Stephen is a doctoral candidate focused on the political economy of human security. Both his teaching and his research focus on the economic causes and consequences of development and political violence. His dissertation offers a measure of development that provides a clearer conceptual understanding of outcomes across the developmental sub-dimensions of environmental sustainability, population health, human capital, and economic stability. Later chapters then use that measure to demonstrate the developmental consequences of IMF Structural Adjustment Programs, and improved respect for worker rights.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Stephen has traveled the world first as the son of an officer in the United States Air Force, and then as an adult fascinated by different cultures and experiences. One of his many goals in life is to visit every continent.
Stephen studied Political Science and International Relations at Oklahoma Christian University. After finishing his B.S. in 2010, he took an opportunity to pursue his Masters in International Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma. Once there, he refined his research interests in political economy and development, and also discovered his passion for teaching. He first became a teaching assistant and then an instructor of record for introductory political science classes. After completing his M.A. in 2012, he decided to pursue his doctorate in international relations, accepting admission to the University of Georgia.
Since starting the Ph.D. program in 2012, his research projects have ranged from institutional determinants of sovereign default, to the impact of respecting human rights on economic development, to measuring the generosity of welfare state policies across countries. His dissertation focuses on the measurement of development, specifically how better measures of development will lead to clearer policy evaluations, ultimately bettering the lives of people.
In addition to his research, Stephen is also passionate about teaching. He has served as an instructor for introductory classes to American Government, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Global Issues, as well as upper –division classes on Development, Human Rights, International Political Economy, and the Politics of International Trade and Finance. Stephen was nominated for the inaugural Department of International Affairs Teaching Award.
Stephen is also active in the graduate student community. To promote graduate student research, he co-founded and helped organize the Department of International Affairs writing workshop, where students receive feedback prior to submitting manuscripts to conferences or for publication. Additionally, Stephen shares pedagogical materials with younger graduate students teaching classes for the first time. He hopes to continue to expand his passion for education and research by becoming a professor after completing his dissertation.
My research focuses on the ways in which international institutions and domestic institutions interact to produce economic, environmental, health, and human capital developmental outcomes. I also have a strong interest in how scholars operationalize abstract concepts into measurable indicators. My dissertation, for example, is centered around creating a new measure of development that more directly speaks to the Sustainable Development Goals produced by the UN. An empirical chapter of my dissertation investigates the ways in which domestic institutions and IMF structural adjustment programs have different effects on those different types of developmental outcomes.