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
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...
- Casey took “Global Markets and Local Cultures'' with the late Professor Jeffrey Juris. After traveling, she saw how the coursework mirrored reality, and knew her education was preparing her for the world.
- Casey went on a DOC to Argentina and Uruguay. She wanted to become fluent in Spanish, and she did become highly proficient while living in Buenos Aires and visiting the glaciers of the Patagonia region.
- Casey did her first co-op at the Museum of Fine Arts as a Community Arts program assistant. She gained valuable hands-on experience assisting in arts classes for the local communities.
- Casey joined the Sociology & Anthropology Student Association during her third year. It allowed her to get to know her fellow students and mirrored the small school experience she loved.
- Casey studied abroad in Nepal for her capstone thesis. She lived alone for a month while she researched and wrote about the lived experience of climate change in the lower Himalayas.
- Casey joined the Sunrise Movement, an environmental group that organizes protests urging political action for climate justice issues. With them, she truly felt like a part of the local Boston community.
- Casey worked for the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, founded by Professor Sarah Wylie. She produced promotional videos, developed a virtual research event, wrote event programming, and more. ..
- Northeastern has provided Sunita with interdisciplinary opportunities to utilize her education in the Greater Boston community, on co-op, and abroad.
- Sunita spent Summer 2019 on a Dialogue of Civilizations in Jordan and Egypt. It helped her realize her interest in Middle East politics and the Arabic language.
- Her favorite class, Revolution, Civil War, and Insurrection taught by Professor Risa Kitagawa invited students to question the motives behind acts of violence against governments.
- Her first co-op was at the Institute for Economics and Peace in Sydney, Australia where she analyzed data on the corruption of police forces in Mexico.
- Her second co-op at Enel X provided insight into battery storage, solar and wind farms, demand response, and the economic incentives that drive the energy market.
- In spring 2019, Sunita joined the Student Alliance for Prison Reform as well as Partakers, a partner of the club, where she mentored a prisoner at MCI Concord.
- Sunita is a member of the International Relations Council and has traveled abroad with the club to compete in Model Arab League, Model NATO, and Model UN conferences...
- Yasser was in the Foundation Year program at Northeastern. The program was a rigorous deep dive into core subject classes that helped Yasser bridge the gap between the high school and college experiences.
- Initially indecisive, Yasser’s interest in traveling and experience exploring different religious texts in high school led him to a double major in international affairs and religious studies.
- Yasser took Issues in Cities and Suburbs with Professor Erin Graves in Fall 2018. As someone deeply invested in urban life, he found the course was an enlightening look at the problems endemic to cities.
- Yasser’s first co-op was at the Boston Beer Company as a Program Operations and Event Assistant. He worked on inventory, public relations, directed brewery events, and maintained workspace organization.
- Yasser went on a Dialogue of Civilizations to Europe in Summer 2019 and took Engineering Principles in Nature with Professor Sandra Shefelbine.
- Yasser implemented and maintained community gardens all over Boston on deserted plots of land during his time as the Northeastern Campus Director for the campus’ United Nations Millennium Fellowship.
- Yasser began working at the Food Project and at a farm in Dorchester, he maintained the farm, harvested crops, distributed produce through donations and food markets, and worked on overall logistics...