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Political science PhD student receives annual Stephen G. Walker fellowship

Weining Ai

April 01, 2021

Weining Ai was awarded the annual Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Fellowship from the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University for the 2020–21 academic year.

The fund for this award was established by former School of Politics and Global Studies students in honor of Emeritus Professor Stephen Walker, who was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science from 1969 until his retirement in 2003. It is intended to support students studying international relations and foreign policy in particular.

“I’m so pleased Weining Ai has been chosen for the Walker Award this year,” said Ai's adviser, ASU Professor Cameron Thies. “His research is theoretically and empirically rich, and it spans foreign policy analysis and international relations. This is very much in keeping with the scholarship of the award’s namesake.”

Ai is a fourth year PhD candidate at ASU within the School of Politics and Global Studies studying international relations and foreign policy.

“I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the donors who made this fantastic funding possible,” Ai said. “With their gracious support and exemplary work, I will be more confident in pursuing more possibilities in an academic career. In particular, I am considerably grateful for the supportive and brilliant mentorship from my adviser, Professor Cameron G. Thies.”

Ai shared with ASU News more about his recent research and the impact of the Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Fellowship:

Question: What is the current research project you are working on?

Answer: Currently I am doing my dissertation project that investigates the efficacy of coercion in international trade and conflict. I am applying social network concepts and inferential network analysis to analyze how the embeddedness of states in international trade and security networks influences their behaviors in coercion. In addition to the dissertation project, I am also working on topics such as state socialization, external support for civil conflict and international cooperation. The Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Fellowship will surely support my progress in the dissertation research and in the PhD program by offering me more opportunities to learn new tools and insights and collect new evidence useful for exploring questions related to these topics.

Q: What does it mean to you to be chosen for this award?

A: I am deeply honored and humbled to be chosen as a recipient of the Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Fellowship. Professor Walker’s work on foreign policy analysis has always inspired my research interest in applying role theory to explaining puzzles in foreign policy. His research and his students’ work on foreign policy opens a world of possibilities for me to think about foreign policy analysis and international relations. Being awarded this fellowship in honor of Professor Walker is thus extremely meaningful to me. This will continue encouraging me to proceed in the path that I am taking in researching foreign policy and international relations.

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