Security Studies Students Shine at Conference

The weekend of October 23-25th, 11 students and 4 faculty and staff members represented UCF at the International Studies Association (ISA) South annual conference in Tampa, Florida. Christopher Faulkner and Rebecca Schiel, two second-year Ph.D. security studies students, not only represented UCF at the conference, but they also took home the Jim Winkates Graduate Student Paper grand prize and runner-up awards.ISA conference group photo - resized 2

The ISA-South strives to create communities of scholars dedicated to international studies. They work to encourage and promote research in international studies, while maintaining relations with disciplinary societies and other professional and specialized organizations.

The Jim Winkates Graduate Student Paper Award, named in honor of Dr. Jim Winkates, judges graduates papers on mastery of the field, originality, logic, organization, good writing, and proper documentation.


20151024_131952 ChristopherChris Faulkner won the Grand Prize Jim Winkates Graduate Student Paper Award for his paper on “Money and Control: Rebel Groups and the Forcible Recruitment of Child Soldiers.” His paper investigates why certain groups choose to forcibly recruit children as soldiers and why other groups refrain from doing so.

This paper originated as a course paper for his Qualitative Methods course in the fall of 2014 with Thomas Dolan, Ph.D.  Faulkner states that “Dr. Dolan was instrumental in assisting me in developing a strong theoretical argument and drafting a quality research paper.”

Jonathan Powell, Ph.D., graciously read his paper multiple times, offering invaluable constructive feedback that was key for improving the paper. “I am very thankful for both Dr. Dolan and Dr. Powell for their guidance, encouragement, and dedication to student success.”



20151024_132000 Rebecca

Rebecca Schiel won runner-up (2nd place) for her paper, “Ungoverned Spaces: A Subnational Study of India.” Her paper examined ungoverned space from a public goods provision standpoint; specifically the provision of security through the presence of police.

Rebecca’s paper also began as a course project with Dr. Dolan. He helped her conceptualize the project and begin her research.

Rebecca states that “The data gathering process was incredibly time consuming, but ultimately afforded me the opportunity examine the issues of interest at a much lower, and thus more detailed, level.”

Barbara Kinsey, Ph.D., helped Rebecca through the methods portion of the paper, while Dr. Powell reviewed her paper several times and provided critical feedback “that no doubt advanced the work considerably.”



Chris and Rebecca’s excellent methodological skills and training were noted and mentioned by the presenters of the awards and others attending the conference.


The following graduate students represented UCF at the ISA-South annual conference:

  • Christopher Faulkner (Ph.D.); Rebecca Schiel (Ph.D.)
  • Jason Christensen (Ph.D.); Frank Fan (Ph.D.)
  • David Raugh (Ph.D.); Juliet Smith (Ph.D.)
  • Rafaella Lobo (MA student); Greg McDowall (MA graduate)
  • Caitlyn Myerson (undergraduate); William Dean (undergraduate)
  • Kyle Romano (undergraduate)

Along with the students, 4 faculty and staff members also attended the conference:

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