Originally from Western New York, Michael obtained a Bachelor of Arts from The State University of New York (SUNY), College at Buffalo and is a Marine Corps veteran. Currently, Michael R. Pfonneris a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California in Political Science and International Relations (POIR) program in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He concurrently is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Spatial Analytics with the USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute.
His research focuses on stateless nations, ethnic conflict, and the effects of international borders within the domain of international security. He considers a working knowledge of Geographic Information Science (GIS) to be a powerful enhancement to the impressive repertoire of the POIR methodology sequence. As his research involves conflict and contention across fluid boundaries and dynamic geopolitical situations, Michael intends to incorporate GIS techniques into his work. He is especially interested in using spatial analysis to examine the intensity of varieties of conflict, as well as encouraging the use of diverse visualization techniques in the discipline of international relations.