Political Science Doctoral Student Receives Annual Stephen G. Walker Fellowship

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April 1, 2021

Weining Ai was awarded the Stephen G. Walker Annual Graduate Support Scholarship from the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University for the 2020-2021 academic year.

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

Weining Ai
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“I am so happy that Weining Ai was chosen for the Walker Award this year,” said Ai’s advisor, Professor Cameron Thies of ASU. “His research is theoretically and empirically rich and spans foreign policy analysis and international relations. This is very much in line with the award namesake purse.

Ai is a fourth-year doctoral student at ASU in the School of Politics and Global Studies studying international relations and foreign policy.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the donors who made this fantastic funding possible,” Ai said. “With their kind support and exemplary work, I will be more confident to pursue more opportunities in an academic career. In particular, I am immensely grateful for the brilliant support and mentorship of my advisor, Professor Cameron G. Thies.

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

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

To respond: Currently, I am doing my thesis project which studies the effectiveness of coercion in international trade and conflict. I apply social network concepts and inferential network analysis to analyze how the integration of states into international trade and security networks influences their coercive behaviors. In addition to the thesis project, I also work on topics such as state socialization, external support for civil conflicts and international cooperation. The Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Fellowship will surely support my progress in dissertation research and in the doctoral program by providing me with more opportunities to learn new tools and ideas and to collect new useful evidence to explore questions related to these topics.

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

A: I am deeply honored and moved to have been selected as the recipient of the Stephen G. Walker Graduate Support Scholarship. Professor Walker’s work on foreign policy analysis has always inspired my research interest in applying role theory to explaining foreign policy puzzles. His research and the work of his students on foreign policy opens up a world of possibilities for me to think about foreign policy analysis and international relations. Receiving this scholarship in honor of Professor Walker is therefore extremely meaningful to me. This will continue to encourage me to continue on the path I have taken in research on foreign policy and international relations.


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