Adrian Gillem presents on Japanese Political Leadership Trends at the ISA Conference

by roanokecollege on December 3, 2013


Adrian Gillem recently travelled to the International Studies Association South Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC to present his research project, “Understanding Japanese Political Leadership Trends Post-World War II: Do the Leaders’ Personal Traits Matter?” For this project Adrian

“analyzed the premierships of three of the longest serving Prime Ministers in post-World War II Japanese history; focusing on their oratorical ability, political brinkmanship, ideology, and party-backing as markers of analysis.”

Adrian has done research over the course of three semesters here at Roanoke. Adrian decided to pursue research opportunities here after taking his Research Methods class in the Public Affairs department.

“Dr. O’Keef noticed my keen interest in comparative governing structures in East Asia, post-World War II. Following the course, she suggested I refine and narrow down my subject options, in pursuit of an independent study of some kind. This led to my current focus topic on Japanese political development trends post World War II, particularly on its so-called ‘leadership crisis.’”

Adrian’s faculty advisor was Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O’Keef and he

“worked quite closely with Professor O’Keef over the course of my research project. In fact, she was one of the key figures that assisted in me in successfully applying for a Gilman Scholarship, which supported a 4-month study abroad experience.”


This was Adrian’s first time presenting at a professional conference and he explains that it was an

“insurmountable experience that I will never forget. Presenting before a professor of a separate university is nerve-racking. But having that same professor critique a paper you have worked on for months is even more nerve-racking. Nevertheless, both experiences gave me confidence to pursue even more research opportunities.”

Adrian’s advice to students considering research opportunities is to

“find a professor you feel comfortable with and pursue every opportunity that professor gives you. If research is one of those opportunities, take it. It develops your presentation skills, gives you confidence, and builds your resume. If you plan on going to graduate school, undergraduate research is a good way of making yourself unique among a slew of other applications.”

For more information on the ISA Conference please visit:

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