2019-2020 Undergraduate Research Fellows

Meet 2019-2020 Undergraduate Research Fellows!

Yuchen Dai

Yuchen Dai is currently a sophomore at the George Washington University majoring in International Affairs. Born and raised in China, Yuchen has been interested in East Asian history and regional issues. During the summer of 2018, she participated in the Summer Study Abroad Program organized by the GW Institute for Korean Studies, exploring Korea in the amazing two weeks. Later in the summer, Yuchen joined in the 6th Strait Talk Taipei Forum, serving as a representative and negotiator of Mainland China. She learned and practiced the Interactive Conflict Resolution methodology on the Taiwan Strait Conflict and assisted in drafting a model consensus document. Yuchen also interned as a research assistant at Chongyang Institute for the Financial Studies of the Renmin University of China. When she is not glued to a computer screen, Yuchen spends time cooking, learning foreign languages, and watching Olympic Curling.

Research Topic:
Korean History Textbook Controversy: How changes in Korea’s history textbook reflect the changing perception of national identity

Aaditya Divekar

Aaditya Divekar is a senior at the Elliott School, studying International Affairs with a double concentration in international politics and international economics. Part of the reason he is researching with GWIKS for the 2019-2020 academic year is to explore and discover how to enhance security and diplomacy between the United States and Korea. Another reason is that he simply loves the East Asia region: its culture, food, and history. From California, Aaditya loves the pace of D.C. politics (both international and domestic), and wants to pursue research in D.C. upon graduation. Looking forward, he would love to learn more about international laws like maritime law or immigration, and eventually apply for the Foreign Service or work for State.

Research Topic:
Security and Economic Outlook 2020-2030, including ROK-US relationship & denuclearization

Celine Mahne

Celine Mahne enjoys long walks on the beach, puppies and studying security politics of the Korean peninsula. With a major in International Affairs, concentrations in Security Policy and Asia and a minor in Korean she hopes to pursue a career in intelligence and analysis specific to the Koreas. She has previously interned with the MASY Group and the East-West Center and has an upcoming internship at the State Department. In addition she has participated in the Korea-America Student Conference in 2018 and studied at Yonsei University in Seoul this past spring.

Research Topic:
North Korea’s usage of methamphetamine and the effect on North Korea’s diplomatic relationship

Sarah Moon

Sarah Moon is a senior at the George Washington University, double majoring in Japanese and International Affairs with a concentration in Security Policy. Her primary area of interest involves U.S. foreign policy toward the Indo-Pacific region. Prior to becoming a GWIKS Undergraduate Research Fellow, Sarah interned with the U.S. Department of State, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the U.S. House of Representatives. She was also a Summer Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies in Tokyo, Japan. On campus, Sarah is an active musician, having participated in the university’s orchestra, wind ensemble, and chamber groups. She was the External Relations Chair of the GWU Korean Cultural Organization during the academic year of 2018-2019. After graduation, Sarah aspires to serve her country as a Foreign Service Officer. 

Research Topic:
Tokyo-Seoul alliance: Why the increased flow of culture and people-to-people exchanges have failed to improve bilateral political divisions

Mark Thomas-Patterson

Mark Thomas-Patterson is a sophomore in the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is currently majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in International Politics and Europe and Eurasian studies. His areas of interests include European and Eurasian politics as well as US political history. He is a member of the Honors College at the George Washington University. When not in class, he is part of the GWU International Affairs Society, as well as the GWU Model UN Team. He has previously researched and written on a wide variety of issues including the European far-right, peace building in Afghanistan, and the role of the Russian Navy in Diplomacy. Currently, he works as a Project Assistant at the International Institute of Peace, Democracy and Development, a non-profit organization focused on facilitating peace-building in Afghanistan. Previously, he has interned for the DC Office of Congressman William Keating of Massachusetts.

Research Topic:
How the Chicago Tribune, one of the preeminent conservative voices, viewed Korea in 1945-1953 concerning political ideologies

Douglas Robbins

Douglas Robbins is a sophomore in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in international Economics and minoring in Business Administration. He is specifically interested in Economic Development and East Asian Politics. Outside of the classroom, he works for AIESEC, and international NGO, is programming director of GW’s Hawai’i Club, and is a member of the Undergraduate Consulting Group. Doug is a quarter Korean, and has always been interested in the culture and food of his grandmother’s home country. He has visited Korea many times, and is excited to incorporate his own experiences into his research.

Research Topic:
Olympics held in South Korea in 1988 & 2018: Reasons, logistics, and outcomes of hosting the Olympics

Craig Jacob Roey

Craig Jacob Roey, or C.J., is a senior, majoring in International Affairs with a major concentration in Conflict and Conflict Resolution, and a minor in Political Science. Over the spring semester C.J. studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco where he interned for a political science think tank. This internship sparked C.J.’s interest in writing policy and research papers. Over the summer, C.J. travelled with the GW Institute for Korean Studies to Seoul, where he learned a great deal about Korean policy, culture, and history. He met bright scholars and researchers, and collected primary sources for his research paper. C.J. is excited to take what he has learned from his experience in South Korea and apply it to his research.

Research Topic:
Two Koreas’ relations in the Middle East and North Africa: From oil policies to involvement in the current Israel-Palestine conflicts

Shea Savage

Shea Savage is a senior from Burlington, Vermont. She is in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, with a major in Political Science and a double minor in History and Classical Studies. In addition to her time at the George Washington University, she has spent a semester studying abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Her main academic interest is in East Asian regional studies, particularly on the subjects of human rights and popular political participation in the Koreas.

Research Topic:
The historical arc of political protest and participation in South Korea through the lens of film

Joshua Sessa

Joshua Sessa is a senior from Dallas, Texas in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, studying History with a concentration in South Asia. As a Fellow with GWIKS, Josh is analyzing the development of South Korean water policy in the pre-modern era (1960-1979). He hopes to produce research explaining how the confluence of socio-economic minded government policies have produced a sustainable, secure future for South Korea. Furthermore, Josh believes water policy will be a critical field as we move deeper into the 21st century and hopes to continue analyzing its effects. After graduation, Josh hopes to continue working in history, utilizing the numerous resources that Washington D.C. offers.

Research Topic:
South Korean water policy as the world’s premier example

Jennifer Tse

Jennifer Tse is a sophomore in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at the George Washington University. She is currently majoring in Political Science and is thinking about minoring in Criminal Justice and Public Policy. Aside from being a part of the GWIKS Undergraduate Research Fellowship, she is also President of the GW Hawaii Club and an intern at the Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies. Growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jennifer was exposed to Korean culture at an early age by hanging out with many Korean-American friends that grew up alongside her. She had gained an appreciation for Korean culture, from their delicious food and fun festivities, which prompted further interest in Korean studies. 

Research Topic:
How the social, political, and economic developments of North Korea and South Korea have caused the Korean language to develop differently

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