2014 Graduate Scholar Award Recipients

For each conference, a small number of Graduate Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students who have an active academic interest in the conference area. The Award with its accompanying responsibilities provides a strong professional development opportunity for graduate students at this stage in their academic careers. The 2014 Graduate Scholar Awardees are listed below.

Adetoro Olaniyi Banwo

Adetoro grew up in Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria in the late 70’s, and graduated from Ogun State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Political Science. Sequel to his Graduation, he worked in various organizations in the private sector of Nigeria and his quest for knowledge spurred him to pursue and acquire a Masters of Art Degree from the prestigious University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. His desire for language and Art inspired him towards learning the Chinese Language and culture. He has attended several language trainings organised by the HANBAN [Office of Chinese Language Council International, P.R. China].

His quest and passion for Chinese Language and culture stimulated him in pursuing another Master program in Chinese Philosophy from the renowned Xiamen University. He is currently engaged as a Research and Doctoral Candidate in Chinese History from the same university. In addition, he is a Chinese Language Instructor with the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, a professional member of the Nigerian Institute of Management and a Certified Database Administrator.

Clayton Caroon

Clayton's research interests include political theory, comparative politics, political development, East Asian democratization, civil society in Taiwan and China, globalization, environmental politics, and multi-method research (including qualitative and site-intensive research methods).

Clayton is a Graduate Student in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara as well as a research assistant in the Center for Taiwan Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


ChunHui Chuang

ChunHui’s research interests include literature, film, and cultural (re)interpretation; film adaptation; modern and contemporary Chinese literature and cinema; (post)colonial theory and religious, gender, and cultural studies in East Asia. She is currently a Ph.D student at the University of California, Santa Barbara.



Liana Eustacia Reyes

Liana Eustacia Reyes, J.D., M.A., is a graduate student at New York University’s Department of Politics. She is completing a Master of Arts in International Affairs (2015) with particular emphasis on U.S. national security, international relations, and quantitative methodology. Her current projects are focused on the intersection between international political economy and security. Prior to New York University, Ms. Reyes earned a Juris Doctor specializing in international law (2011), and a Master of Arts in Global Governance specializing in international security (2013), both degrees from Florida International University.

Sarah Kassem

Sarrah Kassem is currently completing an MA degree in Political Science at the American University in Cairo. Her research is premised on the conception of moving beyond the dictated boundaries of the positivist epistemology and individual ontology of the political science discipline. She is interested in interrogating power relations as well as those of class, as these then allow for the deconstruction of discourse, race and gender relations.


Johanna Kostenzer

Johanna is an academic assistant at the department of International Health and Social Management at Management Center Innsbruck, Austria. She holds a master’s degree in International Health Care Management with exchange semesters at University of Oslo, Norway and College of Charleston, USA. Johanna is currently enrolled in a PhD program in political science/ international relations focusing her research on the issue of prenatal sex selection and the role of international organizations. She is a board member of the UN Women National Committee Austria.

Rajiv Ranjan

Rajiv Ranjan is a Senior Scholar in Political Science and Public Administration, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, China.  He has done his Ph D from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, on “Environmental Security in China: Role of State and Civil Society, 1994-2008”. As his M. Phil Dissertation, Mr. Ranjan has worked on “Water Security of China: Conflict and Co-operation in South and Southeast Asia”. Mr. Ranjan has specialized in international relations with China as his area of expertise. His area of interest covers Environmental Security and Climate change, Chinese Politics and Foreign policy. He has contributed several articles and book reviews in various journal and on-line publications.




Lieselot Verdonck

Lieselot Verdonck is a doctoral candidate at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium. She received a fellowship of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) in order to conduct research on litigation strategies for local communities who are exposed to health hazards caused by resource extraction in developing countries. She is also an affiliated researcher at the Law and Development Research Group of the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Lieselot received her Bachelor and Master’s degree in law from Ghent University (2010 and 2012). In 2013, she obtained her LL.M. degree in International Human Rights Law at Harvard University.


Ashley A. Yu

Ashley is a recent graduate from Concordia University, Irvine with an MA in International Studies and holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies with a concentration in Human Rights from the University of California, Berkeley. She currently continues her research in China while teaching English and culture courses at Hangzhou Dianzi University. Previously, Ms. Yu has facilitated courses on Burmese Politics and a live teleconference with Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi at UC Berkeley. With experience at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica in human security and peace building, she hopes to promote cross-cultural communication and higher human rights standards in Asia, especially her families’ home countries: China and Burma.


Jun Zhao

Jun Zhao graduated from Tianjin University in China in 1986,. She worked for several international companies including Tyco in marketing and project management. She went for graduate study at Nankai University and graduated in 2003 with master degree in International Finance.  By 2004 she joined Faculty of Arts at the University of Manitoba in Canada as a graduate student and graduated in 2006 with Master Degree in Economics. She started PhD progtsm in Economics at the University of Manitoba. In the same year she also started a carrier as a lecturer in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics at the International College of Manitoba.

Jun’s research activity focuses on international economic. She studied the issue of income convergence of the world, Latin America, East Asia and South East Asia. She published a research paper titled “Does Globalization have Inter-Regional Convergence Implications for South America?” in the Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3. Jun served as an editor for that issue of Global Studies Journal.

Ziqi Zhuang

Ziqi Zhuang graduated from Fort Hays State University in December, 2013, majoring in Organizational Communication. As a personal project, she developed a historical documentary film for the first railway in China, which started providing passenger and freight services at the dawn of twentieth century across the border between China and Vietnam. In 2011, Hays Daily in Hays, Kansas published one of her articles about the experience gained during a volunteer project for the homeless in Denver, Colorado, awarded an Honorable Mention in Kansas Professional Communicators Competition. She also gave a virtual presentation for the International Conference of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Prague, 2013.