The Master of Arts Program in International and Comparative Politics is pleased to name Caress (Abercrombie) Schenk as the 2011 outstanding alum from our program. A 2005 graduate of the ICP program, Caress is the first graduate of our M.A. program (which began in 2001) to complete her doctoral degree.
Originally from Yakima Washington, Caress defended her M.A. thesis, “The Contributions of NATO to the Institutionalization of Humanitarian Intervention: The Cases of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo,” in November 2005. She then went on to Miami University, where she completed comprehensive exams in International Relations (globalization and foreign policy) and Comparative Politics (nationalism, post-communist hybrid regimes, resource politics, and political economy). Her dissertation, which she defended in the spring of 2010, is titled: A Typical Country of Immigration? Russia in Comparative Perspective. In this research, she examines the complex informal processes connected to immigrant life in Russia, the second largest immigrant-receiving country in the world. She examines the processes by which migrants are confined to the informal sector of the Russian economy, serving as an ever-increasing pool of cheap illegal labor. Her research was funded by numerous grants, including from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, American Councils Title VIII Combined Research and Language Training Fellowship, and a US Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. Caress has published her research in Demokratizatsiya (“Democratization”) and Russia: Behind the Headlines, and has presented at numerous academic conferences, including the Association for the Study of Nationalities, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the Midwest Slavic Conference. She has also been invited to present her research on nationalism in Moscow in October 2011. Caress is currently a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at Northern Kentucky University, where she teaches courses on Comparative Politics, Russian Politics, International Law, and European Politics.