The Public Affairs blog was started by Dr. O’Keef, Adrian Gillem, and Tamar Nadibaidze in 2013. We aim to publish one story each week to highlight the success of students in the Public Affairs Department.
Prof. O’Keef is a native of Romania. She grew up during interesting times, when her country was learning to function as a democracy and to compete in the global market. Her grandparents owned a small farm and vineyard, and that’s where she started noticing the connections between food culture, democratization, and globalization. She became curious about the interplay of the international economy, domestic politics, and human welfare, and pursued this interest through her B.A. in International Studies and Art History at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (’03), her Ph.D. in International Relations at Penn State University (’11), and her research fellowship at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School (’09-’10). She continues her research on multinational corporations, food security, and environmental policy at Roanoke College, where she teaches courses on international politics, global political economy, human security, research methods, and this May term travel course on food politics and globalization in Romania.
When she is not in the classroom or working with students on independent research projects, internships, grad school applications, and campus events, Prof. O’Keef enjoys traveling, painting, reading mystery novels, and watching Dr. Who and Star Treck (TNG!). She now lives in Roanoke, with her husband and Gizmo-the-cat, and uses the lessons she learned on her grandparents’ farm to care for a small garden (but no vineyard, yet).