Dissertation: Simulations as Lab Experiments: The US-China Trade War, Learning, and Complex Negotiation

A large part of my work at KU establishes the mutually-beneficial intersection between teaching and research. My dissertation highlights how we can use social science experiments in the classroom to study foreign policy and teach our students. Classrooms can frequently provide punctuated natural experiments: in my case, the COVID-19 pandemic invited innovative classroom techniques in both distanced and in-person learning environments. Participants (the students in a large introduction to international politics course) navigated a two-level bilateral US-China Trade War simulation in the classroom, wherein each participants was assigned (1) a country team (US or China) and (2) an interest group to represent (globalist, protectionist, and security). After conducting this experiment across three semesters, I find (1) student learning outcomes were higher for those exposed to simulations; (2) women (she/her) and men (he/his) have different determinants of negotiation success in domestic and international negotiations, and (3) security interests are over-represented in economic negotiations.

Active Research Projects

I am interested in how individuals in foreign policy -- Senators, leaders like Xi Jinping, and trade negotiators-- express preferences, make decisions, and how both structures and institutions (such as gender) inform these decisions. In real life, we cannot alter which person occupies a job. However, using experimental methods like simulations as lab experiments, we can study how individual traits--like gender, minority status, and sequenced preferences--matter.

Engagement v. Learning: How Students both Like and Learn from Simulations

The United States Senate's Role in the US-China Relationship (1989-2020)

Gendered Institutions, Structures and Presentations: How Women Bring Minoritized Preferences to Complex Bargains

Continuity and Change in China's Economic Assertiveness