Security Studies Students Honored

Security Studies Ph.D. candidate Rebecca Schiel won the grand prize in the Jim Winkates Graduate Student Paper Competition, awarded by the International Studies Association’s Southern region. Schiel’s paper, titled “The Conditionality of Vulnerability,” seeks to explain why recent years have seen an increasing number of military coup attempts target democratic regimes rather than non-democratic regimes.

Challenging prior literature that argues for a stabilizing effect of democratization, Schiel contends that democratization creates a number of challenges that poorer states are unable to overcome. Her analysis shows that democracies were significantly more likely than non-democracies to experience coups when at low levels of economic development. However, economic development provides a disproportionate benefit for democracies to stabilize. Schiel, a previous  runner up in the Jim Winkates competition in 2015, thanked Assistant Professor Jonathan Powell for comments on prior drafts of the paper.

Fellow Security Studies Ph.D. candidate Christopher Faulkner won runner-up honors for his paper “Following the Money? Considering the Effect of External State Sponsorship on Rebel Child Soldiering.”  Faulkner explores how foreign states’ domestic political institutions might impact rebels’ recruitment practices concerning child soldiers. This is the third straight year Faulkner has placed in the competition, having won first prize in 2015. He thanked his dissertation committee members Gunes TezcurJonathan Powell, and Thomas Dolan for useful comments they provided on earlier drafts of the paper.

This marked the third consecutive year in which UCF students took the top two places in the competition. Assistant Professor Jonathan Powell was the program director and local organizer of the ISA-South conference, which took place in Orlando on October 20-21 and was hosted by UCF. The conference was attended by over 150 scholars from the United States and abroad.

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