March 12, 2024

Andrea Lopez, associate professor of political science at Susquehanna University, has been named a public policy fellow by the Wilson Center, one of the world’s top think tanks dedicated to nonpartisan counsel and insights on global affairs to policymakers.

Lopez’s semester-long fellowship has her working with the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute and Africa Program on a forthcoming article titled “When Winning is Not the Goal: The Wagner Group and Russia’s Competition for Influence in Africa.” The article explores Russia’s use of private military companies as a tool for their competition with the United States, European Union and China.

“This has been an opportunity for me to immerse myself in an institution that prides itself on policy-relevant research. I have access to a full library as well as the Library of Congress and there are events to attend that cover issues directly related to my teaching and research,” Lopez said. “From this experience I will gain a deeper knowledge of the issues that often come up in my classes or that my students research.”

Lopez says the contacts she is making in our nation’s capital will also be useful for students — especially those working on their senior theses — and that she plans to pass her newfound knowledge of webinars, internships and countless other opportunities in Washington, D.C., to them.

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the surrounding region though research and exchange.

Lopez earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia before going on to earn her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her research includes efforts to determine how Russia engages in counterinsurgencies, on the Wagner Group’s activities in Africa, and how China and Russia are competing for influence in places like Central Asia and Africa. She also regularly teaches a course on Russian and Soviet politics.