2021-2022 Graduate Student Researchers

Ryan Williams

GRA

Ryan Williams is a PhD student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He is passionate about research that develops understanding at the intersection of emerging technology and global policy. Ryan researches how information disorders affect global policy. Ryan received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Russian from Texas A&M University. In 2018 Ryan was awarded an MA in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and an MA in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. While at UT, Ryan specialized in emerging technology policy. He contributed to research as a graduate research fellow with Innovations for Peace and Development and as a Research Delegate to the Stanford US Russia Forum. Ryan also helped launch the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies digital humanities lab, the Fusion Room. After completing his MA program, Ryan joined New Knowledge as a Computational Disinformation Analyst and Data Science Team Lead. While at New Knowledge, he conducted information operations investigations and developed tools and procedures for studying narratives and affinity groups online.

Taylor Ham

GRA

Taylor is a first-year M.A. student at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas – Austin. She received a Master of Global Policy Studies degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where she focused on national security, counterterrorism, and intelligence. Before attending the University of Texas, she had a career in banking where led the underwriting department at a bank in Waco, Texas working as an Assistant Vice President and Credit Officer. She is interested in studying Russian foreign policy in the Middle East and Russia’s intelligence operations and asymmetric warfare used on the African continent.

Mykhaylo (Misha) Simanovskyy

GRA

Mykhaylo (Misha) Simanovskyy is a first-year graduate student pursuing a dual Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at UT Austin. In 2021 graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He is a native of Ukraine and is passionate about conducting research about Russian foreign policy in its Near Abroad and the Middle East, US-Russia relations, and Ukrainian politics. He is a native speaker of Russian and Ukrainian and speaks Arabic and Polish at an intermediate level. He has received two FLAS fellowships from the Department of Education to study the Polish language and culture. After graduating from UT, Misha aspires to work in the national security or diplomacy sector, pursuing improvement of US-Russia relations and conflict resolution in Ukraine. In his spare time, he explores thought-provoking policy articles on regional security issues, self-studies the Arabic language, and goes on field trips around the cultural hearths of Texas. 

Elizabeth (Liz) Wong

GRA

Liz Wong is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT Austin. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Chinese Studies and International Relations from the University of Mississippi while simultaneously earning her American Council’s Mandarin Flagship Certification in 2018. She completed two theses while in undergraduate: 小议生活便捷化带来的垃圾污染问题 and On the 路(Lu) to the Loo: A Case Study of Public Restrooms in China Since the Chinese Communist Revolution. After working at digital marking firms in both China and the United States, she has become passionate about protecting citizens from disinformation and unethical data collection. She now attends graduate school as a Strauss Center Cyber Fellow to become a technology policy analyst focused on researching proper citizen and global protection methods that at once discourage unethical data usage while simultaneously encouraging software innovation.