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Lee Andrews’ research on Czechia and hybrid threats recognized with Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research

Student Success May 22, 2024

Lee Andrews Lee AndrewsIndiana University Hamilton Lugar School senior Lee Andrews was selected as one of five students to receive the 2024 Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. His award, in the Professional Inquiry category, was for his research conducted with mentor and Professor of Practice Justyna Zajac.

Andrews’ research focuses on Czechia’s leadership in countering hybrid threats to national security. He started his work on hybrid threats when taking Professor Zajac’s course on Contemporary Security Issues in Europe in Fall 2023. Andrews and his classmates researched hybrid warfare in Europe – one of six IU Diplomacy Lab projects. Andrews’ research focused on Czechia’s multi-tiered infrastructure to counter threats.

“In the world of hybrid threats and warfare, Czechia was one of the first countries to discover these things were going on and create ways to overcome them,” he said. “Czechia led the way for NATO and the EU and consulted with them to help them make their policies. They have been on the forefront the whole time and have even advised the U.S.”

“This tiny country is a powerhouse in countering hybrid threats,” said Andrews, who is pursuing a degree in Central Eurasian Studies. “They also take them extremely seriously. In October 2023, they had a 97% dependence on Russian energy. Their president decided in December that that was going to change and announced it. By February 2024, they were at 4% on Russian energy.”

Left to right: Students Madison Harris, Lee Andrews, and Declan Gallagher with Professor of Practice Justyna Zajac present their Diplomacy L Left to right: Students Madison Harris, Lee Andrews, and Declan Gallagher with Professor of Practice Justyna Zajac present their Diplomacy Lab project at the U.S. Department of State in April, 2024.Andrews was also one of three students who prepared, on behalf of the group, the final report and presented it to the U.S. Department of State.

“Part of our job for the State Department presentation was to make recommendations to them on how they can help other countries,” said Andrews. “The biggest takeaway for me was being able to present how Czechia is a model for other countries and organizations to follow … they set up the handbook of how to go about these things.”

Andrews, who is also a Cox Scholar, said his area studies classes in the Central Eurasian Studies department gave him greater insight into the countries and regions he is researching.

“In particular, the area and history classes from Dr. Laszlo Borhi, Dr. Pii-bi Kai Kivik, and Dr. Jessica Storey-Nagy have been invaluable,” said Andrews. “Thanks to amazing programs like Central Eurasian Studies and Russian and Eastern European Studies, students at IU have an opportunity to dig into a region or country as deep as they want to.”

Lee Andrews presents at the U.S. Department of State with classmates.  Lee Andrews presents at the U.S. Department of State with classmates.Next year, Andrews plans to complete his undergraduate education while also starting his master’s degree in Russian and East European Studies through the Russian and East European Institute.

“East-Central Europe will continue to be my focus. My mentor Dr. Zajac, will help me further my research,” said Andrews. “This research I’ve started will be my master’s thesis in the end. I’m expanding it to four countries and I’m going to look at the Visegrád Group, called the V4, which is Czechia, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia.”

Andrews credits professor Zajac for helping him develop his research.

“Justyna is a stellar mentor. She recommended me for the Provost’s award, which was very kind of her. It proves that relationship with professors is key and vital,” he said.

He encourages students to knock on professors’ doors and ask questions.

“Most professors are happy to work with students.” said Andrews. “Go knock on that door during office hours and say ‘Hey, I have a question!’ That’s how it started for me. Go create those relationships with your professors, especially if you want to do some kind of research. They will open those doors or direct you in another place — they’re happy to do that. They want to be here to help you.”

Author

Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies

Sarah DeWeese

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