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Graduate Student Profile: Roi Zur, Political Science

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Thursday, February 7, 2019 (All day)

Meet UC Davis Graduate Student Roi Zur

  • Department
    Political Science
  • Program and year of study
    Ph.D., 5th year 
  • Previous degrees and colleges
    BA and MA from Tel-Aviv University in Israel
  • Where did you grow up?
    In a small city near Tel-Aviv, Israel
  • Where do you live now?
    The university family housing in Davis
  • What's your favorite spot in Davis?
    Central Park, especially because it is close to Burgers and Brew
  • How do you relax?
    Play with my kid and hang out with my wife (when she’s not studying or grading)
  • What was the last book you read for pleasure?
    Can’t even remember, but probably a political biography  
  • What TV show are you currently binge-watching?
    The Goldbergs, MasterChef, and some Israeli stuff when I have free time
  • Research interests
    I am mostly interested in voting and party behavior in European countries. I work on two broad research agendas. The first looks at the causes of why voters do not vote for the parties that best represent their ideology (specifically with respect to small centrist parties). The second research agenda tries to determine why some parties consistently win representation in parliament, while others fail to do so.
  • Dissertation title or topic
    Stuck in the Middle: Ideology, Valence, and the Electoral Failures of Centrist Parties
  • Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research
    Representative democracy works better than most people give it credit for.
  • Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?
    I took a game theory class in my second year of undergrad. It was mind-blowing and I enjoyed every minute of it. I still use this knowledge in my work every day and hope to continue doing that for many more years.
  • Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?
    An Economic Theory of Democracy by Anthony Downs. It is one of the most influential works in political science. This book formalized a discussion about the way we think of the representation of people’s interests in democracy. Although most of the conclusions of this book haven’t survived the test of time, its methodology still serves as a major paradigm in my field.  
  • What's the best thing about being a grad student?
    I get to do what I love, when I want to do it, around some very smart people.  
  • What's the worst?
    It is stressful, competitive, and you do not get positive feedback too often.
  • If you weren't a grad student, what would you be doing?
    I would probably have become a teacher. I worked as a sub for many years. I like it, but not as much as I like grad school.
  • Finally, please ask yourself a question - "What do you miss the most from your pre-grad school life?"
    Traveling! I used to travel much more often before grad school...

Graduate student profile courtesy of the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.