PhD Candidate in Political Science
Zachary “Zach” Agatstein is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University, specializing in International Relations and Comparative Politics. He has a strong background and interest in human security, ethnic conflict, nationalism, and Europeanization. Zach has served as a Teaching Assistant for International Relations, Comparative Politics, and American Government.
Related Schools & Departments
Zach’s research interests include genocide prevention and the root causes of genocide; his in-progress dissertation will focus on global norms regarding the prevention of genocide, as well as the impact of ethnic conflict and genocide on human security. He also has a strong interest in the politics of nationalism and nationalist groups, governmental institutions, as well as the process of Europeanization and European politics generally.
Before entering the PhD program at Northeastern University, Zach attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the only public honors college in Maryland, where he majored in political science. As part of that major, he completed a capstone project on comparative federalism, focusing on the Australian Senate and the United States Senate as federalist institutions.
He later enrolled at Northeastern as a Master’s student, where his research interests shifted to encompass nationalism and nationalist movements. His thesis, available upon request, is a critical examination of the Scottish nationalist movement and its primary actor, the Scottish National Party. He graduated in May of 2015 and immediately continued into Northeastern’s PhD program.
Zach was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island and is a lifelong New Englander, save for his college years spent in southern Maryland. Active in his college community, he served for three out of his four years at St. Mary’s as a member of the student government, including a term as Chairman of the Policy Review Committee and a member of the college’s Handbook Committee; as part of this service, he was the sole student representative to have a hand in revising college policies ahead of the 2010-2011 academic year. In addition, he was the first junior (3rd year) to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the college’s journal of the social sciences, Open Water.
In the fall of 2013, he enrolled as a Master’s student at Northeastern University, where he was awarded a Graduate Student Scholarship during each semester of the program, and served as a Teaching Assistant throughout his second and final year of MA work. His coursework and concentration focused on Comparative Politics, and he completed courses in Europeanization, nationalism, comparative electoral systems, normative regimes, and U.S. foreign policy. His final semester in the Master’s program was a thesis project on Scottish nationalism that is available upon request.
As a PhD student, he has continued his studies of nationalism, complemented by studies of genocide and ethnic conflict. Successfully achieving candidacy in April of 2017, his forthcoming dissertation will focus on norms surrounding the prevention of genocide, as well as a critical consideration of case studies of genocide in Rwanda and the Balkans. In addition to his research responsibilities, he will be teaching an undergraduate course in American Government, commencing from September of 2017.
Outside the classroom, Zach has a keen interest in national and local politics, and has volunteered for Presidential campaigns as well as worked on city council races in Boston. He was also the lead opposition researcher for Lincoln Chafee’s successful 2010 campaign to be elected Governor of Rhode Island; as a campaign staffer, he also worked on the future Governor’s education policy brief.
Degrees Earned and Institutions:
BA, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
MA, Northeastern University
Research Interests: Human security, genocide and genocide prevention, nationalism, Europeanization
960A Renaissance Park
More Student Paths
- Savita is from Boston and is a graduate of the Boston Latin School.
- Originally a Cultural Anthropology major, Savita later became an English major with minors in Africana Studies and Writing Studies.
- Through the service-learning course, Boston in Literature, Savita volunteered with 826 Boston to tutor in English. She is now a service-learning teaching assistant.
- For her final project in Post-Colonial Women's Writers with Professor Aljoe, she researched Carnival and its cultural significance to Trinidad and Tobago.
- Inspired by Professor Aljoe, Savita joined the Early Caribbean Digital Archive, working on an exhibit about Caribbean Carnival and creating and gathering teaching materials.
- In 2020, she began a co-op with the Africana Studies program to learn more about the field of Black Studies.
- Savita wants to work to better her own community. In the future, she hopes to become a high school teacher or a college professor. ..
- Andrew grew up in Japan, and decided to pursue his undergraduate degree back in the U.S.
- Andrew applied to Northeastern as a Business major. As his high school career came to a close, he became more interested in Japanese politics, history, and social issues.
- When thinking about what truly engaged him, Andrew felt that Asian Studies and Political Science was a better fit and switched his major to Asian Studies.
- Andrew connected with Professor Daniel Aldrich after meeting him at a presentation of his book at the institute for social sciences at Tokyo University.
- From his first day of classes, Professor Aldrich encouraged and helped Andrew get involved in research projects.
- During his first semester, Professor Aldrich paired Andrew with Tim Fraser, a PhD candidate in Political Science with strong interests in disaster resilience in Japan.
- With Tim, Andrew collected biographical information on the committee members on all the reconstructional committees on municipal, prefectural, and national level. ..
- Emerson wanted a contextualized Political Science degree, and applied to Northeastern specifically for the PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) program.
- "Introduction to Economic Justice" with Professor Serena Parekh was one of Emerson's favorite courses, allowing her to study economic justice from a philosophical lens.
- Emerson was accepted by the Roosevelt Institute to do financialization research at Northeastern, examining economic priorities.
- Emerson also started a research thesis her freshman year to look at the link between modern dystopian literature and the the rise of female-led political movements.
- When Emerson found out about the HCL (History, Culture, and Law) major, she was immediately interested in adding the major to enhance her PPE studies.
- The Culture & Colonialism concentration allowed Emerson to double-credit and to develop the breadth of knowledge needed for someone who wants to work at the State Department.
- In January 2020, Emerson founded NU's Interdisciplinary Women's Collaborative (IWC) with the help of mentor and advisor Heather Hauck...
Charles T. Wallace-Thomas IV
- Charles chose to attend Northeastern because he was intrigued by the signature co-op program and wanted a curriculum that combined real-world experience without compromising thorough academic rigor.
- Initially an engineering student, Charles switched to a combined major in Economics and Mathematics to build upon his interest in economic and social justice work. He also has a minor in psychology.
- In his first year, Charles took Sustainable Renewable Energy Development in the Global South with Professor Shalanda Baker, which taught him to question systems as they exist, no matter how established.
- As part of the Ujima Global Leaders Program through the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, Charles did community service, working on the Timebank team which helped him give back to Boston.
- For his first co-op, Charles split his time between the Center for Economic Democracy and the Boston Ujima Project, where he analyzed studies on community needs, like infrastructure and childcare.
- As Campaign Coordinator and Director of Northeastern’s Students Advancing Intersectional Dreams, Charles had spoken to people like Patrisse Cullors, Richie Reseda, Michelle Alexander, and Angela Davis.
- Over the summer of 2020, Charles was one of the co-creators of the #BlackAtNU campaign where he advocated for racial literacy courses and for a restorative and transformative justice center on campus...