Where to begin?
I was born in Brasov, Romania, but grew up mostly in the American Midwest. I fell in love with travel, foreign languages, and learning about diverse cultures at a young age. My parents, Drs. Alina Lazar and Petru S. Fodor, are professors of computer science and physics, respectively. I have two much-younger siblings, Steven and Mia, whom I love dearly.
I completed my undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. There, I was active in numerous extracurricular activities, and served on the Executive Boards of four organizations. I studied abroad three times during my four years, in Senegal, Argentina, and Tajikistan. I honed my writing skills, developed an aptitude for world affairs and economics, and became intimately familiar with the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. I studied Persian/Farsi and continued my French education, minoring in both languages as well as in history. I also tutored economics and served as a TA for an econometrics course. I graduated summa cum laude with Honors Research Distinction in May of 2017 with a BA in International Relations and a BS in Economics, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
My PhD studies in political science took me to Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, where I have specialized in the forte of my department: the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa. Quantitative research methodology coursework in applied statistical programming and regression analysis has exposed me to a variety of techniques and software packages, including Stata, R, and SPSS. I also received additional training at ICPSR in Ann Arbor and conducted qualitative research in Benin, West Africa. My work at Afrobarometer has allowed me to neatly tie together the skill set that I have developed over the years: strong writing and foreign language ability, intimate country knowledge, and solid quantitative research skills. In the coming years, I hope to leverage this skill set to implement an ambitious research agenda studying the political behavior of LGBTQ+ Africans.
In my spare time, I enjoy myriad activities. First and foremost, I fancy myself a world traveler. I love zig-zagging the U.S. and the globe, going on new adventures, and working on my language learning. I am also a political junkie and activist who loves keeping up with American and European politics and volunteering on campaigns. I am a health and fitness enthusiast and a plant-powered, vegan athlete, and I enjoy cycling, running, strength training, yoga, pilates, hiking, camping, and skiing. Some of my all-time favorite hikes have been in Tajikistan, Alaska, Iceland, Alberta, Colorado, and California. I have skiied in Aspen, Telluride, Steamboat Springs, Sun Valley, Big Sky, Park City, and numerous other locales. I’m planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and to run a Half-Ironman in the coming years. I am a budding musician and a pianist. I am also currently working on a novel and volunteering for Meals on Wheels.
Whew…. is that everything? I’m sure I’m missing something. My life philosophy is centered on self-actualization and becoming the best version of myself that I can be. I believe that we have to make the most of the one life we have and never let a moment go to waste. Everyone has it within them to do the things they once thought impossible and to live life to the fullest.