Profiles of Current PhD Students

Eberley N. Adams

Numerous areas of research include: all areas and aspects of law, public policy, public administration, and American government. I am very motivated, eager to learn new things, and enjoy working with others.

Matthew Arp

Matthew is a PhD student in the department of Political Science. His research agenda is focused on bridging the divide between international relations and political theory, particularly the relationship between great power conflict and the establishment of international norms.  In addition, he has several years experience collecting and organizing large-N data sets.

Ermira Babamusta

Ermira Babamusta will receive her PhD in Political Science. Her dissertation examines the effect of international norms in human rights and rule of law in Kosovo. She has completed two M.A. degrees, two advanced programs in UN Diplomacy from LIU and National Security & Intelligence Studies from Harvard University. Her work experience includes the UN, US Congress and the Obama administration. She is the recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanitarian Award by US Congress.

L. Amber Brugnoli, M.S., M.A., J.D.

Amber is an alum of the WVU College of Law and is licensed to practice before the US Supreme Court.  In addition to her position at WVU, Amber is a JAG Corps reservist in the Air Force Inspector General's Office.  Her research focuses on post-conflict resolution and nation-building.

Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick currently studies International Politics as a PhD student at West Virginia University, and previously completed a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, a Masters in International Politics from City University London, and a Masters in Political Science from West Virginia University.  His areas of focus are International Political Economy and Comparative Political Economy.  Brian’s current research focuses on inequality, trade policy, and regional trading agreements.

Lindsay Jouben

Lindsay’s dissertation considers Microfinance in Latin America. It focuses on how local social and political conditions impact microfinance programs’ effectiveness. Her research areas of interest are gender and politics, comparative politics, and international relations. She is a member of Phi Sigma Alpha and Phi Alpha Theta. Currently, she works as a GRA for the WVU Advance Program.

David King

Dave has earned his MA from WVU and is a third year PhD student focused mainly on the fields of American politics and public policy. Current projects focus on income inequality, Congress and the bureaucracy, women and gender studies, and judicial politics. He also holds a JD with a concentration in intellectual property from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and practiced law for three years in California before beginning his PhD studies.

Vaida Lilionyte-Manthos

Vaida Lilionyte-Manthos is a doctoral candidate with interests in environment, energy, and social policies in the US and abroad. In her dissertation she focuses on policy approaches to unconventional shale gas extraction in the EU and new EU member states. Vaida lives in Charles Town, WV where she and her husband operate an environmental research and communications consultancy.

Coty Martin

Coty Martin studies comparative politics and international relations at WVU, having previously completed Bachelors (The Ohio State University) and Masters (East Carolina University) programs in International Studies with a focus on Security Studies. Coty is interested in Sub-Saharan African politics, contentious politics in general, and issues associated with terrorism at the state and international levels in particular. Coty’s research currently focuses upon militant Islamist terrorist organizations in Africa including Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and al-Shabaab. 

Fadi Mugheirbi

Fadi earned his first Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Benghazi (Garyounis) in 2004 and his second Master’s degree from the Department of Political Science at West Virginia University in 2012. His doctoral dissertation is about the Rulemaking process and its outputs regarding the oil policy network, applying the Social Network Analysis and the Exponential Random Graph Models. He is currently interested in areas of American politics and policy, law and judicial politics, public policy, political economy, and oil policy.

Fadi's LinkedIn page can be found at:

Joel Nelson

Joel is a PhD candidate focusing on International Relations and more specifically International Political Economy. His main research interests center on international environmental and energy policy. His research explores the complex and increasingly important issues that arise from these topics.

Chris Payette

Having a background in the fields of American Politics and International Relations, Chris’ research tends to stem from a single normative question: 'What is the best form of government?'. Although this question is highly subjective, it manifests itself in his research by leading him to ask questions about mass public opinion and various domestic institutional arrangements, and how they create constraints and alter the behavior of political leaders

Kyle Rogers

Kyle’s major areas of study are international relations and comparative politics with a focus on African and Latin American politics. His current research focuses on protest behavior and other forms of contentious politics in Africa.

Lauren Santoro

Lauren received her BA in Political Science and Religious Studies from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in 2010. She completed her MA in Political Science at West Virginia University in 2013 and is currently an American politics and public policy PhD candidate. Her research interests include the participation of women in politics, particularly women serving in the US Congress, as well as representation, abortion policy, and education policy.

Ibtihal Shahoumi

Ibtihal holds a Bachelors degree in Law and Political Science from MVU / Rabat-Morocco, an MA in International Relations from the Benghazi University/ Libya, and an MA from WVU, where she is currently a PhD student. Her two main fields are Public Policy and Comparative Politics.  She is generally interested in the Arab Region and Middle East studies. Her more specific interests focus on Law and Politics, Contentious Politics and Social Movements, Human Rights and Transitional Justice. Other interests include Environmental Policy.