New Faculty Friday: Q&A with Ryan Powers

Ryan Powers received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017. Prior to starting at the University of Georgia, he was a Postdoctoral Associate with the Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. He specializes in international relations and comparative politics. This fall Powers is teaching Introduction to International Relations and the Graduate Pre-seminar in International Relations.

What attracted you to UGA?
RP: UGA and SPIA were attractive for a host of reasons, but the high caliber of the students and the exciting research being produced by faculty all across SPIA are among the most attractive features to me. Getting to work with such amazing students and colleagues in a town as great as Athens is a wonderful bonus as well.

Where did you grow up?
RP: I grew up in Virginia about an hour west of Washington, DC.

What are your research interests?
RP: Broadly, I am interested in how domestic politics affects international relations and vice versa. I study the conditions under which the public is willing to embrace economic openness and international cooperation more broadly.  I am also interested in the relationship between IR scholars and the policy community. With funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, my colleagues at the College of William and Mary and I are studying how policy makers consume social science research and how social science research is communicated to both the public and policy makers.

How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?
RP: Lately, I’ve had fun exploring the Athens area with my wife and son. I like to fly fish as well, so I am looking forward to exploring some of the trout streams in North Georgia.  

What is your favorite food?
RP: I am not sure that I have a favorite food, but I’ve been quite taken by the chips and pico at Cali and Tito’s since moving to Athens!

Please tell us one fun fact about you.
RP: I was born just outside of Atlanta. While my family moved away before I was old enough to remember, I can technically say this was a move “back” to Georgia.

What is one goal you have for yourself for the next year?
RP: I’d like to run a half marathon in the coming year.

Do you have any pets? If so, what kind(s)?
RP: I have a Jack Russell terrier named Maddie. She is a ball of energy.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
RP: Be able to see 5 or 10 minutes into the future. Just enough foresight to be useful!

What advice do you have for SPIA students?
RP: Get involved! Go to talks, join clubs, take advantage of all that university life has to offer. For undergrads with an eye towards graduate school, look for opportunities to assist faculty with their research. It will give you a better sense of what it is like to be an academic.