Security Studies Students Impress at CENTCOM

Several students and faculty from the UCF Security Studies Ph.D. program visited the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa to present their research on August 11, 2016.

CENTCOM personnel expressed interest in the students’ research, providing positive feedback and discussing collaboration on future events. UCF security studies doctoral student Chelsea Faherty works full time at CENTCOM and organized the collaboration between her professional and academic colleagues.

Doctoral candidate Gary Smith described his work on the psychological traits of political leaders, which is based on a computerized analysis of large amounts of speeches from political leaders. These traits help explain the leaders’ foreign policy decisions.

Doctoral candidate Rebecca Schiel presented her research that analyzes why some democracies are more prone to experience a coup d’etat than others. Her work furthers the understanding of democratic stability and has important implications for foreign policy and foreign aid.

Ph.D. student Clayton Besaw discussed his research on terrorism and violent extremism, which provides new insights into the level of violence exercised by extremist groups.

In addition to the doctoral candidates, Güneş Murat Tezcür, Ph.D., the Jalal Talabani Endowed Chair of Kurdish Political Studies in the Department of Political Science, presented his research on why individuals join insurgencies. His research is based on extensive field work and data from Kurdish insurgents.

Several other Political Science faculty members joined the presenters at the event, which was attended by CENTCOM and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) personnel. The UCF Political Science Department and Security Studies doctoral program hope to continue collaborating with both CENTCOM and SOCOM with workshops in the future.

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