About The Team

Meet the team of contributors who make The Orientalist Express possible!  We started this blog, podcast, and website as a project to help educate people about critical issues and events related to the United States and global policy. 

Nicholas Hayen

Nicholas is a recent graduate of the University of Utah with a Master of Arts degree in History.  His specializations include the contemporary Middle East, International Relations, Security Studies, and American Foreign Policy.

Brandon Kenney

Brandon obtained degrees in Political Science, International Affairs, and Spanish from the University of Utah.  He recently completed a Master's degree in Public Policy with an emphasis in Global Policy from the University of Minnesota.

Stephen Howard

Stephen is a graduate of South Dakota State University in Political Science with a minor in History.  His studies focused on International Relations and Middle East politics.

Valida Azamatova

Valida is from Uzbekistan and received her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from South Dakota State University and Master's degree in International Relations from Eastern Illinois University. Interests include Central Asian, Eastern European politics and philosophy.

Kurt Guner

Kurt is completing his Ph.D. in Turkish Studies and the Modern Middle East from the University of Utah.  His emphasis is on Turkish-American relations during the early Cold War.  Kurt also teaches History at the University of Utah.

Matthew Spencer-Kociol

Matthew is a graduate of the University of Utah and a current graduate student at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.