SURF Students Explore Foreign Policy Involving Central Asian Republics

Academics, Research

August 1, 2023

single-paper-background SURF Lynch Helms Adongo

As part of this year’s Hollins Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, Susanna Helms ’24 and Sylvia Adongo ’26 have worked closely with John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch on projects related to the former Soviet republics of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan).

Helms, an international studies major, and Lynch will submit an article to Military Review on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which many regard as a vehicle for China’s ambitions in Central Asia. In the article, Helms and Lynch will assess the risk and likely impact of the SCO on U.S. policy in Asia.

Adongo worked with Lynch on examining Iran’s foreign policy in Central Asia. They found that “while Iran continues to pursue a radical, sometimes violent foreign policy toward Israel and the United States, the country’s Central Asia policies have been more pragmatic and cautious,” Lynch said. In November, Adongo and Lynch will present their findings at the Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA).

The SURF program at Hollins, directed by Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette and Ruth Alden Doan Assistant Professor of History Christopher Florio, offers a concentrated opportunity for a select number of students to work collaboratively with faculty over the summer. The program provides a stipend and summer housing to accepted students who participate in a cohort model. Students in the program emerge with an “action plan” that often includes a report and presentation covering their learning experience. Research fellows come from across all academic divisions of the university.

Photo (left to right): Susanna Helms ’24, Sylvia Adongo ’26, and John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch.