Vanessa Leon is a Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, where she is working on her dissertation titled “Status Competition Between the U.S. and China on the Stage of Africa.” Vanessa’s primary research interests include great power politics, status competition, U.S. foreign policy, and U.S. public diplomacy. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Florida International University and an M.A. in International Studies from Salve Regina University of Providence, Rhode Island. She has presented at a variety of regional and national conferences, and plans to complete her dissertation this year.