Profiles of Recent PhD Graduates

Our doctoral students have gone on to earn tenure track positions at college and universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia Wesleyan University, Longwood University, Monmouth University, and Wright State University. Our PhD and MA graduates have also been employed by government agencies and non-profit institutions such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the U.S. Department of State.  Profiles of a few of our recent PhD graduates can be found below:

J. Christopher Moss, Assistant Professor, SUNY Plattsburgh (WVU PhD, 2019)

  • Dr. Moss's dissertation examines drug courts from political science and public policy perspectives and considers the roles that drug courts can play in addressing the current opioid abuse epidemic.
Brian Fitzpatrick, Assistant Professor, West Liberty University (WVU PhD, 2018)
  • Dr. Fitzpatrick's research interests include economic inequality, international political economy, and representation.  He has taught State and Local Politics, American Government, and Introduction to Political Science at West Liberty.
Coty Martin, Visiting Assistant Professor, West Virginia Wesleyan (WVU PhD, 2018)
  • Dr. Martin has taught classes in research methods, race and public policy, terrorism, human rights, and political theory.  His research interests include terrorism and state capacity in the developing world, contentious politics, and gender and political violence.
John Mowchan, Director and Faculty Instructor of First Year Studies, The United States Army War College (WVU PhD, 2018)
  • Col. Mowchan's dissertation examines patterns of strategic alignment between former Soviet states and the United States and Russian Federation since the end of the Cold War.
Franchesca Nestor, Assistant Professor, Ohio Wesleyan University (WVU PhD, 2017)
  • Dr. Nestor's research interests focus on public opinion and racial and ethnic representation.  Her dissertation examined intersectional opinion and representation of low-income Black and Latino citizens in Congress.  She teaches courses including Equality and American Politics, The American Presidency, Public Policy, Methods, and Power and American Politics.  "America Competes at 5 Years: An Analysis of Research-Intensive Universities' RCR Training Plans," which Franchesca co-authored with Trisha Phillips, Gillian Beach, and Elizabeth Heitman, appeared in Science and Engineering Ethics   in 2017.  More information about Franchesca and her work can be found here.
Michael Thunberg, Assistant Professor, Norwich University (WVU PhD, 2017)
  • Dr. Thunberg’s scholarship focuses on the American presidency, the bureaucracy, and the courts. His research on the American president’s ability to unilaterally affect the policy process extends to the classroom, where he teaches The Presidency, Public Policy, and American Government. Michael's paper, "Crisis Management and Adaptation in Wartime Elections: Ukraine’s 2014 Snap Presidential and Parliamentary Elections,” co-authored with Erik Herron and Nazar Boyko, appeared in Electoral Studies in 2015.
Scott Harris, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina Upstate (WVU PhD, 2016)
  • Dr. Harris's research focuses on the criminal sentencing behavior of federal judges.  He also studies shifts in the partisan preferences of state electorates over time. He teaches American National Government, judicial politics courses, political theory courses, and Introduction to Pre-Law.  He recently published a research note -- "The Role and Importance of District Judges in Federal Sentencing" -- in the newsletter of the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.