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Silviya came to UNC as a Rotary Peace Fellow with an interest in conflict and democracy promotion. Silviya says she was initially drawn to the Global Studies program because of the program’s flexibility, which allowed her to further pursue her specific interests. Having previously worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, she approached her studies from an international politics perspective. However, during the program, her interests began to shift to domestic political dynamics. Her research and capstone project followed this new interest.

Silviya’s Global Studies MA capstone centered on the domestic politics behind the conflict in eastern Ukraine which started in the spring of 2014 with the Donbas rebellion. In the process, she conducted fieldwork and interviews in Ukraine. Her research led her to conclude that much of the Donbas rebellion resulted from domestic politics, in particular local elites actions, rather than intervention from outside actors.

Silviya says that ultimately the program flexibility and the guidance of great people and faculty associated with UNC Global Studies and Political Science, Duke University, and the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center facilitated her work in her new areas of interest. In turn, her Global Studies research and fieldwork conducted in the summer of 2016 helped shape her desire to further pursue academia and allowed her newfound interests to flourish. As a result, Silviya is now pursuing a PhD in Political Science at UNC and continues to research Ukrainian elite politics. Most recently, Silviya has begun researching the involvement of oligarchs in politics and its effect on their wealth.

When asked about any insights she may have for current students, Silviya recommended learning more about research methodology earlier in their studies. She says students can find a lot of literature on how to do research outside the classroom to improve research and writing skills, which will further help them in the classroom and with future employers. Silviya suggests “The Craft of Research” by Booth et al. for starters.

Congratulations on your academic accomplishments Silviya, and good luck in your future research!