Mikaela Westhoff

Mikaela Westhoff

MID 5 Foreman and Graduate Methods Preceptor

209 Pond Laboratory

Office Hours:

  • PLSC 502 & 504: Wednesdays 1:30-3:30


  1. Ph.D Candidate, Political Science – Penn State University, 2021 (expected)
  2. M.A. Political Science – Penn State University, 2018
  3. B.A. Political Science - University of Minnesota, 2016, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa


Mikaela Westhoff is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University. She previously studied at the University of Minnesota where she received my B.A. in Political Science in 2014. She received her M.A. in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University in May of 2018 with primary fields of International Relations and Political Methodology.

Her research focuses on the ways through which state and non-state actors attempt to build power and influence through nation-building activities and strategic political violence . This expands upon the work of state formation, ethnic conflict, nationalism, and nation-building scholars to explain the portfolio of violent and non-violent strategies utilized by states for the purposes of nation-building.

She is currently involved in a number of research projects including the coding of the MID 5 data set, the relationship between foreign direct investment and violence against civilians, violent state behavior when facing de facto states, and general theories of state perpetrated mass killing. She also serves as the graduate methods precept for the Penn State political science department, the co-president of the Graduate Association of Political Science, chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Association's human diversity committee, and graduate representative on the Penn State faculty senate. 

Research Interests:

Nation Building; Ethnic Conflict; Strategic Political Violence; Mass Killing