Seniors”
  • Tom Hogan, Professor of Practice, School of Labor and Employment Relations, for “Virtual Transformational Leadership Development Experience”
  • Jia Li, Political Science Ph.D. student, for “Mark Dictators’ Calendars: Election Schedule sand Political Participation in Autocracies”
  • Catherine Mendel, Anthropology Ph.D. student, for “Unseen Moral Ecologies and Conservation: How Inclusion in Natural Spaces Impacts Engagement”
  • Bumba Mukherjee, Professor of Political Science, for “Party Systems, Financial Crisis and Right-Wing Authoritarian Populists in Developing Country Democracies”
  • James Piazza, Liberal Arts Professor of Political Science, for “Elite Incivility, Political Polarization, Trust in Political Institutions and Support for Political Violence in Democracies”
  • Eric Silver, Professor of Sociology and Criminology, for “Public Sphere Polarization: A Focus on Moral Intuitions, Political Ideology, Systemic Racism Beliefs, and Christian Nationalism”
  • Pamela VanHaitsma, Assistant Professor Communication Arts and Sciences and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, for “The Erotic as Rhetorical Power for Civic Engagement: Teaching, Speaking, and Writing by Romantic Friends, 1848–1922”