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Spotlight: Purdue PhD Program

BoilerUp!  Celebrating recent success and milestones 

Dr. Janel Jett is off to a great start in her career. She will join the University of Oregon next year as a tenure track assistant professor in political science, after holding an NCEC Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar fellowship with the New Carbon Economy Consortium in the Harry S. Truman School of Government and Public Affairs and the Social Cognition of Social Change Lab at the University of Missouri. She credits her success to the training she received, research funding support, participation in external programs including IQMR and ICPSR, and the many opportunities to collaborate with fellow graduate students and faculty in multiple departments at Purdue.

Dr. Jett and former graduate colleague Dr. Amber Lusvardi (PhD 2022) collaborated on a paper with Dr. Jenn Hoewe and Dr Eric Weimer in Purdue's Brian Lamb School of Communication that has been published in
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, “Selection, Trust, and the Effects of Cable News Consumption.” Dr. Jett notes that “Graduate school plays a crucial role in forging enduring collaborations…that will continue to shape my professional journey.”

My time at Purdue was intellectually stimulating and set me up for success in my academic career” Janel Jett (PhD 2022)


Dr. Amber Lusvardi (PhD 2022) Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, recently won the Best Dissertation Award from the APSA State Politics and Policy section for her dissertation The End of the Child Bride: Social Movements, Strategic Actions, and State Level Policymaking on Underaged Marriage.


Dr. Jasmin Jackson (PhD 2022), Assistant Professor at Texas Christian University, received the Western Political Science Association's Best Dissertation Award for her dissertation The Knowledge Within: Conceptualizing African American Political Knowledge.  Dr. Jackson's work also received the Purdue College of Liberal Art's Distinguished Dissertation Award.



As a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University, Sky Kunkel is busy! Sky has been awarded the 2023-24 Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Gender and Security Sector (GSS) Lab at Cornell University and is a United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Scholar. Sky’s research focuses on the intersection of security and non-state actors, particularly evaluating how, when, and where United Nations peacekeepers effectively protect civilians. Kunkel applies advanced methods of causal inference to uncover the effects of nonstate actors on violence.  They have presented work at the Political Methodology Meetings, ISA, Peace Science, and other conferences. Recently, Kunkel presented “Who Keeps the Peace? Gendered Effects in UN Peacekeeping” at a September 25, 2023, Political Science Research Workshop. This work suggests women peacekeepers are more important in maintaining peace than previously thought.


One PhD is not enough for Owura Kuffour! He is pursuing PhD’s in Political Science and Education. He is a regular winner of our department’s award given to graduate students who publish peer-reviewed research. He will keep the streak going as he and collaborators recently published “International Remittances and Political Participation in Ghana” in Scientific African. We love it when faculty and graduate students publish open access peer-reviewed work!

Kuffour also contributed to a collaborative publication in PS: Political Science & Politics. He discusses the ways that participating in a research lab as an undergraduate student prepared him for the next steps in his career. The article
“Undergraduate and Political Science Research: Insights from Research Assistants in a Minority-Serving Institution Lab” is open access and shares valuable perspectives!