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Victoria D. B. O'Connell


M.A. Political Science, The University of Kentucky 2021.

B.A. International Relations, The University of Georgia, 2016.


I am a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Kentucky studying Political Science with a major focus in Comparative Politics and a minor in International Relations.

Before beginning my doctoral studies at the University of Kentucky, I was a participant of the Richard B. Russel Security Leadership Program in the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georiga where I focused on CBRN security and international trade including nuclear security culture design and implementation.

My research broadly focuses on the experiences of women in peacekeeping operations and the ways through which gender influences the conflict and post-conflict landscape. I am interested in how women's unique gender identity affects several specific conflict related outcomes: overall levels of violence, violence targeting civilians, conflict related instances of sexual and other gender-based forms of violence, and the overall status of women in local communities. My research also explores the way variation in women peacekeepers influences these outcomes. I investigate these questions at the subnational level rather than the aggregate level. 

I have presented my work at regional and international conferences. My recent publications can be found in Legislative Studies Quarterly, Women, Politics & Policy and PS: Political Science.

I was supported by the OPSVAW as a Mary Byron research fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year.

I was a Teaching Assistant for the following undergraduate courses spanning the Fall 2016 semester through the Fall 2017 semester: PS 101: Introduction to American Governemnt and PS 210: Introduction to Comparative Politics.

Beginning in the spring of 2018 I have served as a primary instructor for the following undergraduate courses, including summer courses: PS 101: Introduction to American Government, PS 372: Introduction to Political Analysis, and PS 210: Introduction to Comparative Politics.

Most recently, I served as the primary instructor for fully online asychronous, syncronous, and, hybrid undergraduate courses beginning the fall semester of 2020 including the following courses: PS 391: Contemporary Global Conflicts, PS 390: Film and Politics, PS 210: Introduction to Comparative Politics, and PS 230: Introduction to International Relations.