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Congratulations to the Fall 2023 Phi Beta Kappa Inductees

In the Fall 2023 semester, three International Relations students were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Alpha Society. The Alpha Chapter of Virginia was founded in 1776 and is the nation’s oldest and largest academic honor society. The International Relations Program recognizes Aleksandr KuzmenchukAlex Park, Alyson Reynolds, and Sarah Wozniak. These students are to be commended for their outstanding academic achievements and unique contributions to their community.

Aleksandr Kuzmenchuk '24 is an International Relations major with a minor in Data Science.  His special interests include foreign mis- and disinformation, political behavior, public sector innovation, and conflict prevention.  Also, as half-Belarusian and half-Indian, he has special interests in the politics of both regions.  Two classes have made the most impression on Alek. "International Security" with Professor Dennis Smith (Government & IR)  sparked an interest in implicit security threats, which has informed his internship and work experience, including with the U.S. Department of State.  "South Asian Politics" with Professor Rani Mullen (Government, IR, & AMES) enriched Alek's academic and personal interests in India, and helped him navigate living abroad while pursuing a Critical Language Scholarship for Hindi.  In addition to writing for and being Editor-in-Chief of The Monitor: Journal of International Studies, Alek researches India with Professor Mullen and Russian intervention in Central Asia with the geoParsing team at geoLab.  He also is active in the Russian Department on campus.

Alex Park ’24 is a double major in International Relations and Asian & Pacific Islander American (APIA) Studies. Park’s research interests include human rights, global migration and immigration, East and Southeast Asian politics and culture, multiracial identity, and personal histories.  During her time at W & M, she worked with the AidData Tracking Underreported Financial Flows team as a Senior Research Assistant, acted as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Smith's International Security class, and interned with the Philippines' Department of Education as a 2023 Freeman Fellow. Currently, Park is conducting an honors thesis on Asian biracial identity construction and change among W & M students.  She also works as a researcher on the Asia Pacific Middle Eastern Project and the K-12 Asian American Student Education (KAASE) Initiative. Park recognizes Professor Francis Tanglao-Aguas (Africana Studies), Professor Deenesh Sohoni (Sociology), and Professor Dennis Smith (Government) for guiding her interests in International Relations and APIA and giving her the space to explore unique and creative research opportunities. Park also credits her coursework in "APIA 205: Intro to APIA" with Professor Tanglao-Aguas and "CHIN 150: Revolution in Life" with Professor Wilcox for shaping her interests in transnational studies and Asian American issues. 

James Monroe Scholar and Honors Fellow, Alyson Reynolds ’24 is a senior studying International Relations and Latin American Studies. Reynolds research interests include migration, human rights, and transitional justice. She credits her COLL 150, “Guatemala: 20th-Century Visions” with Professor Betsy Konefal (History), as the course that shaped her trajectory at W & M. 

 Sarah Wozniak’s ’24 research interests focus on foreign disinformation and media influence, South Asian politics, and international development. Professor Zutshi’s (History) course, “Nation Gender and Race in South Asia” made an impression on Wozniak and influenced her future studies. Currently, Wozniak is working with DisinfoLab, and is a member of its’ executive board. She published two pieces with the lab: a large report on disinformation resilience in Eastern Europe and an op-ed on Chinese disinformation in Italy. While serving as Director of Public Relations for The Monitor Journal of International Studies, Wozniak published a piece on Nepal foreign aid. Lastly, Wozniak is a research assistant with AidData working on an economics report on perceptions of Chinese aid and media freedom in developing countries. As an AidData summer research fellow in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wozniak interviewed policy experts in the country on hydropower dam development and foreign investment. Her findings were later published in a formal report.