Tatiana Vashchilko, Ekrem Karakoç and Andreea Mihalache-O'Keef

Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O'Keef (right) with her research partners Tatiana Vashchilko and Ekrem Karakoç.

11.08.2019
By Roanoke College News

Prestigious grant supports faculty and student research

A prestigious grant awarded to a Roanoke College faculty member is providing not only research opportunity for her, but research opportunity for several of her students.

Dr. Andreea Mihalache-OKeef, associate professor of political science and international relations, is the co-recipient of a competitive three-year Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The grant is the Canadian equivalent of a National Science Foundation grant in the United States, totaling $198,835 in Canadian dollars (roughly $151,000 in U.S. dollars).

Mihalache-OKeef is a member of a five-person interdisciplinary team whose partners include Dr. Tatiana Vashchilko (Principal Investigator), Dr. Anne Kleffner, and Dr. Martin Halek from the University of Calgary, as well as Dr. Ekrem Karakoc from SUNY-Binghamton in the fields of international relations, comparative politics, international business and finance/risk management. The team conducted over 150 in-depth field interviews with upper-level managers and government officials in Turkey and Tunisia, to learn about political risk and corporate political activities in emerging markets. Information about the project can be found here.

Gaston Ocampo

This past summer, the SSHRC grant provided funding for Gaston Ocampo ’20, who is majoring in international relations and business administration at Roanoke, to travel to Turkey and Tunisia with the faculty research team and to participate in more than 20 interviews. He presented research on corporate political activities, based on his field work, at the International Studies Association – South meeting in Memphis, Tennessee in early October.

“Initially, the students are learning about the research topic through reading and discussion. Later, they will help analyze the interview data, and they will be supported all along to develop and explore related research projects to present at conferences and hopefully publish. ”

Dr. Andreea Mihalache-OKeef, associate professor of political science and international relations

In addition, this fall through spring 2021, the grant is funding a team of five student researchers at Roanoke to analyze the field interview data collected in Turkey and Tunisia, Mihalache-OKeef said.

“Initially, the students are learning about the research topic through reading and discussion,” she said. “Later, they will help analyze the interview data, and they will be supported all along to develop and explore related research projects to present at conferences and hopefully publish. The students plan to present a first, team-authored paper at the Network for Undergraduate Research in Virginia Conference, on January 25, 2020.”

Mihalache-OKeef’s work on this project is partly supported by a Mednick Fellowship she received in 2018 from the Virginia Foundation for Independent College, and an internal research grant from Roanoke College. The College further supported the project by granting Mihalache-OKeef sabbatical leave for the 2018-19 academic year and naming her one of three Roanoke College Faculty Scholars for three years, beginning this fall semester.