Meet the Fellows

From 1984 through 2016, IGCC provided dissertation fellowships for more than 450 UC graduate students pursuing degrees across 35 disciplines and inter-disciplinary programs.

The Herb York IGCC Fellowship honors IGCC’s founding director, Dr. Herbert F. York, and is given to an outstanding University of California student whose dissertation project aligns with IGCC’s mission and research themes. The fellowship was made possible by generous support from the York family. The inaugural award was made in May 2015 for the 2015–16 academic year. 

2017–2018 Herb York IGCC Dissertation Fellow

  • Brandon Merrill

    Brandon Merrill

    Political Science, UC San Diego

    Proposal Title: Wars for the People: Leaders, Audiences, and the Use of Force

    My research explores how and why political actors share, withhold, and frame information for domestic and international audiences. In my dissertation, I examine how leaders influence and respond to public opinion about military conflict. I show that leaders who are pessimistic about the use of military force often face incentives to conceal their doubts from hawkish constituents and international observers. Given these incentives, leaders will sometimes escalate conflicts even though they privately believe that a peaceful settlement is preferable. In other projects, I analyze the announcement and concealment of international military alliances, evaluate how powerful countries persuade weaker proxies to cooperate on security issues, identify variation in the content and tone of questions that reporters pose to political officials, and examine whether politicians attempt to claim political credit by renaming and reorganizing federal agencies.

2015–2016 Herb York IGCC Dissertation Fellow

  • Jiakun (Jack) Zhang

    Jiakun (Jack) Zhang

    Political Science, UC San Diego

    Proposal Title: Multinational Firms and the Microfoundations of the Commercial Peace

    My research interests lie at the intersection of international political economy and security, with a focus on contemporary China. My dissertation investigates the impact of interstate conflict on multinational firms operating in belligerent countries as well as the political strategies that these firms adopt to influence the policies of home and host governments. Firms play a crucial and understudied role in commercial peace theories; my research seeks to explore their role as strategic actors in the politics of war and peace. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, I worked as a China researcher for the Eurasia Group in Washington, DC. I was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to conduct fieldwork in Beijing on the economic effects of political crises on China based foreign multinationals during the 2014-2015 academic year. I also serve as senior advisor to UC San Diego’s China Focus Blog and can be found on Twitter @HanFeiTzu